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Marines Graduate First Class Of Female Recruits In MCRD History

Platoon 3241 marches in formation at graduation, May 6, 2021.

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: Platoon 3241 marches in formation at graduation, May 6, 2021.

San Diego officially has its first class of female Marines after 53 women graduated in front of a limited group of family and friends.

Nearly three months ago, this first platoon of female recruits was brought from around the country to test whether the Marines could train women in San Diego for the first time in the Marine Corps Recruit Depot’s 100-year history.

Listen to this story by Steve Walsh.

Felicia Broughton was here from Arkansas to support her daughter, Reagan.

“I’m just happy. I’m proud," she said. "She just finds the mold and she breaks it. This is just perfect for her.”

According to her mother, Reagan was majoring in math mathematics in Arkansas but dropped out to join the Marines.

“She was excelling but she wasn’t challenged enough. She wanted to be challenged so this was perfect for her,” she said.

Reported by Steve Walsh

Not only did the women win the final drill competition, but also they had the highest scores on the physical fitness and combat fitness tests.

Emily Zamudio expects to join the infantry. She was here with her family.

“It was all worth it. I was not expecting to cry this much,” she said.

The Marines will now have to decide what to do next. Congress is requiring the Marines to end segregated boot camps. This first cycle is still a test. Senior Drill Instructor Amber Staroscik says they made very few changes to train this first class.

“As far as training goes, nothing had to be altered for them. That is the point that needs to be made. The training is the same,” she said.

Normally, the new marines would get 10 days of leave after graduation. That leave is canceled due to COVID. So, after a day of celebrating with their families, all of the 397 Marines who graduated Thursday will move onto additional training at Camp Pendleton, beginning Friday.

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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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