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Female recruits begin regular training in San Diego

The first class of female recruits arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego this winter, ending almost a hundred years when the boot camp accepted only men.
Steve Walsh / KPBS
Female recruits train at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. March, 25, 2021.

Another class of female Marine recruits is set to arrive in San Diego later in February. It is part of a Congressional mandate to end gender segregation at boot camp.

The first class of female recruits finished boot camp last May. Those troops were the first women to become Marines on the West Coast in the 100 year history of Marine Corps Recruiting Depot San Diego (MCRD).

RELATED: Female Marines Begin Historic West Coast Boot Camp In San Diego


At the time, it was still up in the air when another class would arrive.

According to an emailed statement from MCRD San Diego, a second class with 109 female Marines has finished the 13 weeks of boot camp and graduated Jan. 21. A third class is set to arrive in two weeks.

The Marines are the last service to still segregate men and women during boot camp. Until last year, women only trained to be Marines at Parris Island on the East Coast.

RELATED: Marines Graduate First Class Of Female Recruits In MCRD History

The first class of recruits received intense public scrutiny but the effort was seen largely as a success.


The female platoon led the company in drill. At the time, MCRD made very few changes to accommodate women. Female drill instructors were brought over from Parris Island, South Carolina, while others were trained in San Diego for the experiment.

The Marines still labeled the effort as a test. At the time the first class graduated, the Marines had not decided whether to press forward with the program immediately, or wait closer to a Congressional deadline.

Female recruits begin regular training in San Diego

The 2020 Defense Authorization Act requires the Marine Corps to end all gender segregation by 2028.

Critics continue to charge that the Marines’ decision to keep women in separate platoons still violates the congressional mandate to fully integrate.