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Women Join the Marine Corps Infantry for the First Time Ever

Women Join the Marine Corps Infantry for the First Time Ever

The first two women ever were approved to join the infantry of the U.S. Marines Corps. The roles were once only open to men.

The Marines did not release the women's names, although one will serve as a rifleman and another as a machine gunner.

The move comes after Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in December that women would be able to hold all positions in the military, including combat roles.

"They'll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and lead infantry soldiers into combat," Carter said in a statement to press. "They'll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men."

Carter accepted the Marine Corps' gender integration plan in March, which made 233 female graduates from infantry training and other military schools eligible to apply for combat roles.

The approval of two women as foot soldiers in the U.S. Marines Corps is likely just one of what will be a series of historic firsts in the military.

This summer, a female staff sergeant will undertake the six-week course of the Marine Corps' elite special-operations command. If she completes the training, she could become the first female critical-skills operator colloquially known as "Raider."

NEXT: Women in the Military »

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Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images