The first three women to become infantry Marines arrived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Thursday, joining the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment with specializations as a rifleman (an official title that will now need some rethinking), machine gun and mortar, according to a spokesperson for the Marine Corps. Three women in leadership roles already within the unit are expected to help the new recruits acclimate to the battalion. Front-line combat roles, which had been forbidden for female soldiers, were officially opened to women in January 2016.
President-elect Donald Trump has been ambiguous on his plans for the role of women in the military. In 2013, he asserted via Twitter that the high number of sexual assaults in the military were the result of “[putting] men & women together.” In 2015, Trump said that he would allow women to fight in the military because “they’re really into it,” but his nominee for defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, has in the past warned against integrating male and female combat forces because of the risk of “affection” between comrades-at-arms being “manifested sexually.”
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