Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Female recruits will begin training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in California starting next February, the branch announced.
"Beginning Feb. 12, 2021, an integrated company of male and female recruits is scheduled to begin their journey to become Marines at MCRD, after undergoing a two-week COVID-19 quarantine protocol," the Marine Corps said in a statement.
"This initial opportunity for male and female recruits to train concurrently at MCRD San Diego will serve as a proof of concept" as the Marine Corps experiments with ways to end the practice of separating recruits into male and female boot camps, Military.com, the Marine Corps Times and Task & Purpose reported.
Previously, female recruits only trained at Parris Island in South Carolina, which started experimenting with gender-integrated boot camp companies last year, but the branch is under a congressional mandate to make entry-level training at Parris Island and San Diego co-ed.
"In an effort to forge Marines of the highest quality, we must give them every opportunity to succeed. This is the first time we are able to give Marines who graduate from MCRD San Diego the same integrated experience that many of their peers at Parris Island have received already," said Brig. Gen. Ryan P. Heritage in a press release.
"The opportunity and experience these young men and women will get in terms of training and learning from one-another is immeasurably important to prepare all of our Marines for success, and this also will get us one step closer to understanding the facilities and personnel needed to make this a sustained reality."