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4 all-male platoons graduate boot camp at formerly all-female batallion

U.S. Marines graduate recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., on March 26. Photo by Samuel Fletcher/U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Marines graduate recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., on March 26. Photo by Samuel Fletcher/U.S. Marine Corps

April 15 (UPI) -- Four all-male platoons have graduated from boot camp at a historically all-female training battalion, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the Marine Corps said the March 26 graduation marked the first time male recruits have completed training at Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, at South Carolina's Parris Island.

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The men graduated alongside two all-female platoons.

The platoons were segregated by gender and maintaining separate sleeping and bathing facilities, but training events were conducted in a "gender-integrated environment," the release said.

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Company staff were composed of women and men, and platoon staff was composed of drill instructors who were the same gender as the recruits.

"The recruits, when they go out and [conduct physical training], they will be side by side working out together," said Capt. Adan Rivera, who serves as the Papa Company Commander. "When they go on the rifle range, they'll be shooting right next to each other."

The Marine Corps is the last of the four services to integrate its entry-level training, the Marine Corps Times reported, with the Army integrating its basic training in 1994, the Navy in 1992 and the Air Force in the mid-1980s.

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Female Marines have trained aboard the depot since 1949, when 3rd Recruit Training Battalion was activated, the Marines said.

The battalion was redesignated several times before its most recent designation as Papa Company in 1996, the Marine Corps said.

It was the only training battalion for women in the service until January 2019, when India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion started their training cycle with one female platoon and five male platoons.

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Papa Company Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Gregorio Montes said male and female recruits training together in the same company is nothing new aboard the depot.

"The training is the same, and the standards are the same," he said. "It doesn't matter what your training company is... we're doing the same thing, the same training evolutions. With [male drill instructors] being at 4th Battalion, we're just bringing it to light. We're going to show that we are training the recruits the same and making the same standard of Marine."

In February, 59 women were among 400 recruits who entered boot camp at the previously all-male Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, marking the first time in the base's 98-year history that coed companies have trained at the base.

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