MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
More than 500 Marines and Sailors with the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force departed Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Feb. 18, for their assessment at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
“Everything we’ve done up to this point is to prepare ourselves, each of the (military occupational specialties), the Marines individually and collectively, for the assessed events,” said Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, commanding officer, GCEITF. “Our training here at Camp Lejeune has been focused on the tasks associated with the Training and Readiness manual by MOS to execute the assessment.”
Since October 2014, each Marine volunteer has trained in a specific combat arms billet, in which they will be assessed over the course of the next three months. Male and female Marines will execute tasks in one of the following: infantry rifleman (0311), machine gunner (0331), mortarman (0341), infantry assaultman (0351), anti-tank missileman (0352), light armored vehicle crewman (0313), M1A1 tank crewman (1812), amphibious assault vehicle crewman (1833), field artillery cannoneer (0811), and combat engineer (1371).
“Our line of effort is the only line of effort that has female Marines, female volunteers in an infantry battalion landing team-like structure performing those tasks associated with the collective level-tasks, not just the individual level tasks but the fire team and the squad, not just a tank crewman, but a tank crew, said St. Clair.”
Female Marines in the Task Force have been given the same missions and tasks as males in the Task Force. Over the past several months, the Marines came together during combat conditioning hikes, offensive and defensive field exercises, live-fire ranges, patrolling classes and practical application, all linking back to the Training and Readiness manual for each of their MOS’s.
“In a lot of ways I feel like my experience with the training I’ve done, I’ve become more proficient with weapons management and learning the weapons systems, and overall am better with fitness,” said Lance Cpl. Anne M. Creasy, rifleman with Company A, GCEITF. “They’re so specific here with what they want us to do; I feel that it’s going to help me better off with my Marine Corps career because now I know exactly what to look for in the grander scheme of things, not just cleaning the weapon, but situational awareness and attention to detail.”
For all infantry Marines within the Task Force, volunteer or not, being integrated with female Marines is new to most. For Creasy, being one of the first female Marines to graduate Infantry Training Battalion, and entering the Fleet Marine Force as one of the first females being integrated in an infantry unit, she said her arrival to the unit was a challenge at first, but the Marines soon pulled together as a team.
“I was one of the very first females to get here (along with two others), so I kind of have the better perspective because initially we were excluded from the group until the males saw that we are here to train, and we can keep up,” said Creasy. “Slowly but surely we have genuinely become a family, and I can call these guys my brothers. It makes us that much stronger when we train because we know each other and know what to expect.”
From October 2014 to July 2015, the GCEITF will conduct individual and collective level skills training in designated ground combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.