U.S. Marines welcome first female infantry officer

QUANTICO, Va. — A female Marine officer made history on Monday when she became the first woman to graduate from the U.S. Marines Corps’ demanding Infantry Officer Course.

The woman, a lieutenant who asked to remain anonymous, is the first female officer to complete the demanding 13-week Infantry Officer Course, based in Quantico, Virginia.

The course is a prerequisite for ground intelligence officers and considered one of the hardest.

She started the course in July with 131 Marines. Only 88 of them graduated on Monday.

About 25 percent of students who attempt it don’t pass, according to The Washington Post, with 10 percent of them failing on the first day.

“I am proud of this officer and those in her class who have earned the infantry officer MOS,” Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in a news release.

She will be assigned to the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, California.

The opportunity for the female officer to tackle the course came about after former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opened all military occupations to women in January 2016.

The decision was met with some criticism at the time.

Current White House chief of staff John Kelly, who was then a Marine Corps general, voiced concern about the action, saying the key question was whether it makes the armed forces more lethal.

Since then, four female Marine officers have unsuccessfully attempted to go through the infantry course.