Bradford, along with Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll and Christina Fuentes Montenegro, will be the first female Marines to successfully complete the Corps’ enlisted infantry training course, the grueling test of physical and mental strength previously only offered to men.
Imagine 59 days of live ammunition exercises and sleeping outside in fighting positions, ending with an exhausting 12-and-a-half-mile hike while weighed down with a 90-pound combat load that you must complete in less than five hours.
The test was opened to women for the first time this fall in order to help determine which ground combat jobs will be open to women by 2016. Of the 12 women who entered, 3 of these 4 women completed the program alongside 221 men, and will be followed closely by their 4th, Harlee Bradford, who was injured during training but is expected to complete the program soon as well.
Once these women have completed Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), they will not actually then receive the 0311 MOS (Military Occupation Specialty code for infantry riflemen) or join Marine infantry units. After graduation, they will instead head to their originally slated MOS schools.
But regardless, history was still made by their incredible display of endurance and strength – and that shall never be forgotten.
Tough Cookies unite! Ooh-rah!