Every Marine learns that the purpose of the Marine Corps Infantry is to “locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.” The infantry is the core of the Corps; it is the heart that all other occupational specialties work to support. Dedication to the Marine rifleman has been the Corps’ most unifying principle. However, in the discussion surrounding the full integration of women into all military occupational specialties, including the infantry, the infantry Marine unfortunately has become the subject of divisiveness.
On 3 December 2015, the Secretary of Defense announced that there would be “no exceptions” to women’s integration. Misinformation about physical abilities and lowering standards has been put to rest by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, with promises of high standards being maintained. This should be a point of pride and unity for all Marines. Yet rather than supporting an effective and efficient integrated force, small but vocal groups of male Marines—most former or retired—have taken advantage of the Marines’ dedication to and reverence for the infantry to make a final appeal to emotion in arguments against integration.