Women In The Marine Corps

Female Marines

Female Marines

I spent 6 years in the United States Marine Corps and have to say it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.  When I first told my parents about my decision they had mixed feelings, my father seemed happy but my mother had reservations.

I should say, perhaps some of that came from my mother being ex-Navy (Jarheads and Squids traditionally have friendly rivalry). I also think my mother thought the Marine Corps was too tough for a female to deal with.

The thing about my decision was really that I wanted to do something that not many tried to do, something that was more difficult…..something that would challenge me.  When people found out that I was heading to boot-camp, I think many had an idea that I would fail and be home soon. I wish I had been told about what to expect, a guide or book telling me about all the things I was soon to discover.

People would say things like, “You won’t get through training,” or “Maybe you should look at the Air Force,” or “What about college?”  All in subtle ways to tell me they thought maybe I just couldn’t make it as a Marine.

Well this is the truth; I was worried about my fitness.  I was worried that I couldn’t run, or couldn’t handle the physical fitness.  I was worried that I was simply not strong enough….I was worried that, even I had spent weeks preparing, I was still not in good shape. I went online to look for information before going, but it seemed limited about details of the boot camp, training and more.

These are the facts.  You are never fit enough to think you can go to USMC boot-camp and get through training solely on what you have done to that point.  So then you think what must you do to get fit enough?

The biggest problem for women is that traditionally we have been told not to extend ourselves to the extreme physical workouts.  Not to lift weights.  Not to take martial arts. Not go overboard in the gym…..in other words, not to train like men!

The problem with that is when you go to boot camp; there is no escape from the physical training.  If you think you will be let off the hook simply because you are female….DON’T GO IN THE MARINES!!!!

This is no bullshit…..you will Suffer!  You will want to CRY!  You will want to hide away and try to slip off to medical.  And do you know what will happen if you give the Drill Instructor a passing thought that you might be weak?  That you might be unable to make the grade?  They will break you.  Break your spirit.  You cannot let them!

I am not saying the DI’s are monsters…..it is their job to get rid of those who come and are not the best candidates for the Marines.  They are there to weed out the people who cannot qualify.  Not everyone who goes to boot-camp will succeed.  Some women fall out because they cannot adjust to the living situation, cannot adjust to being told what to do and when; cannot take direction; cannot advance through training.  Some get sent back to do more training with another platoon; some are released from the military.  If you fail the final fitness test chances are you will be let go.

Still it isn’t just the fitness test; there are many other aspects of USMC boot camp that you need to be aware of.  The inside tips and advice about what to expect in Marine Boot Camp, the USMC way of doing things, the words to know and how NOT to react to the pressure.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be prepared? To know about all the different experience you will face?  What you will really face in USMC Boot Camp?

Before I went to boot-camp I could run 3 miles under 30 minutes, could do 65 sit-ups in one minute, could do 20 chin-ups and could do the bar hang for 3 minutes….which wasn’t that good.   I thought it was good enough.  I got my butt kicked……I was exhausted after the first day of physical training.  I spent extra time, when we have a free moment, doing more chins and hangs, more sit-ups and trying to make myself stronger.  I remember wishing that I had spent some time lifting weights, or doing something more productive to get ready for boot-camp.  I remember wishing someone had told me how things really were and what to really expect, but they didn’t.

If you are thinking to join the USMC, trust me, don’t let people bullshit you and say it is easy…..it isn’t!   Get in shape, follow a plan, and eat properly.

You will have very little sleep your first week or two, your body will be going through changes and adjusting to a new place and you will have many moments of total stress……add to that the fact that you will struggle with the physical side of things….and you will overload yourself with stress.  If you could eliminate one aspect of that adjusting to make your transition a little easier wouldn’t you do it?

USMC fitness tests are the most difficult physical tests in all of the military, you can ask anyone that…..it is common knowledge.  It is common knowledge that the Marine Corps doesn’t take just anyone, you have to earn your place….you have to earn the right to be called a Marine…..you have to do your time and carry your load…..so if you are a woman, thinking to go into the Marine Corps…..if you don’t want succeed, don’t want the honor of being called a Marine….then keep doing what you are doing….it makes no difference…..the Marine Corps only wants the best.

If you are a woman, wanting to be a Marine…then do something better, get yourself off the sofa and train….push yourself….become what you want…..Semper Fidelis!

Copyright @ McGibbon 2009

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  1. Carol Prieto says:

    Hi, my name is Carol Prieto. The Marines are my role models. I admire the Marines so much that i want to join the Marines after i graduate from high school. The post is very interesting and it got my attention. I would like to get some advice before i join the Marines. What should i do to prepare myself before i join the Marines? Thank you for taking your time to read this short comment. I would appreciate and will be waiting for your response. Thank you.

  2. your article inspired i want ot join the Marines this summer after my graduation and just right now i went to talk to the 1st sargent at the jrotc in my high school he explained alot and im just waiting for my mom to come back from her trip and tell her that i want to join the Marines i know how shes going to react but she will get over it. the hardest thing i think will happened to me if i get deployed over seas and somehing happens to me and i cant communicate with her or my father or my little sister (she also wants to join the Marines) but i know i have god by my side. your article said so much to me like only a few girl go in because of the simple fact that its hard for them but for me i think is a way to show that girls are as strong as guys and that we shouldn’t be decreminated just beacasue of that. im gonna start working on my miles/minutes, on my dead hang chin up and on my sit up, mainly my upper body starting monday because it snowed over the week so the park and sideways are filled with snow and black iced. thank you so much you are my inspiration i even printed this article because i know when i’m about to give up i can read this and will give courage so thank you.

  3. McBee, Stephanie says:

    Hey i’m going into the Marines and I know it’s going to be tough for me and I wanna thank you for writing this because everyone tells me I won’t make it. Or I need to go Air Force but I really wanna be a Marine i’m going to start working my ass harding and doing everythang I can to get in the best shape I can!
    Thank you!

  4. Kaytlin Z says:

    I currently made the decision to join the Corps in the past month. I have been training at the gym and tdone a couple pt sessions with some of the guys at the recruiters. Physically I’m not nowhere I need to be but the good thing is, is that my recruiter is my same age, 23. He respects me and has been guiding and working out with me. Your post inspired me and thank you for that. I realize it’s going to be the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life. But knowing that I’ll be a US Marine at the end of it will be the most fulfilling thing I’ve done and probably ever will do in my life. I took the pretest to the ASVAB and got a 79….take my asvab in a couple weeks and then go to MEPS. I’m working my ass off and I know nothing I do will be enough but it’s an honor to be a part of this process. Semper Fidelis

  5. I just recently made my decision to join the USMC. Your article really touched my heart and I have never wanted something more than that. To be one of the few and the proud! Thank you for sharing your story!

  6. I’m still in high school and have an intrest of going into the Marines.Do you have any recomendations as to what i should work on as far as fitness?
    Thank You!Semper Fi


    I would like to commend all those ladies who are going to be Marines!!! You all have taken the first step, the DESIRE to be the BEST!! The second step is having the PASSION to SUCCEED and doing all you can to complete your mission.

    The author mentioned that “The thing about my decision was really that I wanted to do something that not many tried to do, something that was more difficult…..something that would challenge me” and this is why she is a MARINE FOREVER because her mindset was in place along with the DETERMINATION and PASSION that she needed to earn the “Title of Marine” and once you earn the right (Graduation in my DAY, 1971 or the CRUCIBLE these days) by receiving your “EAGLE, GLOBE AND ANCHORS”, no one can take that away from you. So get your DESIRE AND PASSION and get out there and prepare yourselves.

    There are alot of sites that prepare you to be ready. Nowadays the Recruiters will help get you ready. Back in my day, we did not have the Internet and went in blind. Search places like Military.com, leatherneck.com, and on the USMC web.

    I can assure you, that this will be a journey that only you alone can complete and this is what makes it such a rewarding one. You will EARN the right to be call MARINE!! Then you can go back to all those doubting Thomas’ and tell them to kiss your axe.

    Semper FI,
    Seargeant Bob Edwards – 1971 to 1979
    Drill Instructor
    Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion
    MCRD, San Diego March 1974 to February 1976

  8. Lacey says:

    I just read this and it really sparked my interest, I have always had a huge interest in the military in general but college has always been my first priority. I just turned 21 and will be done with college in a year and a half. I guess my real question is that will I be too old to go in at 23, most people start right out of high school. Also, I am going for public health administration, nothing near crimal justice like most do. Thank you for your time.


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