It’s a 100-year moment: Women graduate alongside their male counterparts on Thursday for the first time at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Lima Company recruits include the first platoon of women who have completed the depot’s rigorous 13-week training camp, which is traditionally reserved for male recruits.
Staff Sergeant Amber Staroscik, who led the women alongside four other female drill instructors, praised them for changing the history of training camp.
“And not only did we change it, but we absolutely broke the ceilings with it,” Staroscik said. “They did excellent.”
The landmark event comes after new legislation requires fully integrated training camp training in San Diego by 2028. The Marine Corps’ other training camp, located in Parris Island, South Carolina, is already fully integrated.
“When I was told I was going to San Diego and was going to make history, it was something I couldn’t pass up,” said rookie Anne Margret Frazier.
Some recruits, around 10-15%, drop out each year. The women kept about the same pace, with 53 of 60 starting to cross the finish line.
Staroscik said the importance of women’s success was not lost on her as she led them through training camp.
“It was really humiliating to be put in that position,” Staroscik said, adding, “I knew how big a deal this was.”
Before graduation, every exhausted recruit – male or female – completed the famous “Crucible”, which culminates atop the rugged peak of Camp Pendleton known as “The Reaper.” Staroscik said the Crucible requires traversing extremely steep hills, often carrying a heavy load.
“They have conquered something which until this moment no other [female] the rookie … had done it, “Staroscik said.” So they knew they had broken this barrier which they said couldn’t be broken. “
“I knew every one of them that was up there deserved it,” Staroscik added.
Now they too are the few, the proud, the Marines.