The latest iteration of the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course began last week, putting dozens of prospective infantry officers through the beginning of 13 weeks of hell. Those who survive will become the service’s latest crop of infantry officers, a demanding profession they were told begins with a simple question: “How do I win?”
As mentioned here last week, I was on the scene at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., for Marine Corps Times as the course’s initial Combat Endurance Test took place. It’s an assignment that had us pushing through the forests of Quantico for hours, observing lieutenants as they endured one of the hardest days of their lives.
As the cover image above shows, the course is of significant interest now because female volunteers are attending it as part of the Marine Corps’ ongoing research into which assignments women should have in combat. I spent significant time observing the two women who stepped forward to try IOC this time around, and cover it in detail in this week’s cover story.
The story also goes behind the scenes at IOC in a way media rarely reaches. We were allowed to watch salty speeches that instructors gave students, the grueling stages of the endurance test and the hard work that occurs long before the sun rises.
To check out the story, pick up this week’s Marine Corps Times. The story is also available online via Marine Corps Times Prime here.