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Four Women Complete Marine Infantry Training

Female marine in Afghanistan
Faria Jalala, a linguist for the U.S. Marine Corps Female Engagement Team 11-2, Task Force Leatherneck, speaks to civilians in Delaram, Nimroz province, Afghanistan on March 14, 2012. Marine combat roles are currently not open to women, but the Crops is pilot-testing infantry training in consideration of widening female Marines' opportunities. (Image credit: Lance Cpl. Catie D. Edwards)

Four female Marines have become the first women in history to complete the Corps' infantry training.

Business Insider reports that the Pfc. Harlee "Rambo" Bradford and three other women all passed the infantry course, considered among the toughest training in the U.S. military. The women, part of an initial class of 15 volunteers, are participating in a Marine Corp study to test the opening of the male-only infantry to female Marines.

Bradford will graduate with a later class, as she must await the healing of a stress fracture before completing the final physical fitness test of the training. None of the women is headed into infantry, however – because they are part of a study, they will all return to non-combat specialties for now.

Infantry training is notoriously strenuous, with one of the toughest tasks being a 12.5 mile (20 kilometer) hike through the woods conducted at a near-jogging pace of 4 miles per hour (6 km/hr) while carrying about 90 lbs (40 kilograms) of gear.

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Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.