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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 45
DEC 8 - 15, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX
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Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

A Lance Corporal Just Became the 1st Female Recon Marine

Nov 29, 2019
by Gina Harkins
The Corps has its first-ever female reconnaissance Marine.

Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth completed the Basic Reconnaissance Course earlier this month, Marine officials confirmed. She's the first woman to apply to and complete the course, said Teresa Ovalle, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps' Training and Education Command.

Between 25% and 40% of Marines who attempt the 55-day course don't complete it, Ovalle said, adding that no other women have applied to take the course since Barth completed it.

Marine Corps Times reported that Barth completed the physically and mentally demanding course.

She is expected to join the California-based 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in late spring or early summer, said Maj. Kendra Motz, a 1st Marine Division spokeswoman. The recon Marine has several more months of training to complete before being assigned to the unit.

The Basic Reconnaissance Course trains students in the basic skills needed to qualify for the 0321 military occupational specialty. That includes amphibious recon operations, ground patrolling and surveillance, land navigation and supporting arms, according to a course description.

All Marines who apply to complete Basic Reconnaissance Course must first complete a tough primer course that predominantly focuses on aquatics conditioning, Ovalle said. More than half of Marines who attempt that course typically don't finish it.

In fiscal 2019, which ran from Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2019, Ovalle said 695 Marines began the primer, called Reconnaissance Training and Assessment Program. Just 309 of them went onto start the Basic Reconnaissance Course.

Ovalle said all of the course events and requirements remained the same when Barth completed it.

"There were absolutely no changes to standards," she said.

Recon Marines conduct land or air insertions to gather intelligence, perform surveillance, or carry out small-unit raids, among other missions, in support of conventional operations. It's a demanding job, and the Corps typically offers Marines steep re-enlistment bonuses if they stay in the field.

In 2016, Marine officials announced that the 0321 MOS name would change to become gender-neutral, once recon and other combat fields opened to women. The reconnaissance man MOS was renamed reconnaissance Marine.

It was one of dozens of MOS titles that included the word "man" to be rebranded.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Marines and sailors in the Basic Reconnaissance Course practice their helocasting skills at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and in San Diego Bay. The 12-week training evolution provides the students with the basic knowledge of reconnaissance doctrine, concepts and techniques with emphasis on amphibious entry, extraction, beach reconnaissance, Combat Rubber Reconnaissance Craft (CRRC) operator skills and ground reconnaissance patrolling skills. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl Orrin Farmer)


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