"The female officer within Infantry Officer Course has completed all graduation requirements and is scheduled to graduate with her peers on September 25," the US Marine Corps' Training and Education Command said in a statement released to CNN.
The woman, who is expected to lead an infantry platoon of about 40 Marines, completed an 86-day course that includes brutal endurance tests, strength training, and mental challenges. Approximately 25 percent of all students drop out of the program.
This milestone moment comes almost two years after the Pentagon lifted the military’s restrictions for women. It was part of an effort spearheaded by the Obama administration with the goal of making the armed forces more inclusive.
The Infantry Officer Course was first opened to women in 2012 as part of a military research effort to examine how to integrate all-male units. The research program ended in 2015, but the Pentagon opened all jobs to women by the end of the year, according to The Post.
The woman will face two major challenges, according to Kyleanne Hunter, a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Services and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot. The first is gaining respect from those under her command, and the second is dealing with outsiders and critics who will root for her to fail.
"The idea of putting women in there is not setting them up for success," Mattis said in a 2014 speech. "It would only be someone who never crossed the line of departure into close quarters fighting that would ever even promote such an idea."
Still, Hunter says people are excited and optimistic for good reason. "I think people are rightfully excited," she said. "She did something that is really hard, and it’s hard physically and it’s hard mentally. But at the same time, too much attention can take away from her operational requirements. Her first challenge is going to be to remain anonymous, for lack of a better term, and just do her job."