First Lt. Marina A. Hierl is a history-maker: She’s the first woman in the U.S. Marine Corps ever to lead an infantry platoon. Profiled by The New York Times, Lt. Hierl is one of four platoon commanders in Echo Company and, despite initial skepticism, her senior role appears to have been “quietly accepted” by the troops she now commands. Thirty-seven women have reportedly attended the Marines Corps’ Infantry Officer Course and only two have passed. Of those women, only Lt. Hierl has been given a platoon of roughly 35 men to lead, the Times reports. “I wanted to do something important with my life,” said Lt. Hierl. “I wanted to be part of a group of people that would be willing to die for each other.” She went on: “I wanted to lead a platoon. I didn’t think there was anything better in the Marine Corps I could do.” Women make up about 15 percent of the U.S. military’s 1.3 million active-duty troops.
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