Marine Corps commandant challenges journalist to attempt Infantry Officer Course

Posted at 11:13 AM, Apr 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-11 15:35:48-04

A civilian journalist has agreed to take on a Marine Corps commandant’s challenge to undertake the Marine Corps difficult Infantry Officer Course.

Gen. Jim Amos was angry after reading a Marine Corps Times article headlined, “Two more female Marines flunk infantry officers training.”

The article reported that the two women failed to complete the course’s introductory Combat Endurance Test on March 28.

Amos wrote a letter to the paper’s editor claiming that characterizing the women’s performances as having “flunked,” was “sensational and shameful.”

“Of necessity, the IOC curriculum is extremely arduous and challenging. I have no plans of changing it,” he continued. “More than 30 percent who attempt the IOC curriculum don’t complete it. Lieutenants who don’t pass IOC go on to serve our Corps honorably in other meaningful and rewarding ways.”

The story was written by Marine Corps Times senior writer Dan Lamothe. In his letter, Amos offered Lamothe the opportunity to join the July IOC class as a participant with over 100 Marines who will also begin the course.

Lamothe accepted the offer and sent an e-mail response to the commandant’s public affairs officer, Lt. Col. Joseph Plenzler, saying “I’m not sure what the logistics of that would be, but as long as it doesn’t detract from the work those lieutenants are putting in, I’m all for it.”

Lamothe and Andrew deGrandpre, the newspaper’s managing editor, responded to a post on Plenzler’s Facebook page regarding the article.

DeGrandpre wrote that he has the “utmost respect” for the women who volunteered to be a part of the research effort, while pointing out the Marine Corps’ reluctance to allow the newspaper access to IOC.

Lamothe added that there is “no shame” in the female volunteers failing IOC, saying “They gave it a run after being recruited to help the Corps in this experiment.  Still, they didn’t pass. That means ‘flunked,’ ‘failed,’ ‘washed out,’ etc., are all accurate. We want to be sensitive, but we also need to accurately report the news.”