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Great Gear for Marines and Families
Female Marines Make History
Physical Fitness Standards
GI Bill--Not Just For School
'Tis the Season to be Thankful
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November 27, 2013

If this is the first edition of the Marine Parents newsletter you have received, WELCOME! If you are a returning reader we are glad you have joined us and are thankful for your support. 

History was made last week as three Marines became the first females to ever graduate from infantry school. Read more about it in our first article.

Plans to change the physical fitness standards for female Marines have been put on hold.
Our second article provides more information.

Did you know that the GI Bill isn't just for school? Our third article provides more information.

Thanksgiving is a special time to share with family, friends, and loved ones. Read about how our Purple Heart Hero Support-East volunteers helped make this Thanksgiving a special one for a group of Wounded Heroes in our final article.

God bless and Semper Fi!


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Tracy Della Vecchia

Founder and Executive Director, Inc.
Female Marines Make History
First Females Complete Infantry School

Taken by Pfc. Harlee Bradford (center) and posted to her Instagram account Nov. 9 along with the words, "And then there was four", this photo shows the first female Marines to successfully complete ITB

(Photo courtesy of Harlee Bradford) 
History was made last Thursday, November 21, as three young women became the first female Marines to graduate from the Marine Corps' enlisted infantry training course at Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

In late September, a group of 15 women assigned to Delta Company, Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) began the 59-day infantry course as part of the Corps' research to determine which, if any, additional ground combat jobs may lift their gender restrictions. Over the ensuing two months, 11 women dropped out, but Pfc. Cristina Fuentes Montenegro, Pfc. Julia Carroll, and Pfc. Katie Gorz cemented their place in USMC history by overcoming the mental and physical challenges posed by ITB to graduate along with the roughly 220 male Marines who completed the course. A fourth woman, Pfc. Harlee "Rambo" Bradford, may join them in a matter of weeks if, upon recovering from a broken leg that forced her to put her dream of completing the course on hold, she is able to complete the program's final Combat Fitness Test and Physical Fitness Test.

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Christina Fuentes Montenegro, and Julia Carroll became the first female Marines to graduate from ITB on Nov. 21, 2013 (Photos courtesy of Sgt. Tyler L. Main and CWO2 Paul S. Mancuso) 

Unlike their male counterparts, the women who completed ITB will not obtain the MOS of 0311-Rifleman, as Marine Corps infantry specialties remain closed to women until 2015 at the earliest. Instead, the female Marines will receive credit for the course in their career personnel files, and they will now report to non-infantry MOS schools for further training (aviation mechanic for Fuentes Montenegro, signals intelligence for Carroll, and logistics for Gorz).

For now, these three Marines belong to one of, if not the, smallest sisterhoods in the Corps, but their numbers may soon be growing. Two more companies, Echo and Alpha, began ITB with female Marines in October, and, according to Marine Corps officials, nine of the 13 women from Echo company remain, along with eight of nine from Alpha. A third company, Bravo, began ITB on Nov. 12, and, as of last Thursday, had yet to drop a single one of the 22 females going through the course as the Marine Corps strive to reach its goal of sending approximately 300 women through ITB by next fall.

To read more, click here or click here... 
New Physical Fitness Standards Placed on Hold  
Female Marines' Transition From Flexed Arm Hang To Pullups Delayed Indefinitely 

Sgt. Stephany Rector completes pull-ups outside of her office. 
(Photo courtesy of Lance Cpl. Tabitha Bartley) 
In 2012, amid talks of opening combat jobs to women in the military, the Marine Corps announced that the physical standards for female Marines would change and that beginning Jan. 1, 2014, they would be required to do a minimum of 3 pullups as part of their annual physical fitness test. Now, however, it appears that that plan has been put on hold and that female Marines will, for the time being, continue to have the option to perform the "flexed arm hang" for a minimum of 15 seconds instead of doing pullups, per a facebook message the Corps sent out to all Marines last Friday, Nov. 22, that read:

The Marine Corps is extending the transition from the flexed-arm hang to pull-ups for the female Physical Fitness Test to allow for the further gathering of data to ensure all female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed. All Marines are strongly encouraged to continue training under the assumption that pull-ups will remain a standard of measure for physical fitness.
The Marine Corps says the delay is to make sure the change doesn't adversely affect the Corps' personnel policies. According to Colonel Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman:

The primary risks are unacceptable accession/attrition/retention rates for recruits, officer candidates, and current Marines. These potentially translate into various second-order issues that present additional risks to the Marine Corps-the risks are not anything medical or physical in nature to the Marines attempting pull-ups.

To read more on this topic, click here or click here...
The GI Bill--Not Just For School
Job Training, Apprenticeships May Also Qualify  

A common misconception about the GI Bill is that it can only be used for schooling.  However, Chad Schatz, director of Veterans Education and Training for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, says that is not always the case--it can also be used for on-the-job training and apprenticeships in certain cities--and the Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to make sure veterans are aware of this.

According to Schatz, "Virtually any job you can think of is going to have some sort of job training. As long as it has at least six months of training, people are usually eligible. My job is to determine whether or not a training program qualifies. In Missouri, we've been quite successful in helping veterans and families get that extra help."

Schatz said the benefits are typically around $1,000 per month, and can be drawn for up to two years. The amount of time depends on the position, but two years is the maximum.

Click here to learn more...
'Tis The Season To Be Thankful
PHHS-East Volunteers Provide Turkey Dinners For Wounded Heroes       


PHHS Volunteers Mary Ann and Susan with their Thanksgiving goodie-bags. 

Marine Parents and Purple Heart hero Support (PHHS) were recently informed that the Military Liason Officer (MLO) Family Support Coordinator at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was in need of turkeys for six families at the hospital. After receiving the appropriate authorizations to purchase the turkeys and sides, our PHHS-East volunteers got to work planning this special occasion.


Volunteer Mary Ann found festive holiday bags and filled them with cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, corn, and beans. Volunteer Susan bought the six smallest turkeys she could find, as the ovens in Tranquility Hall aren't large at all, and the dinner supplies were dropped off with Mia at Building 62 last Friday, November 22.  


Click here to read more... 


We hope this week's edition of our email newsletter has been useful for you and your family. If there are topics you would like us to address, or if you have other suggestions for the newsletter, please contact us.  


Banner Photo--
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.--Marines in the Advanced Infantryman Course prepare to take their position to suppress the enemy during Range 706 Nov. 19. Range 706 is a combined arms range that includes mortars, machine guns, demolitions, breach clearing, and fire and movement. The Advanced Infantryman Course provides infantry qualified Marines with the training necessary to become a successful infantry squad leader, the course teaches each infantryman proper patrolling techniques, urban combat tactics, defensive tactics and offensive tactics as a squad leader.  (USMC photo by Cpl. Brianna Christensen), Inc., is a 501(c)(3) public charity., Inc., was founded in January 2003 in response to parents' needs to find information and to have "a place to connect and share" with one another during their Marine's career. Our free online services and connections have expanded to support and educate Marine moms and dads, spouses, families and friends. We've helped 400,000 Marine and recruit families during boot camp, training, active duty and deployments. We've shipped more than 34,000 care packages overseas to our Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, sent 60,000 prayers and letters to injured Marines and served thousands of meals to wounded heroes and their families on the East and West coasts. You've found "a place to connect and share."