Minnesotan among first women to graduate from grueling Marine infantry course

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A St. Paul woman made history Thursday by becoming one of the first three females to graduate from the Marine Corps' tough infantry training school in North Carolina, The Associated Press reports.

Pvt. 1st Class Katie Gorz, 19, graduated the course along with Pvt. 1st Class Cristina Fuentes Monternegro, 25, of Coral Springs, Florida, and Pvt. 1st Class Julia Carroll, 18, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Geraldine Carey says.

Carey says Gorz, Fuentes and Montenegro met the same test standards as the men in the 59-day course.

That included carrying the same rifles and 85-pound back packs on the same 12-mile hikes through the woods of North Carolina, the Washington Post reports.

ABC News has a rundown of the obstacles the Marines face during the training. Other tests in the course require trainees to do an ammunition lift, where they have to lift a 30-pound ammunition can over their head until their elbows lock as many times as possible.

Gorz is going to study logistics in the Marines.

The big step was made after the Pentagon earlier this year lifted the ban on women in combat jobs. It will be up to each of the specific branches to determined how women will be integrated.

While the women passed the course, they still won't be able serve in an infantry unit. The Los Angeles Times says they will be placed in staff and support jobs as the Pentagon continues to study how many of the thousands of combat-related jobs currently occupied by men should be opened to both males and females.

The Military Times says 15 women started in thr course, along with 266 men. The publication says the Marines carefully guarded the identities of the females from media exposure to respect their privacy.

ABC News says in addition to the three women who graduated, 224 men completed the course.

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