Two more women dropped out of the grueling Marine Infantry Officer Course this week. The women, both lieutenants, and 12 men failed to complete a rigorous obstacle course on Thursday in Quantico, Va.
Of a class that started with 110 students, only 96 remain enrolled.
Only 75 percent of those who volunteer complete the 10-week Infantry Officer Training Course.
It was only the second time women were allowed to compete to become Marine ground combat leaders. The first two women to attempt the course dropped out last fall. One did not complete the endurance test and the other left due to unspecified to medical reasons. 30 men also dropped out on the first day.
According to Marines.com an infantry officer is expected to train other Marines in every aspect of ground combat in any condition. The course is meant to push men and women to their limit. They endure intense field tests and written exams with little sleep or food. About 400 Marines per year attempt the course, but one in four drops out.
A U.S. military official told NBC News that five more female Marines are waiting to volunteer this summer for the course, which is given four times each year.
"The women are expected to do everything that the men do," said Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers. "We haven't changed anything."
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in January ordered U.S. military chiefs to examine whether more combat jobs could be opened to women. They are expected to report back to Panetta’s successor Chuck Hagel with their report by May 15.