Congrats — You Can Now Be a Woman Marine and Shoot Down Enemy Planes
The U.S. Marine Corps is about to finish training its first women Stinger anti-aircraft missile-shooters. Low Altitude Air Defense Gunner’s Course 3–15 at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona will graduate four enlisted female gunners.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my [military occupational specialty] or my job,” said Lance Cpl. Cody Meade, LAAD gunner. “It feels really good to be part of a class that’s made history, but at the end of the day, we’re all Marines and gender doesn’t matter.”
Stinger crews can get pretty close to the front line. The shoulder-fired missile can hit aircraft only around five miles away. So a job shooting Stingers is pretty close to direct combat.
The Army opened up most of its own Stinger crews to women back in 2003.
“A force that is less gender-specific leads to the creation of more multifunctional soldiers and leaders within the air defense branch. With this change, the personnel pool is much larger and, when trained and ready, they can assume positions of greater responsibility allowing them to grow into leaders that are experienced in the totality of the battlespace rather than a segmented portion of it,” Maj. Gen. Stan Green, then chief of Air Defense Artillery, said at the time.