Marine Corps - USMC Community - First female Marine drill instructors graduate from at MCRD San Diego
  • First female Marine drill instructors graduate from at MCRD San Diego

    SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Sgt. Stephanie Fahl is shouldering great expectations.

    Eight years ago, the 33-year-old San Diego resident went through boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina. Her drill instructors inspired her then and she hopes now to carry that same motivation forward as she helps to forge the Corps' newest Marines.

    On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Fahl and two other women, Sgt. Ikea Kaufman and Sgt. Stephanie Jordi, made Marine Corps history by becoming the first females to graduate from a gender-integrated drill instructor course at the 100-year-old Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

    Marching to the center of the stage, they received the signature felt drill instructor hat and recited the drill instructor's creed penned in 1950.

    In February, the three will again make history by joining their male counterparts to train the first gender-integrated company of Marine recruits in the West Coast depot's history. Female Marine recruits have traditionally all been sent to Parris Island for boot camp.

    "As enlisted Marines, we never forget our drill instructors," Fahl said just minutes after her graduation. "I still remember them vividly. Their demeanor was the epitome of what I wanted to become. I can only hope I can work hard enough to inspire these young men and women in the same way they inspired me."

    Earlier this year, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act required the Marines to begin training both genders together. Parris Island led the way and has graduated nine integrated companies from boot camp.

    When new recruits arrive in San Diego in February, they will become part of Lima Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion.

    Of the company's six 60-person platoons that will all train together, one will be made up of women. While the genders will be housed separately, the boot camp training, including physical fitness, Marine martial arts, academics and etiquette in the chow hall, will be done as a mixed group of men and women.

    It takes recruits 13 weeks to become Marines.

    First they learn how to act, march and how to properly conduct themselves. After two weeks, they go to Camp Pendleton to train on the firing ranges, learning to operate and shoot an M-16 rifle. They learn land navigation and how to live and operate in the field. Before returning to the recruit depot, they encounter a final challenge known as The Crucible, after which they receive the eagle, globe and anchor insignia and become Marines.

    They then go back to the depot, work on academics and graduate. From there they start to train for whatever their Marine Corps jobs will be.
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