IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - An Idaho Falls woman was one of the first three women to pass the infantry training course in the United States Marine Corps six months ago. Infantry jobs have been closed to women, but in the past year, the Marines have considered testing more opportunities for women.
When Julia Carroll passed the infantry training course, she was Pfc. Carroll. In the last month, she's been promoted to Lance Cpl Carroll. When she first enlisted, Carroll said that infantry was not on her mind during boot camp.
"She had no clue the Marine Corps was going to provide this pilot program. So, during the course of boot camp they tested them. I think it was sort of unbeknownst to them that they were being tested," said John Carroll, Julia's father.
"She waited until graduation to tell me, which I think she planned it that way, because obviously women in combat, for a mom, is a little bit of a scary thing," said her mother, June Willsey
"It's considered of the toughest training course in the military, I think is what's been said about it," said Lance CPL Carroll.
"A big part is carrying around a huge pack that probably weighed 2/3 of her weight, she isn't the biggest girl in the world so carrying around an 80, 90 pound pack... I was concerned about that," said John Carroll.
Since making history, Carroll returned to her training in signal intelligence. A few weeks ago, she graduated number one in her class.
"It's a very diverse MOS field. The opportunities it offers are pretty unique especially as far as the civilian world after the Marine Corps if I ever decide to get it out"
Carroll went in to the USMC because of a long family history in the service, but it wasn't always her plan.
"I thought she was going to be our artist type of child because she was into journalism and music, all of the sudden the switch flipped and she decided she was going to go in the military," said John Carroll.
Going forward, she is excited to be in intelligence, but infantry will always be in the back of her mind.
"She still looks back on it and likes that training and the bonds she made with the other girls. She would go back if she could I think," said Willsey.
Carroll said she would consider volunteering if more infantry opportunities or tests open to women. She is currently training at the Goodfellow Air Force base in Texas.