Sunday, May 23, 2010

First British Female Soldiers Complete the United States Marine Corps Female Engagement Team Course

Two British female soldiers in Helmand have completed the United States Marine Corps’ Female Engagement Team Course in Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province.

Army administrator, Lance Corporal Jennifer Garraway (22), from Peasedown St John in Somerset and Army medic, Lance Corporal Nicola Murray (27), from Stretford, Manchester, both serving with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland in Helmand Province, have become the first British soldiers to have attended the 9-day Female Engagement Team (FET) Course which was held at the United States Marine Corps (USMC) base, Camp Leatherneck near Camp Bastion.

Lance Corporal Jennifer Garraway (Left), Lance Corporal Murray (Right)

The all-female course focuses on interaction with the local Afghan female population, fostering relationships and gaining the trust and support of Afghans whilst patrolling with infantry soldiers. The British Soldiers were fully embedded; working, living and eating with 50 female Marines from across Helmand Province.

The course is culturally important to operations in Afghanistan as Afghan woman are not allowed to be greeted or spoken to by males outside their family, therefore male members of the military are unable to access approximately 51 percent of the Afghan population.

Lance Corporal Garraway said: “Afghan women have a significant influence on their families and communities, and their influence is often reflected in the behavior of their children and husbands”.

The course consisted of patrolling skills, radio procedures, medical training, ranges, physical training and martial arts. Lance Corporal Garraway, a Combat HR Administrator from the Adjutant General’s Corps and Lance Corporal Murray, a Combat Medical Technician from the Royal Army Medical Corps, joined only 28 female Marines at the graduation ceremony as not all students made it through the grueling 9-day course.

Both soldiers will now form a FET within a newly formed infantry rifle company from the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, in a ground holding role in Combined Force Nad-e Ali in Helmand over the next four months.


  1. chosenman and proudJuly 6, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    i see the point of this, just like cimic, thats all it is, but is there anything left of male tradtions of being male in a male orientated army, why do women feel as they need to fight like us with the enemy, we are mentally and physically different and that is why we as men are better suited to sword end and not women. The yanks have ruined male tradition by letting females join the US marines and blaspheming on the history of the marines calling them female corpsmen, how stupid is that. I just hope the Paras in the British army dont do this, where will it stop otherwise.I respect women in the forces but there needs to be a limit to deployment and the closer it gets to mainstream rifle plt intergration, problems will happen.

  2. kudos to both of you! I want to be one in congratulate them for this excellent job, with this the concept of only men are soldiers, is turned into only a urban legend.

  3. To chosenman and proud: Your comment worries me when you ask about male only traditions. I can't think of any female only traditions either so thy should men be allowed them. If females can pass the fitness tests then they have earned the right to serve. Your comment on why females also need to fight knocked the wind out of me. Why do men feel the need to fight? You'll argue that they do and this is because men and women are different from each other but that is an old stereotype that women can't fight. People's behaviour changes with society's and gradually women have become more independent and strong willed like men so like men they want to fight for their country. A long time ago women wouldn't have wanted to fight but with changing times I think you'll find more and more do and the differences between men and women get smaller and smaller. Obviously differences will remain but you have to accept that if a women is capable then not allowing her to fight is prejudice