The United States Marines are removing “man” titles from 19 different jobs, but pushback from some of the service’s top leaders may leave a handful of the most quintessential Marines job titles untouched.
According to a report from the Marine Corps Times, the initiative to remove the word “man” from so many military occupational specialties, or MOSs, comes after a months-long review that was mandated by the Secretary of the Navy. The directive was to render gendered job titles, like Infantry Assault Man and Fire Support Man, as gender neutral to reflect the changing face of the armed forces.
Women make up about 7.7 percent of the Marine Corps, according to ABC News.
A service-wide announcement regarding the removal of the word “man” from 19 job titles is expected within the next day or so, but the official site that lists all available Marines MOSs already reflects at least some of the changes.
Most of the titles that are changing have simply had the word “man” removed and replaced with “Marine,” but there are a handful of exceptions. For instance, the gendered “infantryman” becomes Basic Infantry Marine, but Antitank Missileman becomes Antitank Missile Gunner.
Now that Basic is in my job title, I wont give my self such a hard time for those pumpkin spice lattes come October. https://t.co/AXzXk4MnTd
— Thomas Gibbons-Neff (@Tmgneff) June 28, 2016
Can’t wait til the Marines change the title of “rifle-man” to “non-binary rifle being”
— homunculus bongulus (@XyleneBro) June 30, 2016
Other changes that break the basic man-to-Marine mold include shifting Field Artillery Operations Man to Field Artillery Operations Chief to reflect the rank of Marines typically assigned to that MOS, and M1A1 Tank Crewman to Armor Marine.
— Trevor A. Branch (@TrevorABranch) June 30, 2016
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Marine official told the Marine Corps Times that a total of 33 MOS titles were reviewed, and 19 will be changed, but leadership pushed to leave a handful of the most iconic Marine Corps titles untouched.
“Names that were not changed, like rifleman, are steeped in Marine Corps history and ethos,” the unnamed official told the Times. “Things that were changed needed to be updated to align with other MOS names.”
Rifleman and mortarman are two of the titles that will not have the word “man” removed and replaced by a more gender-neutral term. Other untouched MOSs include titles like manpower officer and vertical takeoff unmanned vehicle specialist don’t use the term “man” to refer to the marine who holds that position, which is the reasoning that was used to leave them in place.
The directive to render MOSs gender-neutral came last January in an order issued by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
“Lastly, as we achieve full integration of the force, mirroring even more closely the Nation we defend, this is an opportunity to update the position titles and descriptions to demonstrate through this language that women are included in these MOSs,” Mabus wrote. “Please review the position titles throughout the Marine Corps and ensure that they are gender-integrated as well, removing ‘man’ from their titles and provide a report to me as soon as practicable and no later than April 1, 2016, so that it is included in the rest of the integration efforts.”
The Marine Corps Times reports that while the Marines are leaving many of their definitive titles in place, the Navy is currently in the process of an MOS review that could remove the word “man” from age-old titles like corpsman, yeoman, and seaman.
In addition to pushback from Marine Corps leadership, which led to the retention of titles like rifleman and mortarman, the initiative to remove “man” from titles has also received significant criticism via social media from Marines, other service members, and civilians alike.
— Lady Vet (@melanieusn1979) June 29, 2016
Do you think that it is necessary to remove “man” from titles to reflect the fact that some Marines are women, or should every MOS receive the same hands-off treatment as rifleman?
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]