In fall 2012, only two female Marines volunteered for the 13-week infantry officers training course at Quantico, Va., and both failed to complete it.
But the following fall, three Marines became the first women to graduate from the Corps' enlisted infantry training school in North Carolina. They completed the same test standards as the men in the course, which included a 12-mile march with an 80-pound pack and various combat fitness trials such as timed ammunition container lifts and tests that simulate running under combat fire.
Officials had added specific training for female recruits when the pullup requirement was announced in December 2012, and they came up with a workout program for women already serving.
Military testing for physical skill and stamina has changed over the decades with needs of the armed forces. Officials say the first recorded history of Marine Corps physical fitness tests, for example, was 1908 when President Theodore Roosevelt ordered that staff officers must ride horseback 90 miles and line officers walk 50 miles over a three-day period to pass. A test started in 1956 included chinups, pushups, broad jump, 50-yard duck waddle and running.
The first test for women was started in 1969: A 120-yard shuttle run, vertical jump, knee pushups, 600-yard run/walk and situps.
Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.