SAN DIEGO - Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, has issued a directive that will change the annual physical fitness test required of female Marines.
Starting in 2014, female Marines will be required to do pull-ups, just as their male counterparts do.
Women currently must pass what is called a fixed arm hang, where they hold on to a pull-up bar. The women – like their male counterparts – also have to do a required number of sit-ups in a required time period and complete a three-mile run in a certain amount of time.
Amos did not specify why the change is taking place, but some believe the increased role of women in combat zones could be behind it.
"They are getting closer and closer to combat, and they need to be in top physical condition as well," said retired Maj. Gen. Bob Butcher, who now heads the Leatherneck Foundation at MCAS Miramar's Aviation Museum.
Four women recently filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon claiming that they are being discriminated against for promotions and other benefits because current rules concerning women and combat are not recognized.
Women are not directly involved in ground combat units. However, many have come under fire and have been wounded even in support roles.
"With the current insurgency, everybody is on the front lines these days," Bucher said.
The new physical fitness rules for women will be phased in next year and become mandatory by 2014.