Marine Corps releases first video featuring a woman recruit in the lead



Amid backlash over the treatment of women in its ranks, the United States Marine Corps released its first-ever national commercial featuring a female recruit, according to the Associated Press.

The ad, titled "Battle Up," published on YouTube Friday. It follows a woman from childhood when she breaks up a group of girls bullying another student; through adolescence, as she fights her way down a rugby pitch; to her career as a Marine, in combat and serving the homeless.

Notably, the ad's star is an actual Marine — Capt. Erin Demchko, who spoke to the AP about the experience of filming. "Everything felt different with all the staff and cameras," Demchko, a deputy commander at Camp Courtney in Okinawa, Japan, who previously served in Afghanistan, recalled. The ad, she explained, "is targeted at young women who are seeking a way to challenge themselves."

16 PHOTOS
Women in the US Marines
See Gallery
Women in the US Marines
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - MARCH 08: United States Marine Corps recruit Maria Martinez, 19, of Santa Anna, California trains during boot camp March 8, 2007 at Parris, Island, South Carolina. The Department of Defense has asked Congress to increase the size of the Marine Corps by 27,000 troops and the Army by 65,000 over the next five years. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - JANUARY 15: United States Marine Corps female recruit Jessica Waseca crawls on her back under barbed wire January 15, 2003 during the test exercise called The Crucible at boot camp at Parris Island, SC. The Marines train an average of 3,700 male recruits and 600 females a day at Parris Island. The Crucible is a 54 hour final exam to test the skills the recruits have learned during basic training. (Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - MARCH 08: Female United States Marine Corps recruits receive instructions for a training exercise during boot camp March 8, 2007 at Parris Island, South Carolina. The Department of Defense has asked Congress to increase the size of the Marine Corps by 27,000 troops and the Army by 65,000 over the next five years. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Pfc. Tiffany Mash of Torrance, California leads a company of Marines, both male and female, carrying 55 pound packs at the start of a 10 kilometer training march during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Male and female Marines climb an obstacle on the Endurance Course during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 20, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Male and female Marines participate together in a combat conditioning exercise during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 20, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating boot camp. It has been required for enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Female Marine recruits prepare to fire on the rifle range during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Pvt. Tatiana Maldonado of Dallas, Texas trains with male and female Marines as she learns patrolling techniques at Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Female Marine recruits stand in formation during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Pvt. Megan Randall of Huntersville, North Carolina cleans a machine gun during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Cpl. David Peck (C) from New Market, Tennessee instructs female Marines as they prepare to fire on the rifle range during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Male and female Marines do abdominal crunches while running the Endurance Course during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 20, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CAMP LEJEUNE, NC - FEBRUARY 22: Sgt. Jarrod Simmons tries to motivate his squad of Marines before they head out on a 10 kilometer training march carrying 55 pound packs during Marine Combat Training (MCT) on February 22, 2013 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since 1988 all non-infantry enlisted male Marines have been required to complete 29 days of basic combat skills training at MCT after graduating from boot camp. MCT has been required for all enlisted female Marines since 1997. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PARRIS ISLAND, SC - FEBRUARY 25: Female and male Marine recruits listen to instructions as they prepare for a swimming test during boot camp February 25, 2013 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina. Male and female recruits are expected to meet the same standards during their swim qualification test. All female enlisted Marines and male Marines who were living east of the Mississippi River when they were recruited attend boot camp at Parris Island. About six percent of enlisted Marines are female. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A U.S. marine drinks the blood of a cobra during a jungle survival exercise with the Thai Navy as part of the "Cobra Gold 2013" joint military exercise, at a military base in Chon Buri province February 20, 2013. About 13,000 soldiers from seven countries, Thailand, U.S., Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia are participating in the 11-day military exercise. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (THAILAND - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY SOCIETY)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Women are underrepresented in the Marine Corps, comprising 7% to 8% of its membership, according to Time. The AP reported that the Marine Corps aims to increase women in its ranks to 10% by 2019. However, a recent nude photo-sharing scandal complicated that goal.

In early March, news broke that a huge number of U.S. military personnel and veterans were involved in distributing nude photos of servicewomen in a Facebook group called "Marines United," which had about 30,000 members. According to the Marine Times, the scandal implicated "potentially hundreds of Marines." The women involved were fully identified in the photos' captions.

The Navy and Marine Corps responded by criminalizing non-consensual nude photo sharing, but sex-based discrimination is a recurring problem for the military. Sexual assault rates within the ranks of the armed forces are disconcertingly high, but according to Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, the Marine Corps wants to change its image.

This commercial is intended as a step toward that end. Kennedy explained that the goal is for viewers, especially those who might be interested in enlisting, to watch the ad and "not think that we are only looking for a few good men, that we're actually using all of our recurring efforts to find good women as well."

38 PHOTOS
The Marines throughout history
See Gallery
The Marines throughout history

The Marine Corps band called 'The Presidents Own' was created in 1798. Here they are in 1893.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

The Marines pose for a photo in Egypt in 1907.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines pose with a German trench mortar in 1918.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines duing WWI circa 1918. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines run a drill during combat training in Germany, 1918. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Grumman FF-2, circa 1930

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Pearl Harbor survivor Technical Sergeant Anglin on December 8th 1941.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines patiently wait to be called for 'chow time' 1943.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Marines admire a photo of a pin-up girl in 1943 while in Japan. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

James Wrobel, Designer of VMF-312 Insignia, circa 1943

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines arrive on the Japanese island Saipan. 1944 WWII

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines stationed in Bougainville.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines wait for letters from home to be distributed. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Pictured here : 'Code Talkers'  1943 were a group a Native American Marines would used their native language to relay coded messages. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

 Marines fire a 155mm Howitzer Iwo Jima.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

A Navy Corpsman administers blood plasma to a Marine. 1944

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines are surrounded by bullet shells at  the base of Mount Suribachi.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines raise the American flag in Iwo Jima. 1945

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines celebrate the end of WWII. 1945

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Korean War 1950. 

Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Female Marines began training in Parris Island, South Carolina, 1949.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines line up to receive items from home. Usually soda, candy and cigarettes. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

A welcome banner can be seen here in Vietnam welcoming the Marines in Danang in 1965. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

A Marine rests while he can in Vietnam. 1968. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Moment of Peace: Corporal Larry G. Nabb (Brush, Colorado) finds a moment of peace in front of a gaily decorated Christmas tree at Quang Tri Combat Base. Nabb is serving as a truck driver with 3d Marine Division’s Headquarters Battalion, and is one of thousands of Marines celebrating their Christmas in Vietnam 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Private First Class Ronald Duplantis prepares a 122mm enemy field weapon for shipment.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines carry supplies from a cargo plane to a nearby base. 1969.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines register to vote for the 1969 presidential election.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

David Gurfein sits next to a Christmas tree in Saudi Arabia while serving during Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines prepare to enter Saddam Husseins palace in 2003.

Photo Credit: Lance Corporal Kevin Quihuis Jr./U.S. Marine Corps

U.S. Marine Corp Assaultman Kirk Dalrymple watches as a statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad in this April 9, 2003 file photo. U.S. troops pulled down a 20-foot (six-metre) high statue of President Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad and Iraqis danced on it in contempt for the man who ruled them with an iron grip for 24 years. In scenes reminiscent of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Iraqis earlier took a sledgehammer to the marble plinth under the statue of Saddam. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/Files (IRAQ - Tags: TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY CONFLICT) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE IS PART OF PACKAGE '30 YEARS OF REUTERS PICTURES' TO FIND ALL 56 IMAGES SEARCH '30 YEARS'

Marines can be seen fighting in Fallujah in 2004.

Photo Credit: via Wikimedia

'Darkhorse' Marines lost the most men in Afghanistan over any other Marine unit. They can be seen here in 2010.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Cpl. Chris Lawler observes a  F/A-18C Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 approach during Exercise Pitch Black 2016 on Aug. 9, 2016.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Around 20,000 recruits are trained in Parris Island every year. 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Sgt. Justin Glenn Burnside motivates a recruit with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion 

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Marines take their oath at the 2012 U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2012 graduation.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.