Sexes: Dick and Jane in Basic Training

The trials, and errors, of an integrated Army

One cold April dawn in 1979, the new, integrated Army arrived at Fort McClellan, Ala. The jittery recruits of Alpha Company, 87 men and 76 women mostly between the ages of 18 and 22, stepped off the ramshackle buses and began basic training together. They shared barracks (on alternate floors), mess halls and bivouacs, and a few occasionally made clandestine love in the laundry room or the latrines. When the six weeks of marching, spitting, polishing, obstacle coursing and weapons training were over, and the tears,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!