Nearly one in four males in the U.S. Marine Corps said they would leave the service if women were involuntarily posted in combat positions, according to the executive summary of a little-known survey commissioned by Marine Corps leaders and obtained by the Free Beacon.

A similar number of Marines of both sexes said they would not have enlisted in the corps if this had been policy at the time.

Twenty-three percent of both male and female Marines “said that they would not have joined” if women were involuntarily placed onto the front lines of combat, such as in the infantry, according to a summary of the survey provided to the Free Beacon.

Retention rates also could be affected at a time when the Marines are shrinking the force to cope with budgetary constraints.

Twenty-two percent of males who were surveyed said they “likely would leave the corps at their next opportunity” if women were involuntarily placed into primary combat roles.

Seventeen percent of females surveyed provided a similar answer, a number the report’s author suggests is surprisingly high.

The findings overwhelmingly reveal that the introduction of women into combat roles could pose a serious quandary for the nation’s fighting forces, which are struggling to adjust to a recent Pentagon order allowing women to fill combat positions.

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