About 400 soldiers just successfully completed the 53-week Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg. Each of them is special, their parents would agree, but one is in a league of her own—the first woman to ever join the Army's Green Berets. "Each and every one of you demonstrated the ability to meet the baseline standards and competencies for admission," Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette told the graduates in a socially distant ceremony in North Carolina on Thursday. They put on the Green Beret for the first time at graduation, Military.com reports, which identifies them as part of a Special Operations team that handles missions behind enemy lines. The Army is not releasing the female soldier's name or any identifying information about her for security reasons.
The National Guard soldier was headed toward graduation sooner but had to go through part of her training a second time, per the New York Times. All combat jobs were opened to women in 2016; two women had graduated from Army Ranger School the year before. Capt. Kate Wilder completed Special Forces training in 1981 but was pushed out before graduation. After an Army investigation, she received her certificate but never served in the Green Berets; she was in the Army as a lieutenant colonel until 2003. The female soldier who received her Special Forces tab Thursday is now an engineer sergeant after clearing the initial 24-day assessment program and more than a year of training. Beaudette's statement to the graduates reflected the change: "Our Green Beret men and women will forever stand in the hearts of free people everywhere." (Read more Green Beret stories.)