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This Is a Big First for a Woman in the Navy

First woman ever completes training course to join elite Naval Special Warfare team
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2021 1:54 AM CDT
Updated Jul 16, 2021 6:55 AM CDT
This Is a Big First for a Female Sailor
In this May 4, 2020 photo provided by the U.S. Navy, SEAL candidates participating in "surf immersion" during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training at the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Center in Coronado, Calif.   (MC1 Anthony Walker/U.S. Navy via AP)

For the first time, a female sailor has successfully completed the grueling 37-week training course to become a Naval Special Warfare combatant-craft crewman—the boat operators who transport Navy SEALs and conduct their own classified missions at sea. Navy officials said they would not identify the woman or provide more details on her—a routine military policy for special operations forces. She was one of 17 sailors to graduate and receive their pins on Thursday. She is also the first of 18 women who have tried out for a job as a SWCC or a SEAL to succeed, the AP reports. The sailor's graduation marks just the latest inroad that women have made into some of the military's most difficult and competitive commando jobs—just five years after all combat posts were opened to them. She will now head to one of Naval Special Warfare’s three special boat teams.

Of the 18 females who have sought a Navy special operations job, 14 did not complete the course. Three of them, however, are currently still in the training pipeline, one for SWCC and two attempting to become SEALs. Overall, according to the Navy, only about 35% of the men and women who begin the training for SWCC actually graduate. A year ago, a female soldier became the first woman to complete the Army’s elite Special Forces course and join one of the all-male Green Beret teams. One other female soldier has finished training and will report to her assigned Special Forces group next month, and another will be attending the Military Freefall School next month, and then will report to her team. So far, no women have successfully completed Marine special operations training. Air Force Lt. Col. Malinda Singleton said that at of this month, there are two enlisted females in the Air Force Special Warfare training pipeline for combat jobs that opened to women in 2015.

(Read more Navy stories.)

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