A woman has qualified for training with the Army’s special forces and could become the first female Green Beret, according to the Army Times.
The woman, who was not named by the Army, passed the 24-day Special Forces Assessment and Selection and will move on to the qualification course that can take up to two years, according to The Fayetteville Observer.
The Army’s special forces units have only been open to women since 2016, the Army Times reports. Since then, several women have tried to pass the selection course, but none has made it through, according to the Army Times.
“Recently, a female successfully completed Special Forces Assessment and Selection and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course,” special forces spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer told the Army Times. ”We’re proud of all the candidates who attended and were selected to continue into the qualification course in hopes of earning their Green Beret.”
The Fayetteville Observer reports Green Beret selection course “is considered one of the most grueling selection processes in the U.S. military.” The qualification course, which soldiers must pass before receiving the Green Beret, is conducted at Fort Bragg.
“If she completes training to become a Special Forces soldier, she would open one of the last remaining all-male fraternities of the Army — the Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha, or A-team,” The Fayetteville Observer notes.
“No matter what happens next, the fact the woman passed Special Forces Assessment and Selection is a major achievement. The training is both physically and mentally brutal and has a high washout rate,” writes the online military magazine Task & Purpose.
The woman who qualified might never be identified. The Army special operations spokesman told Task & Purpose: “It is our policy to not release the names of our service members because Special Forces Soldiers perform discrete missions upon graduation.”
“Please respect the decision of these soldiers to enter into this profession by protecting their identity to the fullest extent,” the spokesman said, according to the website.
In September, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the “jury is out” on whether women have been successful in combat roles with the U.S. military, according to CNN. The military opened all infantry and combat roles to women starting in January 2016, CNN notes.
“This is a policy I inherited, and so far the cadre is so small we have no data on it. We’re hoping to get data soon,” Mattis said, according to CNN. “Right now, it’s not even dozens, it’s that few.”
But, CNN reports, Mattis said the military will give the program allowing women in combat roles “every opportunity to succeed if it can.”