First female soldier passes initial Army Special Forces tests
A female soldier has successfully completed the initial selection process to join U.S. Army Special Forces, marking the first time a woman has made the achievement since the Army began allowing women to pursue special operations jobs nearly three years ago.
Military officials have not publicly identified the soldier by name or rank.
Army Times, which first reported on the development this week, noted that several women have attempted the 24-day initial selection program since it was opened to female applicants in early-2016, but none has previously made it through the next round.
“Recently, a female successfully completed Special Forces Assessment and Selection and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course,” Lt. Col. Loren Bymer told the publication. “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 qualification course, known in military parlance as the “Q Course,” can take nearly as long as two years to complete depending on a soldier’s specialty and assigned foreign language.
This week’s development follows other notable moves by women in the military since the Pentagon lifted restrictions on women serving in direct combat roles in 2015.
Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first two women to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School after the restriction was lifted, although they reportedly did not pass a portion of Ranger training tests necessary to enlist in the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Capt. Griest later went on to become the first female infantry officer in the U.S. Army.
Since the combat exemption was lifted, hundreds of women have joined the infantry community, several have since been assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, with more than a dozen having earned the Ranger tab, according to Army Times.
But Army Special Forces, known as the Green Berets, are among the last Army communities not to have female soldiers assigned.
In June 2017, then-Lt. Col. Megan Brogden became the first woman to assume command of the 3rd Special Forces Group support battalion. She rose to the position despite being an officer who had not previously survived training as a special forces operative.