First female soldier in Green Beret training fails to complete the course

The first female soldier to participate in the Army’s initial training for the Green Berets — side by side with men — failed to complete the course, The Washington Times has learned. The enlisted soldier is the first woman to attend U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection, the first step toward earning the Special Forces name and the coveted green beret. Since Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opened all combat jobs to women in December, a number of female troops have applied for direct combat roles from which they had long been banned. No woman has achieved the qualifications to become an Army Ranger or Green Beret, a Navy SEAL, a Marine Corps infantry officer or an Air Force parajumper, among other combat specialties. The first woman to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment failed to complete the course this month, The Army Times reported. Three female soldiers have completed the Army’s Ranger School but not the qualification for the special operations Ranger regiment. In July, The Times reported that two female officer candidates had been accepted to attend a Special Forces Assessment and Selection class that begins in the spring. On Sept. 2, the unidentified female enlisted soldier reported to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She passed the physical fitness test and the first half of the grueling, 21-day weeding-out process, during which 10 percent to 15 percent of her classmates dropped out. During the land navigation phase of the training, she either withdrew voluntarily, was medically dropped or was administratively removed for not meeting standards, said three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Pending review boards, she may try again. Historically, only one-third of candidates pass the entire course. “An average class is 300 candidates, with a 10 to 15 percent attrition rate after the physical fitness assessment. The total attrition rate at the end of SFAS is 60 percent,” warfare center spokeswoman Maj. Melody Faulkenberry said in a July interview regarding the first two female officer candidates invited to Special Forces Assessment and Selection. Army officials would not confirm or deny that a female enlisted soldier was enrolled in the training. They would not release her name, rank, military occupational specialty (job) or deployment history. She did attend Airborne school because all Special Forces candidates must be Airborne-qualified. Army Special Operations Command would only release a statement about Special Forces Assessment and Selection. “The Special Forces Assessment and Selection process, and subsequent Special Forces qualification training are very challenging experiences — experiences that can be made more difficult with the additional pressure that often comes with focused media attention on particular individuals due to their race, color, gender, religion, national origin and sexual orientation,” Lt. Col. Robert Bockholt, the command’s public affairs director, said in an email.

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