First woman passes special forces assessment on path to becoming Green Beret
Posted November 14, 2018 9:28 p.m. EST
(CNN) — A female soldier recently completed the Special Forces Assessment and Selection for the first time, making her a candidate to be the first woman to become a Green Beret, according to a US Army Special Operations Command spokesman.
The woman, who has not been named due to the highly sensitive missions undertaken by the Green Berets, will next attempt the Special Forces Qualification Course, USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer said.
The US Army Special Forces, commonly known as the Green Berets, specialize in unconventional warfare and international internal defense and counter-terrorism.
"Recently, a female successfully completed Special Forces Assessment and Selection and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course," Bymer said in a statement.
"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," Bymer added. "It is our policy to not release the names of our service members because Special Forces Soldiers perform discrete missions upon graduation."
The 24-day continuous assessment is an intense test of candidates' mental and physical endurance. Several women have attempted the gender-neutral test since January 2016, when the Department of Defense began accepting women for all armed combat positions, Bymer said.
The female soldier's success comes following remarks by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in September that "the jury is out" on the success of women serving in infantry roles due to an insufficient sample size.
"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.
He added that the department was still trying to "give it every opportunity to succeed if it can."
"Right now, it's not even dozens, it's that few," Mattis said.
In January 2017, the first three women joined the infantry Marines, serving in the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.