12:59 PM PDT, July 16, 2021
For the first time in the U.S. Navy’s history, a female sailor has successfully completed the grueling 37-week “assessment and selection” training course to become a Naval Special Warfare combatant-craft crewman, the Navy announced this week.
The female sailor was one of 17 sailors to graduate and receive their pins on Thursday. Only about 35% of the candidates for the crew make it to graduation, the Navy said, CBS News reported.
The officer’s identify was not revealed, which is a standard military policy for special operation forces. However, she was the first of 18 women who have tried out for a job as a SWCC or a SEAL to succeed, the Associated Press reported.
“Becoming the first woman to graduate from a Naval Special Warfare training pipeline is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we are incredibly proud of our teammate,” said Rear Adm. H. W. Howard, commander, U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command in a statement.
The Navy said Naval Special Warfare combatant-craft crew members are the boat operators who are responsible for transporting Navy SEALs and conducting classified missions at sea, CBS reported.
Their training is similar to a Navy SEAL and focuses on covert missions, training in weapons, navigation, radio communication, first aid, engineering, parachuting and special operations tactics.
“She and her fellow graduates have the opportunity to become experts in clandestine special operations, as well as manned and unmanned platforms to deliver distinctive capabilities to our Navy, and the joint force in defense of the nation,” Howard added
News of the sailors’ graduation demonstrates just how far women have come in some of the military’s most difficult and competitive jobs— just five years after all combat posts were opened to them, according to reports.
“Like her fellow operators, she demonstrated the character, cognitive and leadership attributes required to join our force,” Howard said.
Of the 18 women who pursued a Navy special operations job, 14 of the women did not complete the course. Currently, three women are still in the training pipeline. One women is working to become part of the SWCC and two are working to become SEALs, NBC News reported.