A sailor has become the first female operator to pass a 37-week training course to become a Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC), U.S. Navy officials announced.
“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 III, the SWCC commander.
Members of the SWCC are experts in utilizing a unique combination of capabilities that range from weaponry, communication, first aid, parachuting, and other special operation tactics. They use this large inventory of skills to conduct special operation missions—particularly in support of the Navy SEALs.
The female sailor was among 17 troopers who earned their pins and graduated in the “assessment and selection” process, military officials said in a press release on Thursday.
“Like her fellow operators, she demonstrated the character, cognitive and leadership attributes required to join our force,” Howard said.
“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,” he added.
In 2015, the military opened the door for women to serve in combat roles, with then-Rear Adm. Brian Losey explaining in a memo at the time “there are no insurmountable obstacles” to opening the commando jobs to women as well.
Of the 18 females who have sought such a special operations job, 14 did not complete the course. Three of them are currently still in the training pipeline, one for SWCC and two attempting to become Navy SEALs.
Overall, according to the Navy, only about 35 percent of the candidates who begin SWCC training actually graduate.
Those pursuing a special operations job have to go through a grueling exercise course that starts after a recruit completes the initial boot camp. The training includes a two-month preparatory course, a three-week orientation, and seven weeks where they learn basic navigation and water skill, as well as physical conditioning and safety.
After passing those seven weeks of training, a 72-hour crucible called “The Tour” starts. That event—which tests their grit and physical toughness—is the most frequent point of failure for the candidates.
Those who pass move on to seven weeks of basic crewman training to learn combat, weapons, and communications training, followed by a seven-week intermediate-level seamanship course, and finally survival, evasion, resistance and escape training, and a cultural course.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From NTD News