Multiple Naval Special Warfare Command sources have confirmed that the first female SEAL officer applicant has chosen to leave the training pipeline voluntarily. The midshipman was identified as a ROTC junior from an unnamed college in the US and became the first woman to join the SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) program since gender-based restrictions were lifted in 2016.
As reported by Task and Purpose, the female applicant was set to participate in the initial three-week course to become eligible for review by the selection panel in September, but only made it through part of the process. If she completed the program and was then selected to continue, she would have proceeded to the 24-week Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training course.
A Navy official stated that “no women have entered the full training pipeline just yet,” adding, “[The female applicant] didn’t make it to BUD/S.”
Sources suggest that the woman completed just half of the screening evaluations before exiting the program which began on July 24. The initial training includes various physical components as well as a “mini” version of the BUD/S experience.
The female applicant, along with two other women applicants to the Special Warfare Combatant – Craft Crewman (SWCC) programs mark major milestones for the Navy, as female candidates were previously excluded from pursuing positions with the SEALs and SWCC.
Training to be a Navy SEAL is known to be grueling, with 75 percent of all candidates dropping out during the process.
Discussing the attempt, the Navy official said, “People try and fail on their own merits, and we respect the individual for the risk.” He went on to say, “And, whatever happens, they’re doing it to serve and protect their country.”