First Woman Passes Army Special Forces Selection Process

For the first time, a female U.S. soldier has made it through the physically and mentally challenging selection process required for entering the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course.

The 24-day Special Forces Assessment and Selection was reserved for men only until the Pentagon opened all combat arms jobs to women in January 2016 at the order of outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

“Since that time, several females have attempted SFAS which consists of a continual assessment of each candidate by professional cadre throughout a 24-day rigorous test of mental and physical stamina,” Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for Army Special Operations Command, told Military.com in a statement today.

The news was first reported by the Fayetteville Observer.

“Recently, a female successfully completed Special Forces Assessment and Selection and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course,” Bymer said. “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 would not identify the woman.

“It is our policy to not release the names of our service members because Special Forces Soldiers perform discrete missions upon graduation,” he said.

Despite her accomplishment, her challenge is only beginning, Bymer said, explaining that the qualification course can take up to 24 months, depending on the candidate’s military occupational specialty.

The course is currently being redesigned, Bymer said, but traditionally it involves training in small unit tactics and military occupational specialty skills as well as language and culture before the culminating exercise known as Robin Sage — an ordeal that forces students to apply skills in guerilla warfare, infiltration and exfiltration techniques, unconventional warfare mission analysis and planning, rapport building and supporting a resistance movement.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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