A female US National Guard soldier is set to graduate US Army Special Forces training, donning the coveted Green Beret, at the end of the month.
She passed Robin Sage, a unique Unconventional Warfare exercise and the culminating event in the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC; Q course), earlier this week.
Reports suggest she passed on the same standards as her male colleagues but had to recycle at least one phase (although this is fairly common for the men as well).
She will be the first woman to have successfully completed any US special operations training pipeline and join an operational team since all jobs within the military where opened to women.
It is a significant milestone for women across the the US armed forces.
The graduation at the end of the month will definitely not be typical, being held in a closed hangar to conceal her identity. A Special Forces Engineer Sergeant (18C) with the 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group, the female soldier has big hopes of going active duty.
Despite her historic achievement, her welcome may not be as warm as she may like. There are still a number within special operations who do not want to see women in special forces – even though women have worked in a variety of support roles (often deployed alongside SF operators on the ground) in barracks and on operations for many years.
Although she will be the first to officially graduate, she is not the first to work in an operational role.
In the 1970’s, Specialist Katie McBrayer, an intelligence analyst, had served in an operational role with Blue Light, a Special Forces counter-terrorism element existing before the creation of Delta Force. She had not graduated from the Q Course, however.
Captain Kathleen Wilder became the first woman to be eligible for the US Army’s Special Forces in the 1980’s – although selection was somewhat different back then. Captain Wilder attended the Officers Special Forces Course at Fort Bragg but was told just before graduation that she had failed a field exercise and could not be a candidate for the military’s premier Unconventional Warfare unit.
Subsequently, she filed a complaint of gender discrimination. Brigadier General F. Cecil Adams, who investigated it, determined that she had been wrongly denied graduation. However, no reports were found on whether or not she ever graduated.
Black, J. (2020) Exclusive: Woman Makes History by Becoming the First to Graduate Special Forces Training. Available from World Wide: https://sofrep.com/news/exclusive-woman-makes-history-by-becoming-the-first-to-graduate-special-forces-training/. [Accessed: 19 June, 2020].