News & Opinion | July 16, 2021 1:56 pm

Elite Navy Training Program Has Its First Female Graduate

Another milestone for the military

Battleship
A landmark moment for the US Navy.
Michael Afonso/Unsplash

In December 2015, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that a longstanding ban on women in combat roles in the US military would come to an end. Now, five years later, that’s led to a significant milestone — the same training program that produces Navy SEALs has its first female graduate.

Writing at The New York Times, Mike Ives has more details on this landmark event. The woman, whose name was not released due to military policy, was one of 17 to graduate in the most recent class of special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, a role which specializes in covert insertion and extraction. According to the article, she will be part of a boat team that conducts missions and transports Navy SEALs. Only 35% of SWCC candidates are able to successfully graduate from the training program.

“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,” Rear Adm. H. W. Howard III, the commander of US Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement. He went on to praise her “character, cognitive and leadership attributes.”

As Ives notes at the Times, this week’s milestone is part of a growing trend of women in higher-profile roles in the military — and an impressive step forward.