For the first time in history, two female candidates will be training for special operations posts in the U.S. military that were previously only open to men. While their names are classified, one woman is currently enrolled to become a special warfare combatant crewman (SWCC), and the other is training to become a Navy SEAL. And just so it's clear: Both women will undergo the same training as the men. (Related: This Nine-Year-Old Crushed an Obstacle Course Designed By Navy SEALs)
"They are the first candidates that have made it this far in the process," Lieutenant Commander Mark Walton told NPR in an interview.
This news comes nearly two years after the Pentagon first allowed women to serve in front-line combat positions. But there's no telling whether these candidates will actually make it through the rigorous training required to earn spots in two of the most elite units in the U.S. military.
"It would be premature to speculate as to when we will see the first woman SEAL or SWCC graduate," Walton said. "It may take months and potentially years." The Air Force and Marine Corps have had several female candidates train for special operations posts, but so far none have successfully passed. (Related: I Conquered a Navy SEAL Training Course)
It's insanely difficult to become a Navy SEAL. On average, 73 percent of Navy SEAL candidates don't make it to graduation, according to this Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWC) briefing. But that completion rate is on purpose—the program is designed to congratulate only the toughest of the tough, both mentally and physically.
We believe in these ladies—and have a feeling that seeing a woman in one of the uniforms is on the horizon...and way overdue.