Navy SEALs are some of the most elite warriors on the planet. The SEALs were founded in 1962 and remain an all-male special operations force.
In 2016, though, things changed, and special operations forces are now open to females. But individuals who seek to bear the name SEAL have to go through a great deal to reach that point.
First of all, SEALs endure some of the most intense training in the world. But before SEAL candidates get a chance to test their mental and physical limits at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California, they go through a boot camp.
The first female applicant to be a SEAL has decided it's not for her, though.
According to CBS News, the officer got through half of her three weeks of pre-training before BUD/S before choosing to quit.
According to Task & Purpose:
Had she completed the three-week course, she would have been eligible for review by the NSW officer community manager and officer selection panel in September and, if selected, received orders by October to report to NSW’s grueling 24-week Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training course.
“No women have entered the full training pipeline just yet,” a Navy official who declined to be identified told Task & Purpose. “She didn't make it to BUD/S.” (NSW public affairs officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment).
The entrant, one of a handful of female applicants who have applied for elite special warfare roles, appears to have exited the training pipeline after completing just half of the command's screening evaluations, sources told Task & Purpose. The first weeks of the program, which began on July 24 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego, include physical training with NSW Group 1 and a “mini” version of the BUD/S challenge that awaits the most qualified candidates.
It's unclear who the female SEAL is. But her story is far from unique since all combat roles became open to women in the military.
The Marine Corps Times detailed how difficult it has been for women to meet the standards for what used to be combat jobs designated for men:
Between Oct. 1 and May 31, 51 female recruits entered boot camp with combat arms classifications, but only 13 of them — or 25 percent — met the physical requirements for those jobs, a test known as the MOS Classification Standard, according to the data, obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Meanwhile, among men who showed up to boot camp with similar contracts to train for combat jobs, the pass rate was about 96 percent. Marine Corps data shows that 7,264 of 7,552 of male recruits who attempted the same physical standards passed.
As far as the SEALs go, even if the female officer would have made it to BUD/S training, her training would have only intensified from there. Just 20 percent of SEAL candidates complete the first phase of BUD/S.