The only woman in the Navy SEAL training pipeline has dropped out, a Navy special warfare official confirmed Friday. Mark Walton told CNN in June. The woman, whose identity the Navy will not disclose, dropped out of a summer course for officers who want to be selected for the SEALs.
They often support the SEALs but also conduct missions of their own using state-of-the art, high-performance boats.
The female midshipman, identified by Military.com in July as an ROTC junior at an unnamed US college, was the elite SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) program's first female entrant since the Department of Defense lifted restrictions on female applicants for combat arms and special operations forces roles in 2016.
According to CBS News, the officer got through half of her three weeks of pre-training before BUD/S before choosing to quit.
The SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection program she was in is open to Naval Academy midshipmen and Navy ROTC cadets before their senior year.
The first female officer candidate, alongside two female Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program entrants, represented a significant milestone for a service branch that had, until the 2015 Pentagon guidance, excluded women from the SEALs and SWCC community.
The efforts followed demands for equal treatment after thousands of American servicewomen served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including many killed or wounded in service, according to the AP.
The program is the first in-person evaluation of a candidate who desires to become a Navy SEAL officer, and it allows sailors to compete against peers in an equitable training environment.
The three-week-long program in Coronado, across the bay from San Diego, tests participants' physical and psychological strength along with water competency and leadership skills. For example, 18 other women were accepted to the first phase of Army Ranger training with Griest and Have. The final program is a rigorous six-month training course for elite special operators.
The successes and failures of women in the military's most taxing units is part of a steady march toward integration of the country's armed services. Those in special operations are among the most demanding jobs in the military.