Story at a glance
- The enlisted National Guard soldier is in the final stages of the course to become a Special Forces engineer sergeant.
- Military officials told The New York Times candidates rarely fail the course at this stage of the program.
- At least one other female soldier is working through a longer qualification course.
The U.S. Army could have a woman in the Green Berets in the coming weeks, as an enlisted female National Guard soldier is in the final stages of training in the highly selective qualification course, according to The New York Times.
The Times cites military officials who say the woman’s graduation from the nearly yearlong course as a Special Forces engineer sergeant is just about guaranteed, as few soldiers fail the course at this stage, or withdraw due to injuries.
The female soldier is one of only a few women who have passed a 24-day assessment program that screens potential Green Berets before the course. The program assesses fundamental military skills like land navigation and marching with heavy combat gear. Special Forces supervisors then decide if the candidates continue on to the “Q Course.”
A second female soldier has reportedly also passed the pre-assessment and is currently working through a longer “Q Course” process to potentially become a Special Forces medical sergeant.
Before combat jobs were opened up to women just four years ago, Capt. Kate Wilder passed the Special Forces Officer Course in 1980, earning the right to wear the Green Beret. She retired from the military in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
The Pentagon officially opened combat roles to women in 2016. As a result, more than 700 women have served in combat roles that were previously restricted, including in 2017, when a woman was accepted into the 75th Ranger Regiment. More than a dozen women have graduated from the Army’s Ranger school, including Capt. Kristen M. Griest, who became the first female infantry officer, according to the Times.
Military officials would not release any information on the female soldiers currently in the “Q Course,” due to security concerns. There’s no word on exactly when the National Guard soldier is expected to graduate.
This story has been updated to include the story of Kate Wilder