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Woman to join Green Berets for first time in US military history

Woman to join Green Berets for first time in US military history

A woman will join the Green Berets after she successfully completed Army Special Forces training, a first for the U.S. military.

The soldier graduated on Thursday in a ceremony for the Special Forces Qualification Course, U.S. Army Special Operations Command confirmed in a statement.

“From here, you will go forward and join the storied formation of the Green Berets where you will do what you are trained to do: challenge assumptions, break down barriers, smash through stereotypes, innovate and achieve the impossible,” command head Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette said during the ceremony.

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The woman’s name was not released due to the sensitive nature of missions that are handled by the Green Berets. 

The New York Times first reported in February that the woman, an enlisted National Guard soldier, was in the final stages of the roughly yearlong Special Forces qualification course, or Q Course, as a Special Forces engineer sergeant. The course wrapped up in June.

The woman is the first to complete the training since the Defense Department began accepting women for its special operations jobs in January 2016.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2013 began to allow women into combat roles, though all jobs were not made available to women until late 2015.

Only one woman had previously completed the Q Course, in the 1980s, but was not allowed to graduate.

A 1981 report later found that the soldier, Capt. Kathleen Wilder, was informed before her graduation that she had failed a field exercise. She filed a sex discrimination complaint, which concluded that she was wrongfully denied graduation from the program.