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Woman qualifies for Naval Special Warfare Command crew for the first time

By Barbara Starr and Ellie Kaufman, CNN

A woman qualified to become a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command crew for the first time in the organization’s history, according to a press release from the US Navy Thursday.

The woman will go on to become an operator on one of the Navy’s special boat crews conducting covert operations, so she cannot be identified by name for security purposes, a US Navy spokesperson said.

The Naval Special Warfare Command, which includes Navy SEALs and Special Boat crews, supports maritime “special operation forces” that “conduct full-spectrum operations” either by themselves or with other military partners, the US Navy said in a release.

In order to qualify for the Naval Special Warfare Command crew, graduates have to complete an intensive “assessment and selection” process, according to the US Navy. About 35% of people who try out for the crew make it to graduation. Seventeen people graduated this year, the US Navy said.


Eighteen women have sought to become members of the Naval Special Warfare’s Combatant-craft crews or a Navy SEAL in the past. Fourteen did not complete the training. Three are still in the pipeline to potentially become Navy SEALs or operators, like the woman who graduated Thursday, a US Navy spokesperson said.

“Becoming the first woman to graduate from a Naval Special Warfare training pipeline is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we are incredibly proud of our teammate,” Rear Admiral H.W. Howard, Commander of the US Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement. “Like her fellow operators, she demonstrated the character, cognitive and leadership attributes required to join our force.”

There are two women who are currently trying to become the first female Navy SEALs, according to the US Navy spokesperson.

After graduation, crew members who qualified will either report to a Special Boat Team or complete follow-on training, the US Navy said in the release.

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