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First woman in US Navy SEAL officer pipeline quits

Navy SEAL Trident. (U.S. Navy)
August 11, 2017

The first potential female U.S. Navy SEAL officer candidate has exited the training pipeline.

She reportedly dropped out voluntarily, multiple Naval Special Warfare Command sources told Task & Purpose.


American Military News previously reported that the the female midshipman would train with other future officers in a course that is prerequisite for officers who want to attend Navy SEAL training.

“This summer, a female midshipman will train with other future officers in a course of instruction that is a prerequisite for officers who want to attend SEAL training,” Lt. Commander Mark Walton of the Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs Office told American Military News last month.

Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs Office did not get back to American Military News before press time on August 11.

“SEAL Officer Assessment & Selection (SOAS) is part of the accession pipeline to become a SEAL and the performance of attendees this summer will be a factor for evaluation at the September SEAL Officer Selection Panel,” Walton had told American Military News.

SOAS is a three-week course.

Task & Purpose reported that, had the female candidate 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.”

An anonymous Navy official told Task & Purpose: “No women have entered the full training pipeline just yet. She didn’t make it to BUD/S.”

There is also currently one female enlisted candidate in the training pipeline for the SWCC team, Walton had told American Military News; he also pointed out it would be “premature” to say the candidate has “started SWCC training.”

The SWCC is a specialized team that often supports Navy SEAls, but they are not Navy SEALs; being on the SWCC team does not mean someone would become a Navy SEAL.

Walton told American Military News that “the accession pipeline includes several screening evaluations and months of standard Navy training” – including the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Officer Candidate School (OCS), Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) and Recruit training at Great Lakes, Illinois – “before [a candidate’s] arrival at Basic Underwater Demolition School training [BUD/S],” a six-month Navy SEAL training course.

“Based on operational security realities, the identities and progress of candidates through the accession pipeline will not be discussed,” Walton said.

Also, last year, one SWCC petty officer notified their chain-of-command that they identified as being transgender, Walton told American Military News.

“Naval Special Warfare adheres to the Department of Defense’s Transgender Policy and has made all resources available to the service member,” he said. “All personal and medical information related to the service member is being withheld for security and privacy concerns. We remain committed to ensuring that all who are qualified and wish to serve have the opportunity to do so.”

Walton pointed out that the Navy has “an obligation to protect the identities of each candidate, since each special operator who goes through training and reports to an operational unit will likely conduct sensitive operations in defense of our nation.”