Woman passed SEAL officer test for the first time this year

  • For the first time, a woman completed the rigorous Navy SEAL, or SOAS, officer assessment and selection process in September.
  • Although she did not win a SEAL ticket, she is the first woman to complete the process, which was once called “mini-BUD / S,” a nod to her difficult nature.
  • The military opened SEAL homes to women in 2016, and although five women had been in the SOAS pipeline, none had made it through the grueling two-week process until this year.
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The Marine scored a first earlier this year when a woman finished Navy Seal assessment and selection of officers, Military.com learned.

At the Defense Advisory Committee’s quarterly meeting on Women in the Service in December, a Navy official revealed that the woman reached the end of the physically and mentally demanding two-week SOAS process in September. Ultimately, however, she was not selected for a SEAL contract, officials said.

While the military officially opened SEAL housing – and all other previously closed jobs – to women in 2016, no woman has yet participated in the infamous 24-week Basic / SEAL Underwater Demolition training. (BUD / S). If the woman had been selected for a SEAL contract at the end of SOAS, she would have been the first to reach BUD / S.

Naval Special Warfare spokesperson Captain Tamara Lawrence said the candidate had not listed the SEALs as her premier fighting community. She was ranked in her top pick, Lawrence said.

“We are not discussing the details of a candidate’s non-selection so that it does not interfere with his successful service in other combatant communities,” she said.

SOAS candidates are drawn from College Reserve Officer Training Corps programs, service academies, and the Marine School for Officer Candidates, all before obtaining their first contract in the Navy. Lawrence declined to elaborate on the route the recent candidate had taken, fearing it would reveal her identity.

Lt. Grace Olechowski, a force integration officer with Naval Special Warfare Command, said five women have been invited to participate in SOAS since the pipeline was opened to women. Three had entered SOAS to date, but only one had completed assessment and selection.

Military.com announced in 2017 that a first student entered SOAS – a ROTC student in an American college. She finally quit the process before reaching the selection panel, however.

Lawrence said the SEAL agent selection process was candidate neutral, meaning the selection board does not know the candidates’ gender or other personal information.

“The selection is based on the candidate’s scores during the two-week SOAS assessment,” she said. “This process ensures that each candidate has a fair and equal opportunity based on the standards of special naval warfare.”

It is also possible that not listing SEALs as the primary career choice would be unfavorable for a candidate in the selection process.

The selection board is made up of senior SEAL officers, said Lawrence, who uses SOAS assessment data as well as resume information to select “the most competitive candidates.”

About 180 candidates are selected each year to attend the assessment and selection of SEAL officers, she said; on average, the best 85 candidates are chosen to continue the SEAL training. There are four two-week SOAS blocks held each year.

Although SOAS precedes the award of a final SEAL contract, it is not for the faint of heart. It used to be called “mini-BUD / S” in a nod to its grueling and rigorous nature.

“Physical stress and sleep deprivation are applied to reveal authentic character traits,” the Navy said on its official Naval Special Warfare recruiting site. “Each candidate’s performance and interview data is meticulously documented and presented to the NSW Selection Board. “

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