Woman passed SEAL officer test for the first time

The Navy marked a first earlier this year when a woman completed the assessment and selection of Navy SEAL officers, Military.com has 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 jobs previously closed – to women for women in 2016, no woman has yet participated in the infamous 24-week basic underwater demolition training. / SEAL (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.

US Navy SEAL candidates during Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Training (BUD / S).

(US Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt)

“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.

Applicants for SOAS have graduated from Reserve Officer Training Corps programs at colleges, service academies, and the Navy Officer Candidate School, all before earning 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 female student had entered SOAS – an ROTC student at an American college. She eventually left the process before reaching the selection board, however.

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

Woman passed SEAL officer test for the first time

US Navy SEAL candidates participating in Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Training (BUD / S).

(US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Furey)

“Selection is based on the candidate’s scores on 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 to a candidate in the selection process.

The selection board is made up of senior SEAL officers, said Lawrence, who use 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 New South Wales Selection Board. “

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

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