Up until 2016, females weren’t allowed to become part of special forces units within the military, including the Navy SEALs. Yet, even with the ban lifted, no female has successfully completed Navy SEAL training.
Granted, becoming a Navy SEAL is a grueling process and generally, out of 1,000 trainees, only about 200 sailors make the cut. It’s only a matter of time before one of those recruits is a woman.
Women in the Military
The history of women in the military goes back to 1917, when Loretta Walsh enlisted as a woman, but it wasn’t until 1976 that the first group of female recruits were admitted into a U.S. military academy.
As for the special forces, the female ban was lifted in 2016 and two women have since become Army Rangers, making them the first female soldiers of a special forces unit. Just as arduous as Navy SEAL training, the fact that two females have the aptitude and skill to become Rangers begs the assumption that a woman can become a SEAL as well. It’s just a matter of when.
The concern of women joining the military in the first place was the assertion that allowing females to serve would weaken the military and provide unnecessary distractions. These were the same reasons why it’s taken so long to allow women in the special forces. Yet, with a push for equality, the ban was eventually overturned.
Navy SEAL Training
SEAL training is undeniably intense. A few women have attempted the requirements but dropped out within the first few months. Still, it’s incredibly common, regardless of your gender, to pull out of Navy SEAL training right in the beginning.
An unidentified woman joined the SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection Program but removed herself before starting the grueling six-month SEAL tryout course. The three-week program gives applicants a taste of life as a SEAL, allowing recruits to decide if they’d like to continue. Many don’t.
This woman left the program about halfway through. But even of those who make it through the program and attempt the half-year SEAL training process, 75% of them opt out in the first month.
The Future of Females in Special Ops
In general, the Special Ops teams have had a hard time recruiting soldiers, male or female. People seem less and less interested in the more intense military roles and the recruitment offices for the special forces weren’t able to meet their quota in 2017.
Although there isn’t confirmation of any women currently in the Navy SEAL training pipeline, there is talk of a woman joining Special Warfare – Craft Crewman (SWCC), another job previously banned for women, who serve to assist the Navy SEALs.
Lifting the ban on women entering the special forces seems to be an important step toward fully integrating the military. Even though there haven’t been as many female recruits as one might have hoped, there’s a small percentage of women in the military as a whole. Eventually, this percentage should trickle down into the Navy SEALs and we’ll see the first female SEAL in history.