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The Navy’s First Female SEAL Officer Applicant Just Dropped Out
The woman on track to become the first female Navy SEAL officer has voluntarily exited the training pipeline, multiple Naval Special Warfare Command sources have confirmed to Task & Purpose.
The female midshipman, identified by Military.com in July as a ROTC junior at an unnamed U.S. college, was the elite SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) program’s first female entrant since the Department of Defense lifted restrictions on female applicants for combat arms and special operations forces roles in 2016.
Had she 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.
“No women have entered the full training pipeline just yet,” a Navy official who declined to be identified told Task & Purpose. “She didn’t make it to BUD/S.” (NSW public affairs officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment).
The entrant, one of a handful of female applicants who have applied for elite special warfare roles, appears to have exited the training pipeline after completing just half of the command’s screening evaluations, sources told Task & Purpose. The first weeks of the program, which began on July 24 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego, include physical training with NSW Group 1 and a “mini” version of the BUD/S challenge that awaits the most qualified candidates.
The news of the entrant’s departure was first made public by Josh Cotton, a former Navy personnel research psychologist who worked for the Institute for Selection and Classification from 2009 until 2014. Cotton’s tenure with the institute focused on helping the branch screen sailors for various jobs; during his last 3.5 years with the ISC, Cotton worked with the NSWC helping officials refine screening evaluations like SOAS, BUD/S, and Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command, according to a DoD biography.
The first female officer candidate, alongside two female Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program entrants, represented a significant milestone for a service branch that had, until the 2015 Pentagon guidance, excluded women from the SEALs and SWCC community.
Navy SEAL training is infamously challenging, with a 75% dropout rate for those who even make it to BUD/S, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. And according to the Navy official, NSWC is less concerned with the candidate’s failure and more concerned with her future service.
“People try and fail on their own merits, and we respect the individual for the risk,” he added. “And whatever happens, they’re doing it to serve and protect their country.”
Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.
On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.
Fatal training accidents are on the rise. Now the families of the fallen are pushing lawmakers to do something about it
CAMP PENDLETON — Susan and Michael McDowell attended a memorial in June for their son, 1st Lt. Conor McDowell. Kathleen Isabel Bourque, the love of Conor's life, joined them. None of them had anticipated what they would be going through.
Conor, the McDowells' only child, was killed during a vehicle rollover accident in the Las Pulgas area of Camp Pendleton during routine Marine training on May 9. He was 24.
Just weeks before that emotional ceremony, Alexandrina Braica, her husband and five children attended a similar memorial at the same military base, this to honor Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica, a member of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion who also was killed in a rollover accident, April 13, at age 29.
Braica, of Sacramento, was married and had a 4 1/2-month-old son.
"To see the love they had for Josh and to see the respect and appreciation was very emotional," Alexandrina Braica said of the battalion. "They spoke very highly of him and what a great leader he was. One of his commanders said, 'He was already the man he was because of the way he was raised.' As parents, we were given some credit."
While the tributes helped the McDowells and Braicas process their grief, the families remain unclear about what caused the training fatalities. They expected their sons eventually would deploy and put their lives at risk, but they didn't expect either would die while training on base.
"We're all still in denial, 'Did this really happen? Is he really gone?' Braica said. "When I got the phone call, Josh was not on my mind. That's why we were at peace. He was always in training and I never felt that it would happen at Camp Pendleton."
North Korea threatens to resume nuclear weapons and ICBM tests if US-South Korea military exercises proceed
SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States looks set to break a promise not to hold military exercises with South Korea, putting talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons at risk, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.
Customs and Border Patrol denied a Marine vet entry into the US for his a scheduled citizenship interview
A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.
Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.