According to an August 6th report from LinkedIn, the first female attempting to enter the Navy’s elite Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training pipeline dropped on request (DOR’d) from the pre-BUD/S selection course known as SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS), thus ending her attempt to become a Navy SEAL. That would seem to indicate that for now, at least, there remains no prospective female SEAL training candidates, either enlisted or officer. Their arrival cannot be too far in the future, though.
So what do we know at this point? According to earlier reports, the female prospect attempting to enter BUD/S training was a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) midshipman from an unidentified U.S. university. She was selected to go to SOAS, meaning that she applied for and was given the chance to try out for BUD/S, as an officer. Backing up a bit, she graduated from high school, and entered college with an NROTC scholarship, putting her on track to become a Naval officer upon graduation from college. Following completion of her junior year, she applied to go to SOAS because she presumably wanted to attend BUD/S training. She was accepted into SOAS, as the first female to reach that goal.
SOAS — formerly called “Mini-BUD/S” — is where midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and NROTC programs from around the country vie to be selected to attend BUD/S. It is a three-week tryout to go to BUD/S, for future Naval officers. You must complete it to be eligible for BUD/S, and even then, completing it does not guarantee you a spot at BUD/S. It is a requirement to complete it, but not sufficient in and of itself. This author, for example, completed the precursor to SOAS, Mini-BUD/S, prior to starting BUD/S. I did so after my junior year in college, completed it, and then applied for and was accepted to BUD/S during my senior year. I then started BUD/S upon graduation from college.
The unidentified female candidate started SOAS on July 24th of this year, according to the author of the report on LinkedIn, Josh Cotton, Ph.D., and quit the course on August 2nd. Cotton advised Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) on the creation of the SOAS course, as well as the Naval Special Warfare Women In Service Research group (NSW-WISR), the “cross-functional team tasked with evaluating the viability and impact of removing the restrictions barring women from applying to become Navy SEALs and Navy SWCCs.” He thus likely has authoritative access to this information on the female candidate.
So what is next? All this means, for now, is that the first female SEAL — whether officer or enlisted — is still a ways off. She has to be accepted into SOAS, if an officer, make it through that selection process, then be accepted into BUD/S, and make it through that as well. Then she has to complete SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) after BUD/S. On the enlisted side, a female candidate must get through the selection process at Navy Boot Camp, then make it on to BUD/S, then make it through BUD/S, then also get through SQT.
In other words, there is still a long way to go before we see our first female Navy SEAL. Make no mistake, though, it is coming. Somewhere out there is a woman chomping at the bit to prove to herself and everyone else that she can do it, that she can conquer BUD/S and all the rest, and become the first woman SEAL. I would be surprised if it is more than just a few years away.
(Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia)