Soldier is first woman in history to clear hurdle to becoming a Green Beret

To become a Green Beret and join an elite group within the U.S. Army Special Forces, candidates undergo a round of testing that is arduous and intense, and lasts a full 24 hours. And for the first time ever, a woman has conquered that gauntlet.

Former Air Force pilot MJ Hegar, second from right, sued the Pentagon to allow women in combat positions. In 2013, the Combat Exclusion Policy was repealed. (Photo: MJ Hegar/Makers)

The woman, who has not yet been named “due to high sensitive missions undertaken by the Green Berets,” will now proceed to the Special Forces Qualification Course — a process that can take up to two years to complete, U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Loren Bymer told CNN. If she makes it through the final round, she’ll become the first woman to become a Green Beret, a division in the U.S. Army Special Forces that specializes in unconventional warfare and international defense and counterterrorism.

“We’re proud of all the candidates who attended and were selected to continue into the qualification course in hopes of earning their Green Beret,” said Bymer. 

The details about what the assessment entails are kept under wraps. But “the fact the woman passed the Special Forces Assessment is a major achievement,” Jeff Schogol wrote in Task & Purpose, an online military magazine.

Until two years ago, the Special Forces wasn’t even open to women. In January 2016, the Department of Defense started accepting female candidates for Special Operations for the first time in history following the repeal of the Combat Exclusion Policy that had prohibited women from fighting on the battlefront.

Thanks to veteran MJ Hegar, who was one of the lead plaintiffs fighting for women’s right to fight for their country, more than 200,000 combat positions opened up to women in the military.

“Women being allowed to compete for these positions is a big step,” Hegar tells Makers. “Any woman who can hack it should be given the opportunity to serve her country in the way that her heart and her soul is telling her to, just like the men.”

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