The elite Green Berets regiment has appointed a woman to join its ranks for the first time in its 68-year history.
An enlisted soldier and a member of the National Guard, the woman, who has not been named, completed her training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Women have served in special operations for some years.
However, this is the first time a female has graduated the gruelling year-long special forces qualification course.
She is the first woman to earn this distinction since the Pentagon opened all combat roles to women in 2016.
In doing so she had to pass a 24-day screening programme, before completing an array of tasks, including marching with heavy combat gear and demonstrating her competence at land navigation.
The woman was one of around 400 soldiers to be formally enrolled in the US Army’s Special Forces at a ceremony on Thursday.
She is understood to be one of three who have been going through the course.
Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette, commander of Army Special Operations Command, who presided over the ceremony, hailed the woman’s achievement.
“From here, you will go forward and join the storied formation of the Green Berets where you will do what you are trained to do: challenge assumptions, break down barriers, smash through stereotypes, innovate, and achieve the impossible,” she said.
In all, there are more than 6,700 army Green Berets. Usually working in 12-strong teams, they are primarily used in specialised combat and counter-terrorism operations.
They are also used for training other countries’ special forces. Many have been deployed in Afghanistan working with government forces against the Taliban.
The appointment of a woman to the ranks of the Green Berets is the latest chapter in the gradual opening up of what had hitherto been male preserves in the US military.
More than 700 are now understood to be in jobs which were previously restricted.
They include a woman who joined the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment in 2017.
It is estimated that more than a dozen others have completed the course at the regiment’s training school in Georgia.