A female sailor has graduated from the grueling 37-week Naval Special Warfare (NSW) training program for the first time in the history of the U.S. Navy.
The Navy said Thursday that the woman was among 17 graduates who completed the NSW assessment and selection pipeline to become Special Warfare combatant-craft crewmen (SWCC).
The SWCC is an “elite defense force” of sailors who transport Navy SEALs to and from classified locations around the world, according to the Navy.
“SWCC are experts in covert insertion and extraction, utilizing a unique combination of capabilities with weapons, navigation, radio communication, first aid, engineering, parachuting, and special operations tactics,” the Navy said.
Officials say graduates of any NSW assessment and selection pipeline have met rigorous standards to enter their chosen profession, demonstrating they possess the character, cognitive, and leadership attributes required to join the force.
Historically, the Navy says only about 35% of SWCC candidates make it to graduation.
As is protocol with special operations forces, the Navy isn’t identifying the female graduate or others who completed the program.
“Becoming the first woman to graduate from a Naval Special Warfare training pipeline is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we are incredibly proud of our teammate,” said Rear Adm. H. W. Howard, commander, U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. “Like her fellow operators, she demonstrated the character, cognitive, and leadership attributes required to join our force.”
Following graduation, the newly minted SWCCs will report to either a “special boat team” or follow-on training, the Navy said.
The assessment of the sailors who make up the Navy SEALs and SWCC forces are initially assessed at the naval amphibious base in Coronado, California.