The first woman has passed Naval Special Warfare’s selection course. Here’s the grueling 72-hour final test it took to do it.

In July, the primary lady sailor handed a Naval Particular Warfare choice and coaching pipeline to change into a commando.
The sailor will change into a Particular Warfare Combatant-Craft crewman, one of many smallest special-operations profession fields.
Here is the rigorous coaching that sailor went by way of — together with the arduous ultimate take a look at.

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In July, the primary lady sailor handed a Naval Particular Warfare choice and coaching pipeline to change into a commando.

Naval Particular Warfare — composed of Navy SEALs and Particular Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen — is the maritime part of US Particular Operations Command.

The unnamed sailor graduated from the SWCC choice and coaching pipeline and joined the Particular Boat Groups.

‘On time, heading in the right direction, by no means stop’

Hungarian special-operations forces and US Naval Particular Warfare operators practice for infiltration and exfiltration within the Danube River, Could 5, 2021.

US Military/Spc. Therese Prats

SWCCs specialise in maritime direct-action operations; particular reconnaissance; Go to, Board, Search, and Seizure operations; and the insertion and extraction of different special-operations models, similar to SEALs, Military Particular Forces, and Marine Raiders.

The SWCC group is likely one of the smallest special-operations profession fields and consists of lower than 1,000 operators, all of whom are enlisted sailors. Navy SEAL officers maintain the unit’s officer positions.

There are three Particular Boat Groups — SBT 12, 20, 22 — specializing in riverine and blue-water operations, whereas the Naval Particular Warfare Improvement Group (previously often called SEAL Group 6) has a devoted SWCC squadron, known as Grey squadron, that conducts common SWCC missions and maritime counterterrorism operations.

The pipeline

Instructors watch a Fundamental Crewman Coaching scholar show knot-tying expertise throughout water-proficiency coaching at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, August 5, 2008.

US Navy/PO2 Christopher Menzie

The trail to changing into a SWCC will not be simple. About 65% to 75% of those that start it fail the 40-week course of, which is split into 4 main phases.

First comes Naval Particular Warfare Prep, the place SWCC and SEAL candidates go after boot camp to organize for the bodily rigors of choice.

Subsequent is NSW Fundamental Orientation, a three-week course that introduces candidates into the actual evolutions they are going to encounter, similar to soft-sand runs, the impediment course, and open-water swimming.

Third is Fundamental Crewman Coaching, a seven-week choice that’s the equal to the Fundamental Underwater Demolition/SEAL course’s First Part. BCT and First Part are the place the vast majority of candidates stop and finish their desires of becoming a member of Naval Particular Warfare.

Fundamental Crewman Coaching college students carry out a “dump boat” train at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, July 23, 2008.

US Navy

BCT candidates endure evolutions similar to timed runs, timed swims, an impediment course, water rescue, and log bodily coaching. Boat familiarization and operations, similar to day and evening navigation and towing and anchor drills, are additionally an enormous a part of BCT, provided that SWCCs dwell and die by their boats.

BCT is an more and more troublesome course of, with “take a look at gates” that guarantee solely those that can meet the SWCC requirements will graduate.

These take a look at gates are a 3-mile run on onerous sand in lower than 24 minutes, a mile-long ocean swim in lower than 45 minutes, a run by way of the roughly 800- to 1,000-yard impediment course in 20 minutes or much less, and passage of the fundamental water survival and water rescue assessments.

Along with the bodily take a look at gates, candidates should go educational exams on subjects similar to navigation, chart plotting, and boat meeting.

BCT ends with a ultimate crucible that pushes candidates to their absolute limits: the “Tour.”

The Tour

Crewman Qualification Coaching college students hit the surf earlier than medical coaching, in Coronado, September 10, 2008.

US Navy PO2 Christopher Menzie

In the course of the 72-hour evolution often called the Tour, SWCC candidates undergo fixed bodily and coaching evolutions. Along with timed runs, they run in all places, racking up dozens of miles by the tip of the evolution and swimming shut to five miles in whole.

However on the Tour’s core is a sequence of team-building evolutions that take a look at the power and suitability of candidates to work in a close-knit group setting.

“The Tour is a intestine test to make sure that solely those that really need it should graduate. Nevertheless it’s additionally the cherry on the highest — choice is excess of the Tour and, relying on who you ask, [the Tour is] not essentially the toughest half,” a SWCC operator advised Insider.

For a lot of candidates, it is the day-in, day-out grind and the belief that this is not a dash however a marathon that makes them stop.

Watching high-speed recruitment movies from the consolation of 1’s lounge is one factor, however while you’re immersed in frigid water at 2 a.m. and should get up at four a.m. for one more day in hell, solely internal fireplace will get you thru.

A Particular Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman reloads an M2HB .50-caliber machine gun throughout live-fire drills at Ft. Knox’s riverine coaching vary, August 11, 2008.

US Navy/PO1 Kathryn Whittenberger

“By that time, those that will not stop it doesn’t matter what will make it by way of the Tour — except they’re injured, that all the time sucks to lose a superb man from an damage — for them it is simply one other evolution, albeit one from the chilly depths of hell,” the SWCC operator mentioned.

“For individuals who have been questioning themselves, the Tour is the final word take a look at: ‘How a lot do you really need it? Are you keen to endure three days of continuous beating to your dream?'” the operator added.

Ending the Tour and graduating BCT aren’t the tip of the method.

BCT graduates should then go Crewman Qualification Coaching, a 14-week course that focuses on the superior facets of the SWCC occupation, similar to maritime engineering, dealing with heavy weapons, and communications.

Candidates then transfer on to Survival, Escape, Resistance, and Evasion coaching earlier than graduating and becoming a member of an operational group.

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a protection journalist specializing in particular operations, a Hellenic Military veteran (nationwide service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Military HQ), and a Johns Hopkins College graduate.

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