After 55 Years, Navy Gets Its First Woman SEAL Applicant

Two women are applying for the Navy's most elite combat roles, including the SEALs.

Two women will make history as the Navy’s first female candidates competing for some of the military branch’s most elite combat roles, Military.com reported this week

According to the site, which operates independently from the U.S. armed forces, one woman was present in boot camp applying for the Navy’s all-enlisted Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman program. The site added that a junior in a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at an undisclosed college is on track for applying to become a SEAL officer.

NPR reported that the Navy would not disclose the identities of the applicants, citing security considerations, but confirmed that the two women are the first female candidates to make it this far in the process. 

It’s been almost 20 months since the Pentagon opened all combat roles within the U.S. military to women. 

At the time of the Pentagon’s historic announcement, the Navy was ahead of other military branches in terms of integrating women into key positions. In 2010, the Navy lifted its ban on female submarine crew members. Within a year, the first female officers started serving aboard Ohio-class subs. By early 2016, women reported for duty to the U.S.S. Michigan, a guided missile submarine.

The late President John F. Kennedy founded Navy SEAL teams in 1962, though the Navy’s use of special operators date back to World War II. 

The SEAL officer candidate will embark on a three-week instruction course over the summer, followed by officer selection, which begins Oct. 1. The women will undergo the same training as men do, without exception.