In a move that is bound to upset the applecart, the first woman has passed Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) at the Special Warfare Center and School it has been announced. Both the Army Times and the Fayetteville Observer have posted articles stating such and the PAO of USASOC LTC Loren Bymer has posted that security concerns for the soldiers in the command preclude any names of the individuals in the course.
“It is our policy to not release the names of our service members because Special Forces soldiers perform discrete missions upon graduation,” said Bymer.
“Recently, a female successfully completed Special Forces Assessment and Selection and was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course, 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,” Bymer added.
This groundbreaking development won’t be looked upon as good news with the Special Forces veterans. When it was announced that all Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) were now open to women, the reaction of SF troops both active and retired was decidedly against women joining the ranks. If anything, this will further push the men farther against the idea of women becoming members of the Regiment.
When the news broke around 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, we immediately began to scan social media to gauge the reaction and it was about what we expected. Most of the comments centered around that this case was probably more about the lowering of the standards to allow a woman in, in a move of being meeting a quota, than the fact that she actually earned a spot in Selection.
We don’t know any details of the course nor any of the particulars and to rush to judgment at this point isn’t fair to the cadre at SFAS or SWC. And especially to the candidate herself.
Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) is the first step for a prospective candidate to earn the Green Beret and become a member of the Special Forces Regiment. It is considered one of the most grueling selection processes in the U.S. military. Upon successful completion of the Selection course, a candidate is then given a class date for the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC).
Bymer said the selection process involves a continual assessment of each candidate by professional cadre throughout a 24-day rigorous test of mental and physical stamina.
Since SFAS was opened to women several have attempted it but haven’t advanced very far. Also among the rumor mills but as of yet have not been confirmed was that the woman attempted SFAS a year ago and was a non-select but came back to try it again.
Special Forces is the military’s premier unconventional warfare force. Founded in 1952 by Colonel Aaron Bank, he was an OSS (Office of Strategic Services) operative from World War II. OSS was the forerunner of both SF and CIA.
Unconventional Warfare is a very difficult one to master and it takes intense training as both a warrior with the abilities of a diplomat. The founder of OSS General William “Wild Bill” Donovan when asked about the perfect OSS candidate stated, he wanted “PhDs who could win a bar fight.”
We don’t know if the woman who passed SFAS is an officer or an enlisted woman. Regardless, if and when she passes the SFQC things will be very tough for her. Special Forces is a tough place for anyone to break into. New team members will be welcomed on a team but under a microscope. SF guys are a discriminating lot…for weakness.
Guys on A-Teams don’t care what color an operator is, what he calls God or if he even believes in one, what political denomination he is. What they care about is getting the job done and done right. But SF is a Type-A personality-driven place. The vast majority don’t believe women can do the job and a female operator, especially if she is an NCO is going to have a really tough time winning over the room.
If she’s an officer, it will open up other issues. In many of the places that Special Forces operate in the world are the traditional male-dominated societies. Women, especially in the Middle East are not considered equals with men and a woman detachment commander will have a hard time making rapport with our host nation allies in some of these places.
I’ve received a couple of texts already today asking me if I like the idea of women in Special Forces and my answers didn’t exactly fit any of the answers they were looking for. I always ask how many women did the Romans have in their Legions? (Sorry, my forefathers were the ultimate male chauvinists) While I personally don’t care for the idea of women in Special Operations units for the reasons listed above and others, I really don’t have a problem with them serving as long as the standards are kept the same. But the bottom line is this; it is a moot point now. Women are allowed in any branch and any MOS, so all the hand-wringing is a waste of time. That part is over.
As to the standards, every effort has to be made to maintain the same standards that Special Forces has always had. Let the SJWs go find another cause to beat their drum for. Putting someone in a position to get people possibly killed for the point of being “stylish” is ridiculous. And if the SWC has a different set of standards for one group of candidates than another is a way to ruin the Regiment.
Again we haven’t seen anything that says that the standards were altered, despite what the rumor mill is already reporting. We’ll have to wait and see. One thing is for sure…things certainly changed over the past 20 hours.
“May you live in interesting times…”
Photo: US Army