July 9 (UPI) — An Army National Guard soldier became the first woman to join the Green Berets Thursday, according to U.S. Army Special Operations command.
The soldier, alongside 400 others, received her Special Forces tab and wore her green beret during a COVID-compliant graduation ceremony for the Special Forces Qualification Course, which was presided over by Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette, Commanding General for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
“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,” Beaudette told graduates.
“Thankfully, after today, our Green Beret Men and Women will forever stand in the hearts of free people everywhere,” Beaudette said.
The Army has withheld the soldier’s name and other biographical information for personal and operational security reasons, officials said.
She is the first woman to graduate from Special Forces training since the Pentagon opened all combat jobs to women in 2015, including those in the secretive Special Operations community.
The Green Berets were one of the last assignments in the Army without any women.
In 1980, Capt. Kate Wilder met requirements to graduate from the Army Special Forces Course, but was not permitted to do so.
Wilder eventually received a graduation certificate, but never served in a Special Forces unit and afterward the Army did not allow women to go through the course.
The soldier who graduated this week was initially set to graduate the roughly yearlong course in April, but had to repeat part of the training before continuing on to the final portion.