First female SEAL candidates could begin training by August

Navy SEAL students during a "Hell Week" surf drill. (Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Logsdon/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The first female Navy SEAL candidates could begin pre-training as early as mid-May, according to time lines released Thursday by the Defense Department. Those women could then start the SEAL training course in Coronado in late August and, if they passed, be assigned to SEAL teams as early as October 2017. Representatives for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who in December announced that the Pentagon would be opening all combat jobs to women, said that implementation plans for allowing women in previously closed combat jobs had been approved for all of America’s armed services. The Marine Corps, many members of which publicly opposed the announcement to integrate women, will start sending female ground combat candidates to boot camp as early as April.

As women begin integrating infantry units, the military’s goal is to assign two or more junior enlisted female Marines together to the same unit. Women will still be assigned by themselves, however, since at least two female leaders should be present in the unit prior to her arrival. A SEAL spokesman warned that the dates outlined in the plan are a best-case scenario, and that the process is likely to take months or even years.

Female SEAL candidates are expected to be housed on separate floors for the bulk of their training, but physical standards for the course will remain gender neutral. The first applications from female Navy officers who hope to become SEALs were due March 4.

Read the full story at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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