Another female candidate has quietly made it through most of the first phase of the assessment and selection process of Marine Corps Special Operations Command in a quest to become the first female MARSOC Raider.
A 25-year-old female sergeant has almost completed the 21-day first phase of A&S after beginning the course Jan. 16, MARSOC spokesman Maj. Nicholas Mannweiler confirmed to Military.com.
The sergeant, who comes from the food specialist military occupational specialty, is on her first attempt through the phase.
If she makes it to the end of the course, which wraps up the week of Feb. 5, with a high enough aggregate academic and physical training score, she will be the first woman to enter the challenging and secretive second phase of MARSOC assessment and selection.
But that is not a given. Mannweiler said it's expected that a number of candidates will leave the selection pipeline at the phase’s conclusion with insufficient scores.
If she does make it through, the second phase of A&S is set to begin Feb. 10.
To date, one other woman has made it to the end of the first phase of A&S: a corporal from an administrative MOS, whose identity has not been made public to protect her privacy. While she reached the end of the course in August 2016, her scores were not high enough to continue.
Military.com reported last year that she planned to repeat the course; Mannweiler confirmed this week that she is still pursuing a second attempt in the summer timeframe.
"A female candidate who previously attempted A&S has communicated interest in attempting Phase 1 again to our recruiting teams," he said. "Her next opportunity, if she meets time in grade and time in service ceilings, would be the next A&S later this year."
A third female candidate, a staff sergeant from an administrative background, also attempted A&S in August 2016 but exited the course after a day after failing to complete the time requirement on a ruck march.
During the first phase of A&S, Marines, who must meet specific physical and aptitude prerequisites, must demonstrate that they can complete a 12-mile march carrying a pack weighing more than 45 pounds within three hours; swim 300 meters while in combat uniform; and pass a variety of classroom exercises.
While a number of women have graduated the Army's Ranger school, the Army has yet to graduate the first female Green Beret, the Navy the first SEAL, or the Air Force the first Tactical Air Control Party airman.
MARSOC officials have said the command has taken an aggressive approach to recruiting women, with recruiters reaching out directly to eligible female candidates to inform them of the opportunity.
Editor's Note: The beginning and end dates of the current assessment and selection phase have been updated. The original information provided to Military.com was incorrect.