22:16 GMT +315 November 2018
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    Sgt. Bailey Weis

    First Female US Marine Ever Completes Key Special Ops Test

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    Last month, Sgt. Bailey Weis became the first woman to survive Phase Two of a competitive selection process for Marine special operators.

    According to a Sunday report by military.com, Weis completed Phase Two of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command's Assessment and Selection course, a secretive, arduous program that tests candidates' mental and physical abilities to become part of the Marine Raider Regiment, a special operations force of the US Marine Corps. 

    Weis, an aviation maintenance controller with Marine Attack Squadron 542, succeeded through both phases of the selection process on her first try, but was "was not selected to continue on to the Individual Training Course," according to MARSOC spokesperson Maj. Nick Mannweiler, military.com reported Sunday. Since then, she has decided to leave the Corps to pursue other ambitions.

    "Just being a female… I knew I had my weaknesses, like my upper-body and other forms of strength," Weis recently told military.com. "So I started training about seven or eight months before I went to that course."

    "It feels good to be the first one, because that way other females know it's possible to do something like this. If that makes them want to do it more or have more confidence, then I think it's going to break a good barrier — especially for special operations," she added.

    Although four other female Marines have tried to enter the program, only one woman made it through first phase of the Assessment and Selection course, and she didn't have the required scores to move forward.

    Although Weis is disappointed she didn't get to continue to the Individual Training Course, she trusts the people who made the decision. According to Mannweiler, "only 5 percent of initially screened applicants will begin the Individual Training Course."

    "They have a lot of different ways that they analyze everyone and are extremely professional and on-point with everything they're doing… It sucks, but you've got to handle it the right way," Weis added.

    Candidates who participate in MARSOC's Assessment and Selection course also sign non-disclosure agreements that prevent them from sharing any training details, Mannweiler said.

    After almost five years in the Marine Corps, Weis will begin her master's degree program in international relations in December. She eventually aspires to earn a commission in the North Carolina National Guard.

    "[MARSOC] would've been a nice option," she told military.com. "But there are a lot of other opportunities out there." 

    In February, Owen West, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told members of Congress that US Special Operations Command needs to recruit more diverse candidates.

    "We need more candidates without military family histories; we need more cultural diversity; we need more women," he said at the time, military.com reported.

    Weis agreed, stating that female soldiers can bring unique strengths to special-operations forces.

    "There are some cultures where men aren't able to interact with women," she said. "Having women on those missions who meet the same standards that you've got men in special operations meeting, that's a huge asset.

    "Seeing that it's slowly becoming possible is an exciting thing."

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    special forces, training, marine forces, United States
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