Closing The Gap

British officer becomes first woman to pass grueling entry test for elite Army unit

Capt. Rosie Wild

Capt. Rosie Wild, an officer in the British Army, has become the first woman to pass the All Arms Pre Parachute Selection course, a brutal entry fitness test.

Women have been able to undertake the "P-company" course since the mid-1990s and Brig. John Clark said several had attempted this feat but Wild was the first to pass.

According to airborne forces archive site ParaData, the entry test into the Parachute Regiment is made up of the following eight challenges:

  • Marching 10 miles within 1 hour and 50 minutes while carrying a 16kg backpack.
  • Completing the "Trainasium" which is an aerial assault course meant to test a soldier's ability to overcome fear.
  • A log race, where a team of eight carry a 60kg pole over nearly two miles.
  • Completing a two-mile steeplechase, which includes a cross-country run and an assault course, within 19 minutes.
  • Running two miles with a 16kg backpack and rifle, within 18 minutes.
  • An endurance march of 20 miles with a 16kg backpack and rifle, within four and a half hours.
  • Teams of 16 soldiers carry a 79kg stretcher over five miles but no more than four people can carry the stretcher at once.
  • "Milling" which is similar to boxing where soldiers partake in one minute of "controlled physical aggression" against an opponent. Points are deducted for blocking or dodging punches.

Clark, commander of the 16 Air Assault Brigade, called Wild a "trailblazer" and hoped that her achievement would encourage more women to try the P-company test.

"A more representative force will only make us stronger," he added.

Wild is set to join the 7 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, which provides offensive fire support to the 16 Air Assault Brigade. She will be in a parachute role, serving alongside the Parachute Regiment and supporting the British Army's Air Assault Task Force, but Wild will not be a Parachute Regiment soldier.

Chris Collier, a former British Army captain involved in selection, also offered his congratulations to Wild over Twitter.

Collier said that he had awarded 1,266 maroon berets — awarded after passing the P-company course — during his time in the Army, all to men, but said this was "not because women couldn't pass, but because they simply didn't give it a go."

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