UK

British Army officer becomes first woman to pass brutal Para course

Capt Rosie Wild Image copyright MOD
Image caption Capt Rosie Wild was given the coveted maroon beret for passing the course

A British Army officer has become the first woman to pass a gruelling Parachute Regiment entry test.

Capt Rosie Wild, 28, was described as a "trailblazer" after passing the P Company course - which many men fail.

Several women have attempted P Company, also known as the All Arms Pre-Parachute Selection (AAPPS), since they were first able to apply in the 1990s.

Physical challenges across the five days include a timed 20-mile endurance march and an aerial assault course.

Capt Wild was awarded the coveted maroon beret of the Parachute Regiment, or the Paras, on Tuesday - though she will not join the regiment.

She will serve in 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery which is attached to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the Army's rapid reaction force.

Brig John Clark, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said he hoped Capt Wild's achievement "will encourage other women to have a go".

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

Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Capt Wild was presented with the sword of honour as a top new recruit at Sandhurst in 2017

The eight tests in the P Company course involve:

  • Marching 10 miles (16km) while carrying a 16kg backpack, in under 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Completing an aerial assault course designed to test a candidate's ability to overcome fear
  • Carrying a 60kg telegraph pole as a team of eight soldiers over 1.9miles (3.1km)
  • Running two miles (3.2km) with a backpack and rifle, within 18 minutes
  • Completing a 2.2-mile steeplechase - a cross-country run followed by an assault course
  • "Milling" - a boxing contest in which soldiers have points deducted for dodging or blocking punches
  • Marching 20 miles (32km) with a backpack and rifle, within four hours and 10 minutes
  • Carrying a 79kg stretcher for more than four miles (8km) as part of a team of 16 soldiers

Capt Wild, who is also a competitive triathlete, joined the Army three years ago.

In 2017 she was presented with the sword of honour at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, given to the best cadet of the intake.

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