Name: Hunter Troop (2014-Present)
Feat: World's first all-female, elite special operations unit
In 2014, 317 candidates tried out for an elite military unit. Of those 317 candidates, only 13 made it through the entire program - an attrition rate of 96%. Any guesses as to what elite unit this is? If you thought it was the SEALs or Green Berets, those are both solid answers. But not the right ones. This unit is the first of its kind in the world and one that you have almost certainly never heard of — The Jergertroppen or “Hunter Troop”. What makes it special? It’s the only special operations unit in the modern world that is made up entirely of women.
During the Global War on Terror, Norway realized that it had a problem. Due to cultural obstacles, male soldiers were unable to speak with Afghan women. Since women are half the population that means you can only collect half of the intel. Definitely a problem. Norway’s response was to establish a military unit that had the ability to interact with women plus the operational capabilities of other elite units. Enter the Jergertroppen.
So Norway decides that they’re going to create the world’s first all-female special operations unit. Unreal, but what will the training look like? What will the standards be? This will surprise many of you, but both training and standards are almost identical to those for male spec ops.
Just to qualify for the Jegertroppen, applicants have to run 4 miles in 60 pounds of military gear in under 52 minutes. That’s only 3 minutes more than the 49 minute cutoff for male applicants.
To give you an idea of how legit the physical requirements for graduating Jegertroppen training are, we've put them next to the baseline requirements for earning the opportunity to try out for the SEALs. As you can see, Jegertroppen training is no joke.
|6 pull-ups||10 pull-ups|
|50 sit-ups in 2 minutes||50 sit-ups in 2 minutes|
|40 push-ups in 2 minutes||50 push-ups in 2 minutes|
|1.9 mile run <13 min (6:50/mile)||1.5 mile run <10.5 min (7:00/mile)|
|400m swim <11 min (2:45/100m)||500m swim <12.5 min (2:30/100m)|
In addition to proving themselves physically, candidates must also prove themselves mentally. Their year-long block of training includes all the same hardships as male Special Forces training — food deprivation, conducting operations on little to no sleep, long marches through the snow. The only major difference between the two trainings is that male soldiers carry a minimum 88 pound pack while female soldiers’ minimum is 60 pounds. However, one trainee noted that her gear on long marches weighed over 100 pounds.
In order to become Hunter Troopers, candidates must also learn all of the same skills that are required for Norwegian Special Forces soldiers. Their training includes Arctic survival, counterterrorism, urban warfare, long-range patrolling, hand-to-hand combat, and airborne ops. They go through the regular military schools and nothing is toned down.
How are the Hunter Troopers doing so far? They have yet to be deployed, but according to multiple accounts they have kept up with their male counterparts and even outperformed them. One Norwegian special forces soldier said “a lot of the time they shoot better than the guys” and Colonel Kristofferson, head of Norway’s Special Forces, remarked that Hunter Troopers have “displayed superior shooting and observational skills.”
We decided to feature the Jergertroopen for a simple reason — they are breaking barriers and setting a new standard. No other group of women in modern history have done what they have done and have earned the right to be called military special operators. Their resiliency, dedication, and unwillingness to accept the status quo is awesome and what we are all about. In challenging the norm and doing what no women have done, they have demonstrated one of the most important lessons you can learn if you want to make a difference in the world — just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.
If you know a person or group who you think embodies grit and perseverance, send your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org