Women serve alongside Special Forces

Kevin Maurer

The medics helped Sgt. Janiece Marquez into a chair and started to treat her sprained ankle. Marquez, 25, had tripped over a rock on one of the dark paths in the camp. She had just run two miles during the physical fitness test and marched at least six miles carrying a 35-pound rucksack that evening. Now she could barely walk.

“Are you going to be able to ruck tomorrow?”

“Absolutely,” Marquez said.

“What if I tell you the next day you’re going to go about 25 miles? Are you ready for that? Do you think you can physically do it?”

What Marquez knew for certain was that she wasn’t going to quit. And that refusal to give up was what the evaluators, all special operations soldiers, were looking for in the 55 selectees here at Camp Mackall, a former World War II training base near Fort Bragg tucked into the pine forests of central North Carolina. They were being considered for elite, all-female teams trained to build relationships with Afghan women.

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