Meet ‘Hunter Troop,’ Norway’s Groundbreaking All-Woman Special Forces Unit

They don’t just take any soldier, either.

Norwegian Sp. Forces jegertroppen

Norwegian Sp. Forces jegertroppen
‘Hunter Troop’ women in action. (Photo: Norwegian Special Forces)

Norway’s military has been open to women fighting in combat positions for over 30 years. While Special Forces units were also open to female soldiers, none had made entry into that country’s Navy SEAL-like FSK. It wasn’t until Norway was participating in anti-terror actions in predominantly Muslim countries that the nation’s military realized they had a need that could only be met by highly trained female soldiers. 

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So Norway created Jegertroppen, which translates to “Hunter Troop” in English. As forbidding as the name sounds, Foreign Affairs reports Hunter Troop was first established in 2014 for a practical reason:

“In Afghanistan, one of our big challenges was that we would enter houses and not be able to speak to the women,” explained Captain Ole Vidar Krogsaeter, an officer with Norway’s Special Forces Operations. “In urban warfare, you have to be able to interact with women as well. Adding female soldiers was an operational need.”

No one gets into Hunter Troop easily. Task & Purpose reports that training takes a year, and “candidates must complete modules in Arctic survival, counterterrorism, urban warfare, long-range patrols, and airborne operations.” Only 13 of the 317 applicants in 2014 reportedly managed to finish the whole course. 

The head of Norway’s Special Forces indicated the troop has become an important asset, and that members displayed above average observational and shooting ability, reported Foreign Affairs

The women of Hunter Troop are as tough as you’d expect, too—they meet all the same requirements as men, the only difference being they’re required to carry lighter rucksacks than male soldiers. 

While this is apparently still an experimental unit not in full rotation, they seem like a look at the future of the military in developed countries worldwide. Since the Pentagon declared combat positions open to women in the US military at the beginning of 2016, it may just be a matter of time before one of America’s branches of the armed forces sees the need for its own Hunter Troop.  

h/t Task & Purpose, Foreign Affairs