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First Female Soldier Passes P Company

Pte Addy Carter stands in front of the WW2 Dakota aircraft at Merville Barracks, Colchester [Crown Copyright: Cpl Danny Houghton]

The first female soldier has passed the British Army’s All Arms Pre Parachute Selection or AAPPS ~ known as P Company ~ at Catterick.


News Release, Whitehall, 23 October 2022: The first female soldier has passed the Army’s demanding course to prove that personnel have the physical and mental robustness needed to serve in Airborne Forces. Private (Pte) Addy Carter, of 16 Medical Regiment, was presented with a maroon beret after completing All Arms Pre Parachute Selection (AAPPS) – known as P Company.

The three-and-a-half-week course at Catterick culminates in the gruelling eight events of Test Week, including loaded marches, log and stretcher races, and an aerial confidence course. Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Sarah Atherton, said: “I am immensely proud of Addy and her achievements in passing such a demanding course. She has set a high standard for all our serving personnel, both men and women, and this is a clear example of what can be accomplished through hard work and determination. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours with the Army.”

Pte Addy Carter presented maroon beret by Major Chris Braithwaite on passing P Coy [Crown Copyright]

Pte Carter said: “I heard about P Coy during basic training, it sounded really tough, but I just wanted to give it a go and prove to myself that I could do it. Physically I found it very challenging, but it’s about showing that you can deliver when things get hard – I just kept telling myself that every step was a step closer to the end.

“As a woman, I wasn’t treated any differently by the instructors, nor did I expect or want to be. I hope that I’ve shown to other female soldiers that it’s achievable. Coming back to my unit, there are other women who’ve said that they’re now more confident to give it a go.”

Colchester-based 16 Medical Regiment provides medical support to 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, the British Army’s global response force that is specially trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter and air landing. In her role as a Combat Medical Technician, Pte Carter would deploy as a medic working alongside soldiers from The Parachute Regiment.

Pte Carter passed P Coy on her second attempt, having dropped out of her first course with a foot injury. “I never had a moment’s doubt that I wouldn’t try again,” she said. “My unit and colleagues have been supportive, and the build-up training you get is very thorough. We’re taught about nutrition, mental resilience and injury care – it’s about preparing you to pass if you put the work in yourself.”

The next stage for Pte Carter is the Basic Parachute Course at RAF Brize Norton, which will earn her ‘wings’ as a trained military parachutist.

Major Chris Braithwaite, Officer Commanding Pegasus Company, said: “Pegasus Company is designed to test an individual’s physical fitness, determination and mental robustness under stress, to ensure they have the self-discipline and motivation for service in Airborne Forces.

“There is a set standard that anyone who attempts the course must achieve and these are rigidly enforced by my team – of 98 candidates who started this course, 59 were successful. I hope that Private Carter’s success on All Arms Pre-Parachute Selection encourages others to attempt the course. I would like to congratulate all who passed and wish them the best for their future service within Airborne Forces.”

Pte Carter follows in the footprints of Captain Rosie Wild, of 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, who was the first female officer to pass AAPPS in 2020.


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