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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Commando course woman quits
Captain Claire Phillips
Captain Claire Phillips dropped out in the second week
A soldier seeking to become one of the first women to complete commando training has quit a notoriously difficult Royal Marines course.

Captain Claire Phillips, 28, left the nine-week course, regarded as one of the toughest of its kind in the world, in the second week.

Eight men have also dropped out and a Marines spokesman said Capt Phillips should be proud of her effort.

The All Arms Commando Course allows those who pass to wear the coveted green beret and a uniform flash indicating they are commando trained.

Capt Phillips, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Captain Pip Tattersall, 26, and Lance-Corporal Joanna Perry, 29, became the first women to join the course in late March.

The other two women are still battling on with the training.

Assault course

The Royal Marines said Capt Phillips' decision to quit was no reflection on her abilities as a soldier.

Recruits on Royal Marines course
The All Arms Course is one of the toughest in the world
A spokesman said: "She approached the course with great professionalism, and she should be proud of what she has done.

"It is a physically demanding course and she has nothing to be ashamed of."

An MoD spokeswoman said: "It was entirely her own will to leave having realised she was struggling with upper body strength and load carrying."

Applicants for the course have to successfully tackle a nine-mile speed march, scale a 30 foot wall and sprint 217 yards carrying another trainee in a fireman's lift.

During the gruelling nine weeks at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, east Devon, the soldiers complete assault courses, survival training and physical endurance tests.

The course concludes with a 30 mile march wearing a full pack across Dartmoor which must be completed in eight hours.

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