Two women complete elite Army Ranger training

For the first time in history, two women have passed the Army’s Ranger training as Capt. Kristen Griest, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, endured days of grueling training. Less than half of those who attempt the program succeed.

2015 marked the first year that the army allowed females into the intensive training course. The change came in response to President Obama’s directive that women be allowed to serve in combat positions by 2016.

The course includes three phases: the Darby Phase at Fort Benning, the Mountain Phase in northern Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest and the Florida Phase on and around Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle. About 4,000 students attempt Ranger School each year, with some 1,600 — 40 percent — graduating.

The women will receive the Ranger Tab alongside 94 male service members in a ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., the home of Ranger School’s headquarters. They overcame fatigue, hunger and extreme stress to graduate, Army officials said, reports the Washington Post.

Although the duo will graduate from the program, they will still not be allowed to serve in the legendary 75th Ranger Regiment. The unit currently does not allow female soldiers.

“The fact that women aren’t allowed to perform certain roles comes as a surprise to many millennials,” said Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for defense policy Janine Davidson.

“This is an important moment and an important week because I see it as reality and perception catching up with each other,” said Davidson, a former U.S. Air Force aircraft commander and senior pilot. “Women have been on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq. . . . So you see policymakers in the Pentagon are ready to say, ‘We don’t see any reasons why women can’t be (in certain roles),'” reports CNN.

17 women and 380 men enrolled in the 2015 Ranger program, but only two of the females and 94 males prevailed.

The Army spoke positively about the two women’s achievements earlier this week. Secretary of the Army John McHugh said, “This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,” according to the BBC.

The army dismissed accusations that they lowered the training requirements for women.

The training has been watched closely as the military adjusts its policies on female service members. Some critics have alleged the women were granted more lenient treatment, a charge the army denies.

“The feedback I’ve gotten with these women is how incredibly prepared they are,” Retiring Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told the Washington Post. “They’ve impressed all that they’ve come in contact with. They are clearly motivated… and frankly, that’s what we want out of our soldiers,” via the BBC.

Congratulations to Capt. Kristen Griest, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver. Hear that noise? It’s a glass ceiling shattering into a million pieces.

 

[Washington Post] [CNN] [BBC] [Photo courtesy Robin Trimarchi/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer]

 

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