Two female soldiers are the first ever to successfully complete Army Ranger School.
Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver are two among the 96 students who will graduate from the Fort Benning course. Griest and Haver struggled along with the rest of the class to complete the grueling obstacles and reach their full potential, but because of their gender they will not be eligible to join the Army’s Ranger Battalion – yet.
Their class started with 381 men and 19 women, but between sleep deprivation, starvation, and intense physical and mental training and exertion, 304 soldiers dropped out.
Griest and Haver were not among them.
“This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,’ said Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh.
After 62 days of hell, the two women can proudly bear the title of Army Ranger. The U.S. military is still exploring what positions they want women to fill, but Griest and Haver’s accomplishments may force the brass to reconsider allowing women in more combat roles.
“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].’”
Griest and Haver are “happy and relieved, and ready for some good food and sleep,” and their families are ready to celebrate the “monumental and joyous occasions.”
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)