The first two women to successfully pass the US Army’s gruelling Ranger School training have graduated today.
1st Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest were part of a test programme to see if women could cope with the intense physical and mental training. The US Army Rangers are one of the American military’s most elite special operations forces, and the training to join it is intense.
It involves hiking miles through swamps and over mountains, jumping from planes, enduring weeks of mock combat and patrolling for hours on meagre rations. As well as that, they ran five miles in under 40 minutes, swam nearly 50ft carrying heavy equipment, and walked for days while tired and hungry.
They’ve now spoken publically about their experiences. Haver said:
It’s definitely awesome to be a part of the history of Ranger School in general, so graduating with these guys next to me.
I do hope that with our performance in Ranger School we’ve been able to inform that decision as to what they can expect from women in the military, that we can handle things physically and mentally on the same level as men.
Retired Capt. Joan Grey hopes that events like this will soon become un-newsworthy, with more women potentially completing the school. She said: “We want it to get to the ‘so what?’ [point]. Okay, man, woman, if they can do the job, good for them.”
However, the two graduates won’t be able to join a Ranger regiment for now, as the US Military hasn’t lifted a ban on women serving in the fighting force. But Pentagon officials said this might soon change.
Haver and Griest had some advisory words for other women looking to advance in the military, Haver said:
To the other females who plan on coming I hope that they come with a strong mind.
That’s what it takes to get through here. Just like everyone sitting next to me here had to do to make it to tomorrow.
Just came here to try and be a better leader and improve myself and I feel like I did that, and for other women who have that same goal in mind, just keep that goal in mind and just don’t lose sight of it.