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New Female Army Rangers Graduate

Captain Kristen Greist and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver are the first women in history to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School.

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For the first time in history, two women -- Capt. Kristen Greist and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver -- graduated today from the elite United States Army Ranger school at Fort Benning, GA. They were among a class of 94 men. Both women are West Point graduates who withstood the gruesome weather, arduous hikes, sleep-deprived nights and simulated combat patrols that are designed to test their reaction time, teamwork and tenacity under fire, along with the other Rangers who went through the course, according to The Washington Post article.

This is the first year that the Army has allowed women to partake in the intense program on a trial basis and Griest and Haver were among 20 women (and 381 men) who started the program on April 20. As a test of their physical fitness, each candidate had to do 49 pushups, 59 sit-ups, and a 5-mile run all completed in 40 minutes. They also had to complete six chin-ups, a swim test, a land navigation test, a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.

According to a CNN.com article, the women will not be joining their fellow male graduates in the 75th Ranger Regiment, because women are still not allowed to serve in that combat unit. The Pentagon isn't expected to make final decisions about what combat roles women will be allowed to fill until later this year. However, this achievement is still a huge step. These two soldiers have proven that women are in fact capable of meeting the extreme physical standards (and mental stress) that the rigorous course entails. Capt. Greist said at the army panel, "I felt some internal pressure. I was thinking really for future generations of women, that I would like them to have that opportunity. So I had that pressure on me."

These standards were not altered for the women who were taking part in the program. In order to graduate, soldiers need to perform many tasks under conditions with minimal food and little sleep that test both their physical and mental strength. Each candidate has to learn how to operate in different terrains ranging from mountains, to woodlands, to swamps. Congrats, Griest and Haver!

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