Two female soldiers, the first ever women to complete the course at the Army Ranger School, will be graduating from the school this week, the U.S. Army said.
Ninety four male and two female soldiers completed the course
According to KTIC Radio, the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence said in an official statement that 94 male and two female soldiers had satisfied “the standards of the Swamp Phase,” and were thereby considered eligible to graduate the Ranger Course.
The two women, whose names have not been released, were among a group of 19 other female soldiers who cleared a screening process to seek admission into the course.
The course was opened to women on an experimental basis this year. The school has been in existence since the last six decades.
The statement said that Ranger School is “the Army’s premier combat leadership course, teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead soldiers during small unit combat operations.”
However, it has not yet been decided whether the two women will be able to join ground combat.
Grueling training program demands tremendous physical activity
In a press release, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh lauded the two women.
“Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level,” he said. “This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential. We owe Soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best Soldiers to meet our Nation’s needs.”
According to USA Today, the soldiers undergoing the rigorous training program are subjected to tremendous physical activity. This includes carrying in excess of 100 pounds of gear through mountains and swamps. Regarded as the Army’s most demanding and challenging course, soldiers are expected to survive on little food and sleep.
The two month course starts in Fort Benning, Ga., and finishes in the swamps of Florida, as reported by NPR. The program allowed women to seek admission as “part of an effort by Pentagon leaders to determine whether women can be assigned to ground combat units in both the Army and the Marine Corps.”
The ceremony of the 96 eligible graduates will take place on August 21.
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