First women soldiers to graduate from elite U.S. Ranger School
Nineteen women began the rigorous training program in April but 17 were eliminated
Two American women will Friday become the first female soldiers to graduate from the elite and hugely demanding Ranger School, the U.S. Army announced.
“Congratulations to all of our new Rangers. Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level.
“This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said Monday.
“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,” he added.
Nineteen women began the rigorous training program in April but 17 were eliminated.
The Ranger School welcomed women for the first time this year, following President Barack Obama’s 2013 request that the Pentagon order all branches of the armed forces to open up ground combat jobs to women by 2016.
Women make up about 15 percent of army personnel.
Ranger School is an elite training program reserved for the most physically fit in the U.S. Army, who feed into the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force.
The progress of the two women has been closely monitored by the military community, where women in combat is still a divisive issue.
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