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The First Women Ever Are Graduating From The Army's Elite Ranger School

In a historic ceremony set to take place this Friday in Fort Benning, Georgia, the U.S. Army Ranger School will award its first female service members — Capt. Kristen Griest and Lt. Shaye Haver — with Ranger Tabs.

Last updated on August 18, 2015, at 11:24 a.m. ET

Posted on August 18, 2015, at 11:24 a.m. ET

Kristen Griest in training.
Nikayla Shodeen / US Army

Kristen Griest in training.

The two female soldiers who will graduate from the Army's Ranger School on Friday have been identified by the Washington Post and other media outlets that observed their training.

Capt. Kristen Griest and Lt. Shaye Haver will graduate alongside 94 male members at Fort Benning, Georgia, on Friday, the Washington Post reported. In doing so, Haver and Griest will become the first women ever to don the coveted Ranger Tabs on their uniforms.

Their class initially comprised 380 men and 19 women.

Before their identities were sussed out Tuesday by media observers, the two history-making graduates had only been identified as being in their twenties and as having graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Shaye Haver
Spc. Eric Hurtado / US Army

Shaye Haver

The Post reported that while the commencement ceremony will indeed be a historic one, the graduating women will still not be allowed to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment of the Rangers, as it entails an entirely different course.

The three-phase training that makes up Army Ranger school, and the physical fitness test that precedes it, is nonetheless grueling and candidates are typically weeded out in droves early on.

On April 20, the current graduating class began its first day of prephase training at the Ranger School. According to Military.com, 3 of the 19 women who began the course did not make it through the physical tests, which required them to do 49 push-ups in two minutes, 59 sit-ups in two minutes, and complete a five-mile run in 40 minutes.

Then began the official three-part course, which lasts 62 days, and took the students through Fort Benning, the U.S. Army Ranger headquarters, for the "Darby Phase"; then the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia for the "Mountain Phase"; and finally out to the Florida Panhandle for the "Swamp Phase."

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Staff Sgt. Scott Brooks / US Army

By the time students surpassed the Mountain Phase on July 31, only two female service members remained, the U.S. Army noted.

The announcement added that one additional woman made it to the Mountain Phase, but did not pass. She will be given another opportunity to do so, and if she completes the second and third phases, she will be eligible for graduation, though at a later date.

On Aug. 17, the Fort Benning office announced that 94 men and two women had passed the final Swamp Phase in Florida and would graduate on Aug. 21.

In the statement, Army Secretary John McHugh congratulated the graduating class and said, "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."

McHugh added, "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 the Post, the retiring Army chief of staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, told reporters at the Pentagon on Aug. 14 that officials were still deciding whether to allow women to join the Army infantry or armor units.

Spc. Dacotah Lane / US Army

Correction

The two women graduating from the Army's Ranger School are Capt. Kristen Griest and Lt. Shaye Haver. An earlier version of this article had their ranks reversed.

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