For the first time in history, two women will become graduates of the United States Army’s Ranger School this coming Friday. Ranger is known as the Army’s premier leadership training course that instructs students “how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead soldiers during small-unit combat operations,” according to the Pentagon’s official press release via CNN. The course lasts 61 days and as the statement suggests, participants are to complete the course on very little food and sleep.
While the two grads will be able to wear the prestigious Ranger Tab decor on their uniforms, they will still be denied the opportunity to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment, reports the Washington Post. The Ranger Regiment is a special direct-action raid force that is currently closed to female soldiers.
From the Washington Post:
The women have not been identified by the Army, but both are officers in their 20s and graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Army officials said. The female graduates started Ranger School on April 20 alongside 380 men and 17 other female soldiers in the first class to ever include women. The female soldiers were allowed into Ranger School as part of the Army’s ongoing assessment of how to better integrate women.
According to the Army’s website, the purpose of the course, which was conceived during the time of the Korean war, is to develop the combat skills of officers through approaches that are found in actual combat.
Soon-to-be retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently told reporters that anyone who meets the established standards should be able to serve, whether they are male or female. He also said that a decision on lifting gender restrictions on Army infantry or armor units will be made in the near future, along with whether to open the Ranger course to women, permanently.
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