Two women make Army Ranger history

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The first two women to pass the Army’s notoriously difficult Ranger School impressed male classmates left in their dust during road marches and proved their mettle as teammates by helping carry heavy weapons when others were too fatigued to lift another ounce.

Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, of Orange, Connecticut, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, of Copperas Cove, Texas, will become the first women to wear the Army’s coveted Ranger tab when they graduate alongside 94 male soldiers Friday at Fort Benning.

“They can serve by my side anytime because I know I can trust them,” 2nd Lt. Erickson Krogh said. “Especially these two. I’d have no qualms about serving with them in combat.”

As the Pentagon weighs a decision on allowing women to serve in combat jobs long held by men only, a Ranger School comrade offered a blunt assessment of Griest and Haver as they spoke to reporters Thursday.

Despite proving their grit in the two-month Ranger course, the two women are still unable to join infantry, armor and special forces units — including the 75th Ranger Regiment. That could change next year after the Pentagon makes its recommendations.

“Truly, it’s a huge credit for anyone, man or woman, to endure the intense training and curriculum at Ranger school, and to prevail and graduate,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at a press conference Thursday. “Clearly, these two soldiers are trail blazers. And after all, that’s what it means to be a Ranger. Rangers lead the way”

Spc. Christopher Carvalho, a medic in the same Ranger school class, said his skepticism ended on the first road march when the women left many of their male counterparts far behind.

“Right then and there that’s what validated me to say these women are here to stay,” Carvalho said.

Classmates 2nd Lt. Michael Janowski and 2nd Lt. Zachary Hanger both told of how Haver and Griest jumped in to help carry heavy loads when other male trainees were too fatigued to assist.

Hanger called the women “absolutely physical studs.”

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