Today is the day that the first two women Rangers are graduating from the notoriously difficult Ranger School, and now we finally get to meet these two trailblazers!
Capt. Kristen Greist is a Military Police officer stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and Lt. Shaye Haver is an Apache helicopter pilot stationed at Fort Carson, CO. Both women completed 123 days of training during Ranger School, and will receive their Ranger Tabs in a ceremony alongside 94 men.
In an article for Stripes.com, both Greist and Haver said that they felt no bias or discrimination from the Ranger instructors or the other male students. Some of the men interviewed for the article even said that although they were initially skeptical of women achieving the same training standard as the men, actions and accomplishments by both Haver and Greist changed their minds.
Army Spc. Christopher Carvalho, who is also graduating Friday alongside the two women, was impressed that both Haver and Greist not only completed the 12-mile ruck, but they finished well ahead of many of the men. Said Carvalho, "That was what validated it for me. These women are for real; they’re here to stay. They’re carrying the same weight and doing the same thing as me, and they’re doing it."
2nd Lt. Michael Janowski, who was partnered with Haver for much of training, remembered an evening patrol when he was having a tough time. "I was struggling, and I asked at the halfway point if anyone could help carry some of this weight...(Haver) was the only one to volunteer to take any of that weight. She carried it the last half of that ruck. She saved me. I probably wouldn’t be (graduating) if it wasn’t for Shaye."
A final decision on whether or not to open the 75th Ranger Regiment to women has not yet been reached. While the Ranger School and Ranger Regiment have a similar name, it's worth noting that although almost everyone in the Ranger Regiment has completed Ranger School, only a small number of those who complete Ranger School end up in the Ranger Regiment, which is a part of the US Army SOCOM.
Although these two women have rightfully received much attention for being first, there is also a third, unnamed female soldier who is currently in the Mountain Phase. The other 16 women who began training together back in April were dropped from the training for failing to meet standards.
Now that they have graduated, Lt. Haver plans to remain an Apache pilot and work her way up the Army ladder. Capt. Greist, however, hopes that the Army will eventually open up Special Forces training to women. The Army has already announced that a second Ranger School trial class will be opened up to women in November.