First female soldiers to graduate Army Ranger School ID’d

August 20th, 2015 by Staff

 

(www.usatoday.com)

The two female soldiers who will graduate this week from the Army’s legendary Ranger School were identified Wednesday as Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver.

In a statement, the families of Griest and Haver said the two just want to celebrate as a team with their entire class and asked for privacy.

Griest, 26, from Orange, Conn.,  and Haver, 25, from Copperas Cove, Texas, will graduate Friday at Fort Benning in Georgia and will get to wear the coveted Ranger tab, a mark of distinction throughout the Army. However, they will not be able to serve in the Ranger regiment because of a ground combat ban for women.

“CPT Griest and LT Haver are just like all the soldiers in Class 8-15 — happy, relieved, and ready for some good food and sleep,” the family statement said. “Like everyone who will pin the tab on Friday, they are exceptional soldiers and strong teammates.”

The Army has not released the names of the two women.

Griest and Haver are the first women to complete the course — considered the Army’s most physically challenging — since it was opened to them on an experimental basis this year.

They were part of a group of 19 female soldiers who passed a rigorous screening process to begin the physically demanding course that had been closed to women since it opened more than six decades ago.

Haver, a 2008 graduate of Copperas Cove High School, excelled in soccer and cross-country, according to her hometown newspaper, the Cooperas Cove Herald, and The Killeen Daily Herald.

“It’s just completely amazing,” Chris Haver said of his daughter’s accomplishment, according to the Associated Press. “I’m super proud. I know a lot of guys that have been through it and tell me how hard the course it. They tell me it’s the toughest, most mentally demanding course they’ve been too.”

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Shaye Haver followed in her father’s footsteps when she became a helicopter pilot. He also was a career Army aviator who flew Apaches.

Griest, who has been selected for promotion to captain, has served as a military police platoon leader, The New York Times reported. She was also named the distinguished honor graduate of her brigade’s Ranger assessment program last year.

A West Point instructor who met Griest through another cadet, but declined to be identified, told the Defense One website this week, “She had talked about (going infantry) from when she was a cadet. It was common knowledge to people that knew her that that is what she wanted to do.”

Students in the grueling two-month course are required to survive on little food and sleep despite demanding physical activity, including carrying more than 100 pounds of gear through mountains and swamps.

This week’s graduation will mark a key milestone on the military’s ongoing efforts to open front-line combat units to women. The military services have pledged to do so without compromising standards.

The military services have until the end of the year to submit plans for opening all jobs to women. The services can request waivers but would need to extensively document why women should not serve in specific fields.


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