More Female Soldiers Graduate Army Ranger School


The number of female soldiers who have graduated from Army Ranger School has just increased to an even dozen, as the most recent graduates join ground-breakers Army Capt. Kristen Griest, Army Capt. Shaye Haver, and Army Reserve Maj. Lisa Jaste.

Ranger School is one of the toughest training courses for which a Soldier can volunteer.

The Army Ranger course is designed to push soldiers to their mental and physical edge. Participants have limited sleep and food while performing exhausting exercises. The physical fitness test includes 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes, three parachute jumps, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.

The tough standards make sure that only the strong survive, which is why the completion percentage for men is only 40 percent.

The Ranger Course, which was conceived during the Korean War, has changed little since its inception. It has three phases: Benning Phase of Ranger School is designed to assess a Soldier’s physical stamina, mental toughness, and establishes the tactical fundamentals required for follow-on phases of Ranger School; Mountain Phase, which focuses on military mountaineering tasks, mobility training, as well as techniques for employing a platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment; and Florida Phase,  which focuses on the continued development of the Ranger student’s combat arms functional skills. Students receive instruction on waterborne operations, small boat movements, and stream crossings

Women continue to make great strides in the military. Lt. Col. Megan Brodgen assumed command of the 3rd Special Forces Group support battalion, the first time that role had been filled by a woman.

Currently 170,000 women serve in the Army, with 600 women in infantry and armor jobs.

Joining  Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas as the destination for female officers who completed the training standards for infantry and armor are Fort Campbell in Kentucky and Fort Carson in Colorado.

Article written by: Debbie Gregory.

Meet One of the Army’s Newest Rangers: Military Connection

Kristen Griest in training. Nikayla Shodeen / US Army

By Debbie Gregory.

Army Capt. Kristen Griest is one of the two women who have made history by making it through grueling Ranger School.

Griest, 26, of Orange, Connecticut, said her successful completion of the two-month program shows that women “can deal with the same stresses and training that men can.”

According to her brother, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mike Griest, an Army aviator, his sister loves testing her endurance. “If she had been allowed to go infantry out of college, she would have done that,” he said.

Griest receives her black and gold Ranger tab today at Fort Benning, Georgia. However, she will not be able to join the elite 75th Ranger Regiment unless the military’s top leaders open all combat roles to women.

Griest, who said she had several peers and mentors who encouraged her to tackle the program, admitted that she felt some extra pressure as a female soldier.

“I was thinking of future generations of women,” she said, “so I had that pressure on myself.”

Cmd. Sgt. Major Curtis Arnold said he suspected Griest had extra motivation to graduate “because you know everyone is watching. And truthfully there are probably a few folks who want you to fail. So you’ve got to put out 110 percent.”

Officials say the Army, Navy and Air Force likely will not seek exceptions that close any jobs to women. Marine Corps leader have expressed concerns about allowing women to serve in infantry jobs, and may seek an exception.

The service branches will make recommendations to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter this fall.

Ranger School is considered one of the military’s most difficult courses physically and mentally, dating back to the 1950s. It includes phases at Fort Benning, on the mountains of northern Georgia and in the Florida Panhandle swamps in and around Eglin Air Force Base.

Women have been steadily making strides into previously male dominated jobs across the military. Women are also now serving on Navy submarines and in Army artillery units.

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Meet One of the Army’s Newest Rangers: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory