Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver Are 1st Female Soldiers to Graduate From U.S. Army's Ranger School—See Photos!

The two made history on Aug. 21...but they still can't actually join the Ranger Regiment

By Corinne Heller Aug 21, 2015 10:17 PMTags
Shaye Haver, Kristen Griest, Army RangerAP Photo/John Bazemore

U.S. soldiers Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver made history on Friday.

The two became the first women to graduate from the U.S. Army's Ranger school, a grueling, 62-day premier combat leadership course that teaches "how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead soldiers during small unit combat operations." Griest, a 26-year-old military police officer, and Haver, a 25-year-old Apache attack helicopter pilot, received their elite black and gold tabs along with 94 male soldiers at a ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga.

"We ourselves came to Ranger school skeptical, like, with our guards up, ready just in case," Haver told reporters, as seen on NBC News. "But we didn't come with a chip on our shoulder like we had anything to prove."

The two were among four hundred soldiers, including 19 women, who began the training in April. It marked the first time women were allowed to participate.

However, Griest and Haver are not allowed to join the Ranger Regiment, which has its own selection process and whose troops have been deployed in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, or hold other infantry jobs or positions in the Army special forces.

In 2013, the Pentagon overturned a longtime ban on women serving in front-line combat positions. The new policy takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Military officials also have until then to seek exceptions for certain positions they believe are too physically demanding for women.

"I do hope that with our performance in Ranger School, we have been able to inform that decision as to what they can expect from women in the military—that we can handle things physically, mentally on the same level as men, and we can deal with the same stresses in training that the men can," said Griest, according to Reuters.

Scott Brooks/U.S. Army via Getty Images

The soldiers had to train in the woodlands in Fort Benning, mountainous terrain in Dahlonega, Ga., and a coastal swamp in Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

"Highlights of the course include a physical fitness test consisting of 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes, and six chin-ups; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours; several obstacle courses; four days of military mountaineering; three parachute jumps; four air assaults on helicopters; multiple rubber boat movements; and 27 days of mock combat patrols," Fort Benning said in a statement.

Scott Brooks/U.S. Army via Getty Images

"All of a sudden the men really don't care at all that you're a female," Griest told reporters. "You're carrying some of that and you feel the exact same way. You're going to help share the load as much as anybody."

"Seriously considering quitting throughout the course? I think I would be crazy to say if I didn't," Haver said. "The man can back me up on this—there's definitely a point that you hit along the way, it doesn't matter where it is, it's all different from everybody else. But the ability to look around to my peers and see that they were sucking just as bad as I was kept me going."

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