They took on the swamps, and they won. Two female soldiers have made US military history by passing Army Ranger training and will graduate at Fort Benning this Friday, the military says. They were among 19 women and 381 men in the first Ranger School class to allow females and will graduate alongside 94 men who also made it through the 62-day course, reports Reuters. Calling the training "tough" would be an understatement: The military says it includes 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."
The milestone comes as the military debates which roles will still be off-limits to women now that combat roles have been opened up, the New York Times reports. The services have until Jan. 1 to make their case. Getting the Rangers badge is seen as a key step toward leading troops, especially in the infantry, but while Army Secretary John McHugh says "each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level," many roles remain closed to women, including membership in the Ranger regiment, USA Today reports. (The Marine Corps infantry training course had its first female graduates in 2013.)