The first female soldiers to complete the Army's rigorous Ranger School pinned on their black-and-gold Ranger tab at a graduation ceremony today to cap their history-making week. At a ceremony on the shore of "Victory Pond" at Fort Benning, First Lt. Shaye Haver of Copperas Cove, Texas, and Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Connecticut, graduated alongside 94 male soldiers. Their success casts new attention on the obstacles that remain to women who aspire to join all-male combat units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment. Although Haver and Griest are now Ranger-qualified, no women are eligible for the elite regiment, although that could change eventually.
Griest, 26, is a military police officer and has served one tour in Afghanistan. Haver, 25, is a pilot of Apache helicopters. Both are graduates of West Point. Of 19 women who began the Ranger course, Haver and Griest are the only two to finish so far; one is repeating a prior phase of training in hopes of graduating soon. Griest told reporters yesterday she hopes her success shows that women "can deal with the same stresses and training that men can." (Read more women in the military stories.)