Originally appeared Aug. 20, 2015 on Blue Nation Review.
Two women who survived the rigors of the U.S. Army Ranger School just finished speaking in a live news conference. They are not only strong and undoubtedly brave but also trailblazers who deserve more than just our recognition.
“I would say that it’s definitely awesome to be part of the history of Ranger school in general, so graduating with these guys next to me and the 90 plus other Ranger students that will graduate tomorrow probably will be one of the highlights of my life,” said First Lt. Shaye Haver of Copperas Cove, Texas, who along with Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Conn. are the first females to graduate from the notoriously brutal course.
Haver offered some advice to those females following in her and Griest’s footsteps, “I hope they come with strong mind, because that’s what it takes to get through here.”
They are the only two out of 19 women who gave it shot. The attrition rate for men is also high. On Friday they will officially graduate from the Ranger School, which was first opened to women in April of this year.
They are not quitters, it’s not in their nature. After all, they’re both graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — they were made for a challenge. And though the 62-day course stopped them two times before, the third time was indeed the charm for these soldiers.
There’s no question Haver and Griest could kick my ass and probably yours. Although while many are celebrating this great accomplishment for women in the armed services — and it is a win — I can’t help but question when the U.S. military will update their policy that does not (yet) allow women to take their military career a step further and try out for the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, a Special Operations force that currently remains closed to women and has its own separate criteria and back-breaking requirements and training.
With completion of the Ranger School these women can wear the Ranger tab on their uniforms so why then not allow them the opportunity to pursue the next step, after all they’ve come this far?