Wed, Aug 19, 2015 - Page 7 News List

First two women to graduate from Ranger School

LAST TWO STANDING:Nineteen women started the program, but 17 failed after Washington opened the way for women to join all US ground combat units

AFP, WASHINGTON

Two US women on Friday are to become the first female soldiers to graduate from the elite and hugely demanding Ranger School, the US Army announced.

“Congratulations to all of our new Rangers. Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level,” US Army Secretary John McHugh said on Monday.

“This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,” McHugh said.

“We owe soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best soldiers to meet our nation’s needs,” McHugh added.

Nineteen women began the rigorous training program in April, but 17 were eliminated.

The Ranger School welcomed women for the first time this year, following US President Barack Obama’s 2013 request that the Pentagon order all branches of the armed forces to open up ground combat jobs to women by next year.

Women make up about 15 percent of US Army personnel.

Ranger School is an elite training program reserved for the most physically fit in the US Army, who feed into the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force.

The progress of the two women has been closely monitored by the US military community, where women in combat is still a divisive issue.

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