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Two Women to Graduate From Army Ranger School

Capt. Michelle L. Kelly, of Chatham, N.Y.
Capt. Michelle L. Kelly, of Chatham, N.Y. / AP
• August 18, 2015 10:03 am

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Two women will become the first female soldiers to graduate from the Army’s Ranger School later this week after the combat leadership course was opened up to women on a trial basis.

According to CNN, the female soldiers will graduate alongside 94 of their fellow male students on Friday in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Upon graduation, the female soldiers will not be able to join the 75th Ranger Regiment, what the Army calls its "premier raid force."

Nineteen women began the course in April. All 19 were dropped from the course, including the the two women now set to graduate, both of whom are officers and West Point graduates.

The two women now set to graduate were offered the opportunity to begin the course again under a discretionary provision known as a "Day One Recycle." One additional woman, who is not graduating, was also offered the opportunity, as were two male soldiers, both of whom declined it.

On average, slightly fewer than 50 percent of students who begin Ranger School ultimately graduate.

The Pentagon also has yet to decide precisely what combat roles woman can apply to fill and will not do so until later this year.

The Ranger School is "the Army’s premier combat leadership course, teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead Soldiers during small unit combat operations," according to the Pentagon.

The 62-day course puts students through training exercises in woods, mountains, and swamplands with little food and time to sleep.

"This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential," Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh declared of the milestone.

Published under: Army, Military