Two Female Soliders Make History at Army Ranger School

Two female soldiers made history Friday as the first women to ever graduate from the Army's rigorous Ranger School — the premier military institution of future elite fighters and leaders.

Army officials made the announcement on Monday, according to The Washington Post.

The Army Secretary John McHugh stated, "Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level." He continued the statement with, "This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential."

These two female graduates will be the first women allowed to wear the prestigious Ranger Tab on their uniforms. This accomplishment marks a major victory for the military, and the ongoing struggle to achieve gender equality on the fields and in battle.

Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, graduated alongside 94 male soldiers. They are both graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. They started at the Ranger school on April 20 with 380 men and 17 other female soldiers, the first class to include women.

The 61-day course is notoriously known for being exhausting and brutal. Only a handful of students complete each of the three courses the first time around.  Retiring Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno applauded the women's hard work and dedication at the Pentagon last week.

"The feedback I've gotten with these women is how incredibly prepared they are," he said of the remaining women in Ranger School. "The effort that they've put forward has been significant. They've impressed all that they've come in contact with. They are clearly motivated … and frankly, that's what we want out of our soldiers."

Their induction into the school was part of an ongoing initiative conducted by the Army to better assess integration methods to include more women in armed forces. 

Nonetheless, the two female soldiers will not be allowed to try out for the elite 75th Ranger Regiment — a Special Operations force that remains closed to women and has its own separate list of extensive training and requirements. 

Check out the moment when women first went into combat by watching the video above. To see more women in the military, watch our MAKERS documentary, Women in War.

NEXT: Iconic Moments When Women Changed Military History »

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Photo Credit: Sean Murphy via Getty Images