Two female soldiers, who were part of a class of 400, passed the grueling Ranger School to become the first women to complete the course. The women, who have not been identified by the Pentagon so far, will be joining their male colleagues at a graduation ceremony on Friday at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The course, which took its first female entrants this year on a trial basis, had 19 women and 381 men. Of these, two women and 92 men passed the 62-day leadership course that trains students on how to “overcome fatigue, hunger and stress to lead soldiers during small unit combat operations,” in tough terrains like woods, mountains and swamplands, Reuters reported, citing a U.S. Army statement.
"This course has proven that every Soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential," Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, said, according to CNN.
"Highlights of the course include a physical fitness test consisting of 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes, and six chin-ups; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours; several obstacle courses; four days of military mountaineering; three parachute jumps; four air assaults on helicopters; multiple rubber boat movements; and 27 days of mock combat patrols," the army statement said, according to Reuters.
However, the women cannot join the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force, which does not yet have provisions to admit women. The process of opening combat jobs to women was initiated by the U.S. military two years ago. Since then, the service branches have focused on gender-neutral requirements for all jobs in the military. A report by Time magazine said that, by 2016, all the branches of the Armed Forces have to include women at every level, or give a valid reason as to why they could not be incorporated.