Two soldiers become first females to graduate from Army Ranger training

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WASHINGTON — Capping their history-making week, the first female soldiers to complete the Army’s rigorous Ranger School are graduating, putting a spotlight on the debate over opening all combat roles to women.

First Lt. Shaye Haver of Copperas Cove, Texas, and Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Connecticut, are pinning on the black-and-gold Ranger tab at a graduation ceremony Friday, along with 94 male soldiers, at Fort Benning, Georgia. They finished the nine-week training program on Monday.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he has personally congratulated the two female soldiers.

At a Pentagon news conference, he called the women trailblazers who showed their capabilities by finishing what Carter called the Ranger “proving ground.”

Their success points up the obstacles that remain to women who aspire to join certain all-male combat units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment. Being Ranger-qualified is a career-enhancing accomplishment, but the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment is not open to women. That could change.

Carter is due to decide in coming months whether to approve any recommended exceptions to a policy of opening all military positions to women.