Two woman, including one from Connecticut, finished the Army’s grueling Ranger school.
Even with the coveted Ranger tabs, it’s unclear how far they’ll be able to go when it comes to joining elite units.
Captain Kris Griest of Orange, CT and Lt. Shaye Haver had to endure a 62-day course meant to make or break students.
"Secretly, a [there’s a] sense of pride and I say secretly because we can't really cheer these females on,” said SSG Cynthia Velarde, Ranger observer. “It's definitely a humbling experience to kind of sit back and see these women come through."
It started with a week of physical tests at Fort Benning, GA. Mountain training followed that. Finally, there was swamp training in Florida.
In the class, 19 women started, according to officials. Only Griest and Haver made it. Both are West Point graduates.
Of the 380 men who gave it a shot, only 94 completed it.
Despite the tough training, the Pentagon won’t let the women join the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, one of the nation’s best special operations units. It specializes in entry into combat zones.
A decision will be made by January regarding their future.
The women said they don’t want special treatment.
Amber Smith flew helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The standard cannot be lowered,” she said. “What I always like to say is there has to be a mission standard not a gender standard. It needs to be straight across the board and there needs to be that physical and mental strength to accomplish the mission."
In an effort to shield them from critics who don’t believe women should receive the Ranger tabs, the Army did not publicly identify the women.
The pair will be honored along with others who finished the course during a ceremony on Friday.
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