Speed Reads

You gotta fight for your right

Kristen Griest, on becoming an Army Ranger: 'We can handle things physically and mentally on the same level as men'

On Friday, First Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest made history by becoming the first female soldiers to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School since it began admitting women earlier this year on an experimental basis.

Throughout the grueling nine-week course, Lt. Haver and Capt. Griest were conscious that their performance would likely determine future opportunities for women. In a New York Times article, Capt. Griest elaborated on feeling the pressure:

[S]he said their accomplishment showed "what they can expect from women in the military, that we can handle things physically and mentally on the same level as men, and that we can deal with the same stresses and training."

And Captain Griest was blunt about what should never happen: "No woman that I know wants to go to Ranger School if they change the standards, because then it degrades" the designation, she said. [The New York Times]

Many critics, skeptical that women could complete the incredibly tough Ranger training, posit that they surely received breaks where their male counterparts would not have, but their Army instructors refute that.

Another graduating lieutenant even credited his completion of the course in part to Lt. Haver. "No matter how bad she was hurting, she was always the first to volunteer to grab more weight," he said.

The Pentagon has ordered that all ground combat positions become open to women next year.