In a historic first, two women have passed the punishing 62-day leadership course that qualifies them to become U.S. Army Rangers. The training program took place at Fort Benning in Georgia and in the swamplands of the Florida panhandle. This program was the first ever to accept women for combat training after the Army initiated a gradual process to open up combat roles to women two years ago. Nineteen women began the training in April (alongside 381 men), but only two of the women made it all the way through the notoriously grueling course, which teaches “how to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress to lead soldiers during small unit combat operations.” According to an Army statement, this includes “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 two women will graduate along with the 94 men who complete the training at a ceremony on Friday, but they are still barred from applying for entry into the 75th Ranger Regiment. The Defense Department is expected to make a decision later this year on whether or not to integrate women into the force, which would make them eligible for combat. Above, watch a video of the rigorous program that shows the women soldiers training alongside their male counterparts.
Read the full story at The Guardian.