First Women Graduate from Army Ranger School

Capt. Kristen Griest (left), and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver (right), shown in photos from the U.S. Military Academy
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- History was made on Friday within the American military. It's graduation day for the Army's elite ranger school and among the graduates, for the first time, are two women.

In all, 400 students gave it their all when the course began in April. In the end, only 96 made the cut for graduation.

The U.S. Army is honoring Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver with an Army Ranger tab after the two spent 62 days in what's known as the military's toughest mental and physical training.

It's a path military leaders hope women right here in the Valley will follow.

The training involves minimal food, little sleep, a 12-mile march in three hours, as well as four days of military mountaineering. Those are just a few of the obstacles soldiers face during army ranger training.

Haver and Griest said that during the 62-day course they often thought of the women they hope will follow in their footsteps.

Veterans in the Valley, like Don Hollen are hoping women in our area will hear those words and do just that.

"It's an opportunity for them and i think they'd probably feel the same way. If they're tough enough, go for it. It's good schooling. They've gotta' be here somewhere. We have gals here i know that could give it a good try," said Hollen, a Vietnam Navy veteran.

The men who are graduating alongside the two women said say they were skeptical at first, but that the women clearly proved deserving.

Although the ceremony will honor and award Griest and Haver with their Army Ranger tab, the women can not join the unit because women are not allowed in combat units.