- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2015

The Army said Monday evening that two female soldiers have passed the Ranger School, and will become the first women to earn the legendary special-forces credential.

The two women, whom the Pentagon did not immediately name, will join 94 male colleagues at a Friday graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia.

All 96 completed the physically demanding two-month course, though both women and some of the men had to re-take parts of it for failure in first attempt.

Ranger School students must pass through mountains and swamps on little food and sleep while performing demanding physical tasks including carrying more than 100 pounds of gear.

The two were part of a class of 19 women that went through the school as part of an Army assessment on whether to open special-forces and other elite units to women. The Army reportedly plans a second round of female recruits in the fall.

“Congratulations to all of our new Rangers,” Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement. “Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level. This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential.”

The Army has said it will not compromise standards, but it is under a Pentagon mandate to open all positions to both sexes by next year or present a compelling justification for not doing so.

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