Those female rangers, who became the first two women to graduate from the Army’s Elite Ranger School, helped the male rangers finish the brutal training camp.
History was made when female rangers — Lieutenant Shaye Haver and Captain Kristen Griest — completed one of the most difficult obstacles in military training. Their historic feat became the focus of a press conference in which the women shared what it was like to reach this incredible milestone.
There’s no question that not many can survive the Army ranger course and women had been unable to complete the camp until now. Haver and Griest opened the door and inspired future candidates with their determination and perseverance in the face of the unimaginable challenge.
But the first female rangers not only survived the brutal camp, in an unlikely twist, they helped some of their male colleagues finish. The women were praised by some of the men who recently completed the course and thanked them for pushing them forward when all they wanted to do was give up.
“I probably wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for Shaye,” Second Lt. Michael Janowski said of First Lt. Shaye Haver while sitting among seven others who graduated Friday at Fort Benning, Georgia, the New York Daily News reports.
During a particularly difficult 12-mile hike — and while carrying 50-pounds of gear on their backs — the females rangers came to the rescue of the men who needed help, Janowski said.
“I was struggling and I stopped at a halfway point, (asked) ‘Hey, can someone help take some of this weight? Shaye was the only one to take that weight off me.”
Similarly, Second Lt. Zachary Hagner — who was a skeptic that the female rangers could complete the course — received help from Griest, the only one who came to his aid.
“I went to every single person in line, in no order. As soon as I went to Ranger Griest…she basically took it from me.”
“Nine guys were like, ‘I’m too broken; I’m too tired.’ She, just as broken and tired, took it from me with almost excitement…she was just motivated.”
Haver and Greist won hearts along the way and convinced the men that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, with all the weight they had to carry, any help was welcome. Harver said it was cool they accepted them more so because they didn’t even believe they could finish.
“The team that I’m graduating with tomorrow accepted me completely as a ranger and I couldn’t be more proud or humbled.” she said.
The new female rangers not only earned the respect of their fellow male rangers, but that of commanding officers who trained them. Greist and Haver graduated Friday, along with 94-male soldiers.
[Photo by Getty Images/U.S. Army]