Strong is becoming the new sexy, and we're absolutely loving it. The US Army announced that Capt. Kristen Griest and First Lt. Shaye Haver became the first two women to ever complete one of its most intensive courses, the Ranger School. The Army's premier program tests its candidates' ability to endure exhaustion, hunger, and stress over a 62-day course, and it's not for the weak. Over the months, students adapt to woodlands, mountainous terrain, and coastal swamp, with little food and sleep. As if that wasn't demanding enough, the course features a fitness test that includes "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."
Among the 381 men and 19 women who began the course in April, three female students advanced to the final stage. Only 94 men and two women completed the final Swamp Phase, where they successfully led platoons through water-based exercises.
The Army is currently assessing what positions should be available for women who serve, but this marks a breakthrough in the role of women in combat. "The reasons I chose to come were the same as the men here: to get the experience of the elite leadership school . . . and to give me the opportunity to lead my soldiers the best that I can," said Lt. Haver, an Army pilot. "I think if females continue to come to this course, they can be encouraged by what we have accomplished, but hopefully they're encouraged by the legacy that the Ranger community has left." These two fearless females continue to break all gender biases of strength, showing the world that Army strong can be defined by anyone.