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Pfc. Lewis, Antonio/Army

Two women set to graduate Ranger School leave Army with questions

Two women, along with 94 men, have passed the Army’s grueling Ranger Test and will graduate Friday. Now, tougher and more dangerous jobs could lie ahead.

One woman, First Lt. Kristen Griest, has already served as a military police platoon leader. The second woman, First Lt. Shaye Haver, was a pilot on a Apache attack helicopter in an aviation brigade, New York Times reports. The two officers making history are also athletes and West Point graduates.

A graduation ceremony will take place Aug. 21 at Victory Pond at Fort Benning, Ga. and the two women will wear the coveted Ranger black-and-gold tab. The Army only announced its decision to allow women to participate in Ranger training in January. Sergeant First Class Rachel Lester, a Ranger training observer, said that they are “always evolving.”

For now, women are not allowed to serve as Rangers. However, the Secretary of Defense could change that in the next year.

Military services are positioned to allow women to serve in most front-line combat and special forces positions, according to Associated Press. Based on early discussions, the Army, Air Force and Navy are likely to not make exemptions on any jobs for women, officials said.

Marine Corps. leaders have expressed concerns about allowing females to serve in infantry jobs and could call for an exemption. If they do object, they will likely be swayed because Defense Department officials want the services to stand united on the issue, AP reports.

All services are wrapping up their recommendations to hand off to Defense Secretary Ash Carter in the fall. A decision must be made on whether to seek exemptions on a 2013 order to end the women-in-combat ban by the end of the year, according to NY Times. In other words, the services must decide what they want to restrict to men and their reasons for doing so.

Defense News reports that top sailor and chief of naval operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said Tuesday that anyone who can pass the underwater demolition and training program should be allowed to be a SEAL. “We’re on a track to say, ‘Hey, look, anybody who can meet the gender nonspecific standards, then you can become a SEAL,’” Admiral Greenert said.

I’m with Admiral Greenert. Yes, I am a woman. But I do not agree that women should be able to hold any service position because I am a woman. I believe it because they are qualified. Why should someone who is qualified for a position be told he or she can’t hold it based on gender? There is nothing that says a woman can’t be just as qualified as a man.

These two women in particular are a perfect example. They passed the exact training process as the men! But neither one of them is allowed to serve as an infantry or tank officer, or even try out for the Army’s premier light-infantry unit that has its own rigorous selection process, the 75th Ranger Regiment.

I can guarantee that the women who want to serve in front-line combat are brave, strong and prepared. If you look closely, you’ll notice that they’ve already been demonstrating that for years.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com. Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com