Every year, a group of students reaches the top tier of their education, allowing them to graduate from one level to the next. And while this quite ordinary, a graduation ceremony that took place on August 21 was rather extraordinary.
According to NPR, 1st Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest graduated from Army Ranger School, making them the first women to successfully complete the program at Fort Benning, Ga.
The course, says NPR, “puts a premium on physical strength and endurance.” But despite the course’s grueling physical demands, Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, the graduation’s guest speaker, emphasized that both Haver and Griest “completed the course to the same standards as their 94 male classmates.” NPR says that Miller also explained that the standards to pass the course were unchanged for their female candidates.
During a press conference on Thursday, Haver and Griest were asked if they considered dropping out of the course at any point during the program. NPR reports that Griest responded saying, “I never actually thought anything was going to be too difficult that it was worth leaving the course.”
Haver explained that she did consider leaving the course, but she found solace in knowing that her peers were sharing in the same trying experiences.
NPR says that the class originally began with 364 soldiers, 40 of which completed the course in 62 days and went “‘straight through’ to graduate.” The class graduated 96 soldiers in all.
Within that class of 96, Haver and Griest are the only two females to graduate of the original 19 who began the course, the Associated Press reports.
Congratulations to 1st Lt. Haver and Capt. Griest — you are both the definition of strength and perseverance, and you are an inspiration to us all.