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History Made: Two Women Become US Army Rangers

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U.S. Army First Lt. Shaye Haver, center, and Capt. Kristen Griest, right, pose for photos with other female West Point alumni after an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
U.S. Army First Lt. Shaye Haver, center, and Capt. Kristen Griest, right, pose for photos with other female West Point alumni after an Army Ranger school graduation ceremony, Aug. 21, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Last week, two women completed a training program at the United States Army's Ranger School. The Army will not let the women join a combat force, like many male Rangers do. But that may soon change.

The women made history when they completed the Ranger training program at Fort Benning in Georgia. Many believe it is the most difficult training in the military. No woman had ever before finished the program.

Raquel Orozco is a U.S. Army Sergeant. She says having the two women complete the course will have an effect on her military career.

She said, "This means that I get to be a part of training in the future. It proves to soldiers, whether males or females, that if you push enough and you want it and you keep trying, then it is achievable."

Many of the men who complete Ranger training join a combat unit. But Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver cannot do so. They are now Rangers, but they cannot serve on the battlefield. Kristen Griest says she wants to join a combat unit. Until then, she will return to her military police unit. Shaye Haver will return to flying helicopters.

Military leaders are now considering which combat jobs should be opened to female members of the armed forces. The leaders have until October 1st to suggest those positions to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. If the military believes women should be permitted to join Ranger units, Ms. Griest and Ms. Haver could be the first to do so.

Paul Scharre is a retired Army Ranger. He thinks women should be permitted to join combat units.

He says, "Why should we disqualify 50 percent of the population? That seems crazy. If people can meet the standards then we want them."

I'm Anne Ball.

VOA Pentagon Correspondent Carla Babb reported this story from Ft. Benning, Georgia. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

Ranger - n. a soldier in the U.S. Army who has special training -- especially in fighting at close range

achievable - adj. can be reached by working hard

disqualify - v. to stop or prevent someone from doing, having or being a part of something

crazy - adj. foolish or unreasonable

standard - n. a level of quality that is considered acceptable or desirable

Are women permitted to join combat units in your country's military? We want to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments section.

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