Five years ago today, the first women graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning.
It marked a significant moment in the gender integration of the Army.
Ranger School is arguably the toughest course the U.S. Army offers. It tests mental and physical toughness — in a challenging environment that deprives soldiers of food and sleep.
On August 21, 2015. Capt. Kristen Griest and Capt. Shaye Haver were the first women to graduate from Ranger School.
Five years later, Griest and Haver are still in the Army, assigned to units in the Washington D.C. area.
This week they did exclusive interviews with News 3 and reflected on the Ranger School experience.
“I wanted to go to Ranger School since I heard about it when I was 18 at West Point,” Griest said. “It was an eight-year process for me to get into that school. I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity, I tried to enjoy it while I was in it. I think after about eight hours I was ready to get out. It was definitely not the fun experience I thought it was going to be.”
She says it was worth it.
“Definitely worthwhile,” she said. “Absolutely invaluable for teaching you about yourself. And what you can do. What you can get through and what you can withstand under pressure.”
Haver says with the tab has come respect from those in the Ranger community she has encountered.
“I would have guys from Ranger Regiment who would be there,” Haver said. “… Got to the point where they were comfortable enough to say, ‘Hey, man, I didn’t know what you were going to be all about. But after spending time with you, ‘You’re alright. You’re a good dude.’ And that’s a pretty good compliment from an Infantryman.”
Gen. Scott Miller, a battle tested Special Operations warrior, was the man who oversaw the process five years ago. Managing fundamental change was not easy.
Today, Miller is the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces – Afghanistan. He was fighting a different kind of battle in 2015.
“When I look back on it, it was a learning experience for all of us at Fort Benning and across the Maneuver Center,” Miller said. “…We determined early on that we had to make this as transparent as possible for the public, but at the same time, not disrupt the course.”
COMING NEXT WEEK:
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 26 WRBL News 3 will take an in-depth look at what has happened since Haver and Griest graduated from Ranger School.
They have moved forward with their Army careers, women have been integrated into the Infantry and a lot has changed.
The six-part series will be featured in First Edition and Evening Edition Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday next week. It will also be available on WRBL.com. You will see exclusive interviews with Haver, Griest, Miller, Ranger School graduate Maj. Lisa Jaster and others involved in the process.
Note: Series photo editor Karien Graf