Female airman becomes first to earn Army Ranger tab

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The Rangers in Action demonstration and graduation on August 30.

U.S. Army/Patrick Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence

An Air Force officer became the first female airman to earn the Ranger tab last week, joining a growing group of women who have completed the Army's legendary combat leadership course.


Air Force 1st Lt. Chelsey Hibsch pinned on her tab during Ranger school graduation at Fort Benning, Georgia, last week.

She joins around 300 other airmen who have done the same since the Army began getting accepting airmen into the school in 1955, according an Air Force press release.

"Ranger School is truly not for the weak or faint of heart," Lt. Col. Walter Sorensen, the Ranger-qualified chief of training at the Air Force Security Forces Center, said in the release. "It speaks well of all those who persevere to find that inner grit and motivation to push through all that Ranger school throws at them."

"The perspective tabbed Airmen earn serves them well when the mission gets challenging and others look to them to find a way," he added.


Then-2nd Lt. Chelsey Hibsch, 374th Force Support Squadron officer in charge of logistics and supply, speaks during a Women's History Month luncheon at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 26, 2019 (U.S. Air Force/Machiko Arita)

Hibsch is a former enlisted Airman who previously served with the 374th Security Forces Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

She earned a slot in the Army Ranger Course, one of the hardest leadership courses the service offers, after attending the Air Force's Ranger Assessment Course (RAC), the service describes as "based on the Ranger Assessment Phase week and the first two weeks of the Army Ranger Course."

In the Air Force statement, Hibsch called the RAC an "unmatched learning experience on leadership," adding that it was helpful for Ranger school because it gives potential candidates an "understanding of how you function when you're hungry, tired, wet, cold, and worse, then you have to lead a team of individuals feeling the exact same way."

Hibsch will now move to the 821st Contingency Response Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, where she will serve as a flight commander.

Soldiers from the 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire an M777 Howitzer during a fire mission in Southern Afghanistan, June 10th, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent)

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Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.

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