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100 women have now graduated US Army Ranger School

She graduated from the grueling course on Friday.
Haley Britzky Avatar
Soldiers in Army Ranger School. (U.S. Army/Fort Benning Public Affairs)

One hundred women have graduated from the U.S. Army’s esteemed Ranger School as of Friday, Task & Purpose has learned. 

“The Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade confirmed that the 100th woman graduated the course with Ranger Class 03-22,” said Col. Antwan L. Dunmyer, Commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia. “She was the only woman to graduate with that class.”

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Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, is one of the most grueling courses in the Army. The eight-week assessment and selection includes three phases that test soldiers physically and psychologically.

Three phases of U.S. Army Ranger School. (U.S. Army/Fort Benning public affairs)

During the first phase, called the Benning phase, soldiers are assessed on their “physical stamina and mental toughness,” according to the Army. The second phase, called Mountain phase, tests soldiers’ ability to “command and control platoon size patrols” through different combat patrol missions. 

“The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the emotional stress that students encounter afford them the opportunity to gauge their capabilities and limitations as well as those of their ‘Ranger Buddies,’” the Fort Benning website says.

The third and final phase, Swamp phase, takes place in Florida where soldiers learn  waterborne operations and “platoon level operations executed in the coastal swamp environment” — all meant to test the soldier’s ability to operate under “extreme mental and physical stress.” 

The first women graduated Ranger School in August 2015, and since then women have continued breaking barriers. Capt. Kristen Griest, one of the very first women to earn the Ranger tab, became the first female infantry officer in the Army. Another one of the first 10 women to graduate Ranger School, Capt. Shaina Coss, became the first woman to lead Rangers in combat

Staff Sgt. Amanda F. Kelley, assigned to the 1st Armored Division’s combat aviation brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas, right, stands in formation at parade rest during her Ranger School graduation at Fort Benning, Georgia, Aug. 31, 2018. Kelley is the first enlisted woman to earn the Ranger tab. (U.S. Army/Patrick A. Albright, Fort Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence photographer)

Sgt. Danielle Farber, one of the first two women from the National Guard to finish Ranger School, said in a 2020 press release that the school was the “hardest course I’ve done by far.” 

“You’re cold, you’re wet, everything’s frozen, and you’re tired — you only had about 20 minutes of sleep — and then you get up and you have to do everything in the misery,” Farber said. “I was ready to be done because it was all of the things I hate, combined. All your squad-mates and the guys in your platoon, they get you through it. You 100 percent don’t get through Ranger School on your own.”

Farber’s motivation, she said, was all the people who “said I couldn’t do it.” 

“I wanted to prove them wrong.”

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