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Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret

Recent weeks brought a number of historic firsts for women in ground combat forces, reigniting the debate surrounding the role of women in the military. On Jan. 30, five women passed the Ranger Training Assessment Course, securing their places at the first integrated Ranger School assessment scheduled for April — and with it, the potential to yield the first women with Ranger tabs. Less than two weeks later, a female first sergeant took charge of a combat engineer company for the first time. These two bookends signal a monumental leap forward; the former foreshadowing women’s potential to succeed in the elite forces, the latter solidifying their ability to lead the conventional forces that bore the weight of sustaining the past 13 years of war.

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