The Army’s elite Ranger School is officially open to all qualified soldiers regardless of gender, the service announced Wednesday.
The school had been open only to men until April, when the Army ran a gender-integrated assessment of the course. Nineteen women started the course on April 20, according to ArmyTimes.
Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver on Aug. 21 became the first women to earn the distinctive black and gold tab when they graduated from Ranger School.
“Qualified personnel will be able to attend all future classes of Ranger School regardless of gender,” said the Army on Wednesday.
“We must ensure that this training opportunity is available to all soldiers who are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best soldiers to meet our nation’s needs,”said Army Secretary John McHugh in a statement.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said:
“The Army’s number one priority is combat readiness, and leader development is a function of combat readiness. Giving every qualified soldier the opportunity to attend the Ranger Course, the Army’s premier small unit leadership school, ensures we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations.”
According to the Army, the prerequisites for students attending Ranger School remain in effect, including the standards of medical fitness.
Ranger School is the Army’s premier combat leadership course, teaching students how to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress to lead soldiers in small-unit combat operations. It is separate from the 75th Ranger Regiment, according to ArmyTimes.