By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV, Port Moresby
In a bid to eliminate barriers for women serving in combat, the United States Department of Defence has made a decision to keep the US Army Ranger School open to women.
As reported by Aljazeera, the move taken by the Pentagon is to ensure that training opportunities were made available to soldiers, regardless of gender, who are qualified and capable.
The decision was made this week, less than a month after two women successfully completed the Army Ranger School’s intense 61-day combat leadership course. The US Army announced on Wednesday that the program is now open permanently to all genders, after the assessment period whereby evaluations were carried out on the feasibility of women’s participation in the US Army program.
The two women, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, graduated with their male counterparts at the United States Army’s Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia on August 21.
Both Griest and Haver are the first females to graduate from the army’s intensive Ranger School.
The two women completed the grueling two-month course, along with their male colleagues, meeting the army’s rigorous physical and performance standards.
The decision, however, does not change the military ban on women in the ranger regiment and other roles classified as ground combat, limited to men due to a long standing rule in the US Army.
In 2013, President Barack Obama’s administration decided in 2013 that all combat positions should be open to women by 2016, including the infantry, artillery, armoury and special forces.