First two women complete U.S. Army's Ranger course

- Two women have made military history by becoming the first female soldiers to complete the U.S. Army's grueling Ranger Course, the Army announced late Monday.

The women, who were not immediately identified, will join 94 men Friday for a graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., where Ranger School is based. The unit consists of rapidly deployable troops who are often used in special operations.

"Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level," said Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh in a statement.

"This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential," McHugh added. "We owe soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they 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.”

Nineteen women and 381 men began the Ranger Course on April 20. The course lasts 62 days and teaches students how to operate in woodlands, mountainous terrain and coastal swamps.

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