Two female soldiers look set to become the first females to pass the Army's elite Ranger School, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The military has not officially announced their names, but the two are both graduates of West Point and will appear before the media ahead of this Friday’s graduation.
Nineteen females started the Ranger course which is composed of 62 days of unvarying mental and physical pressure of little sleep and minimal food.
Together with 94 male counterparts, they survived a week of thorough testing at Georgia’s Fort Benning before going through swamp training in Florida and strenuous mountain training in Georgia.
Women and men were all subjected to the same metrics, and it was often difficult to differentiate them in the few scenes that the Army permitted cameras to record.
On the day of graduation, the women and men will each be presented the Ranger tab to put on on their uniform but, unlike their male counterparts, the ladies will not be able to serve in the special Ranger units.
Travis West, U.S. Army Ranger Association president, said, "One of the key things that the students learn is that the limit that they believe exists probably doesn't, and that they're capable of doing much more under very difficult circumstances."
Admitting women into Ranger School was part of the Military's testing to establish if women could endure the tough life of the infantry, operating in rough terrain every day and carrying heavy packs.
According to West, "For those women who are able to complete the course, it will probably help them in some ways in their careers."
The armed forces are under directives to open up all military jobs to female applicants by the end of this year.
One of the chief officers of the Ranger training compared the graduation of the first females to breaking the four-minute mile. Once the obstacle is eliminated, others will swiftly follow.
The fact that duo has now successfully completed the course does not automatically ensure that females will be admitted to serve in the military’s elite infantry, but it is a key step on that path.