Female Rangers pave way for cadets

Two JROTC cadets react to history-breaking moment


Suzanne Blake

Junior Vy Nguyen and senior Aeron Laney, both JROTC cadets, were inspired by two female soldiers that completed Army Ranger training.

Suzanne Blake, Managing Editor

The Army’s elite Ranger school graduated women for the first time ever Aug. 21, creating heightened prospects for female students looking to pursue a military career.

The female Rangers are Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver.

Although the 75th Ranger regiment remains restricted to women, army officials are currently in the process of deciding whether to allow qualified soldiers, regardless of gender, into the regiment beginning next year.

The fact that Griest and Haver can proudly wear the Ranger Tab, proving their completion of one of the most rigorous army training courses, has some female cadets in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) excited for what the future may hold.

“It makes me feel like if I work hard and push beyond the limits, then I can succeed as well, and I can break stereotypes of how people think females can’t do the same as males,” senior Aeron Laney said. “It inspires me to be a better leader.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Ginger Cribb, a JROTC teacher, is not surprised that female soldiers are gaining access to more possibilities.

“Your only limitations are the ones you possess. They’re giving women more opportunities to lead and do the same things as any other soldier. Gender’s irrelevant, especially now because things are changing so much,” Cribb said.

Junior Vy Nguyen, who joined JROTC freshman year as an alternative to traditional gym class, notes that there are differences in the perceptions of men and women in the military.

“They’re probably going to be looked down more by men because men are usually in high positions in the military,” Nguyen said. “Some may be skeptical because maybe the military is trying to fill up a quota.”

Criticism aside, Griest and Haver met the same standards as their 94 fellow male Rangers.

For Laney, it’s welcome news.

“This goes to show that with hard work, mental toughness, physical stamina and dedication, anything is possible,” Laney said. “They [the female Rangers] both have truly earned the right to stand among the elite and opened doors for those to follow in the future as well as changing the hearts and minds of critics along the way.”