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Third Woman In Ranger School Won’t Graduate Friday, Gets To Repeat Final Phase Again

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The last woman left in Ranger School won’t be graduating Friday. Instead, the unnamed candidate will get to recycle the Swamp Phase, the third and final part of the course.

The woman, a West Point graduate, has moved through the course at a slower pace than her counterparts Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, who both recently became the first women to ever graduate from Ranger School in August, The Washington Post reports. (RELATED: Two Female Ranger Students Set To Graduate Friday)

If the third woman succeeds in passing the Swamp Phase at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, she will have repeated all three phases of the course.

Since the course started April 20 with an initial pool of 19 women, the third woman has been slogging it out for 148 days. She was the only woman to keep pace with Griest and Haver, joining the two in the second phase of the course in the mountains of Dahlonega, Ga. But while Griest and Haver passed through on the first attempt, she had to repeat the phase. This week, she found out that she would need to repeat her time in the Florida swamps with 20 other male students, if she still wanted a shot at graduation.

With two female graduates in hand, the Army announced Sept. 2 that the school would open up to all women who choose to attend. According to Army Secretary John McHugh, it’s imperative that “all soldiers who are qualified and capable” have the chance to try their hand at Ranger School. The school initially opened up to select women earlier this year as part of an integration experiment to see if combat roles should be kept male-only.

Ranger School is now fully open, and military officials from other services, most notably the Navy, have indicated they do not intend to submit exemptions by Oct. 1 to keep combat roles male-only. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus insisted that the Marine Corps infantry, Navy SEALs, and all other combat jobs in the Department of the Navy, will open up to women by the start of next year.

Marines have criticized Mabus for ignoring the results of a massive study, which showed that women underperformed in several important areas and sustained injuries at double the rate of men, but Mabus has maintained that no matter what, diversity is a strength. (RELATED: Mabus Throws Down: All Combat Positions In Dept Of Navy Will Open To Women)

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