The two were part of a group of 19 female soldiers who passed a rigorous screening process to begin the physically demanding course that had been closed to women since it opened more than six decades ago. Their names were not revealed.
The graduation on Friday will mark a key milestone on the military’s ongoing efforts to open front-line combat units to women. The military services have pledged to do so without compromising standards.
Students in the grueling two-month course are required to survive on little food and sleep despite demanding physical activity, including carrying more than 100 pounds of gear through mountains and swamps. It is considered the Army’s most physically challenging course.
The women started the regimen in April, but like many men they were required to retake a phase of the course if they didn’t pass on the first go.
Graduates get to wear the coveted Ranger tab, which signifies their completion of the Army’s premier small unit leadership course for the infantry and other front-line troops.
"Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level," Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement. "This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential."
But the women will not be able to join the infantry or other so-called ground combat jobs, including the Ranger regiment, which remain closed to women, at least through this year.
Opening the course to women is part of an assessment that all services have been ordered to undertake to determine how best to open the infantry, special forces and other ground combat jobs by next year. The Pentagon has ordered that all occupations be open to women after this year.
The services can request a waiver from some jobs, but would need to provide an extensive justification for doing so.
The military services have been steadily opening jobs to women over recent years, but the infantry and special operations fields are the most physically demanding and require that troops live close together in often primitive field conditions.
"I promise you that the one thing we will not compromise on is standards," Gen. Martin Dempsey told a group of U.S. servicemen in Baghdad recently.