Here's what the first two female Army Rangers had to do to earn the title (VIDEO)

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US Army Capt. Kristen Griest (R) participates in training at the US Army Ranger School April 20, 2015 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver were the first female soldiers to graduate from Ranger School.
Scott Brooks/US Army

Editor's note: US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday that he is ordering the armed services to open all combat jobs to women. This article was first published in August 2015. It has been updated.

US Army Lieutenant Shaye Haver and Captain Kristen Griest, certified badasses of the highest order, graduated from Ranger School on Aug. 21.

During a ceremony at Fort Benning in Georgia, Griest and Haver became the first women in history to wear the coveted Ranger Tab — a sign they've completed the US Army's notoriously body-punishing, sleep-depriving, 90-pound-pack-carrying, parachute-jumping, harsh-terrain-navigating test of mental and physical strength.

The course lasts at least 62 days, although it can take much longer, since soldiers who fail a task can "recycle" into the next class.

Griest and Haver took four months to finish the course. They were evaluated on the same standards as male soldiers. Officers at Fort Benning pushed back hard on social media against rumors that standards had been lowered for women. Now, the Defense Department has released footage of women and men training alongside each other at Ranger School in April 2015. 

Those sure don't look like lowered standards. You can spot Haver in both videos, but not Griest. (Go to 1:57-2:05 in video one, and 0:15-0:22 in video two.)


Griest and Haver finished Ranger School just as the US military approached a deadline of its own.

Oct. 1 was the last day for branches of the US armed services to request that women remain banned from particular combat positions. The 2011 Defense Authorization Act ended the ban on women serving in direct combat roles, but granted the armed services three years to study the issue and to request exemptions for some combat positions. That time's up, and it's time to settle things.

At the time of their graduation, Griest and Haver could wear their Ranger Tabs but remained barred from the 75th Ranger Regiment. Their achievement undoubtedly added pressure on the Pentagon to open combat positions to women.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking at a press briefing in August, said it would be difficult for branches to justify excluding women form those jobs.

"The Department's policy is that all ground combat positions will be open to women unless rigorous analysis of factual data shows that the positions must remain closed," he said.

Carter made it official on Thursday. He announced that all combat jobs in the US military will be open to women service members.