Ranger school grad becomes Army’s first female infantry officer

Laura, Michael, Kristen and Tom Griest pose for a family photo. Michael and Kristen are both active duty officers. Both their parents work at Sikorsky Aircraft.

Capt. Kristen Griest is no doubt a woman making every effort to ‘lead from the front’.  The U.S. Army Ranger School graduate is making history once again as the Army’s first female infantry officer.

The announcement was made yesterday that Griest — a 2011 West Point grad — is expected to graduate from the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning on Thursday.

In the summer of 2015, Griest joined Lt. Shaye Haver to become the first women to ever graduate from Army Ranger School.

A military official stated that although Griest is now qualified to serve in a combat position, she won’t actually take command of her infantry unit until spring or summer 2017.

With the longstanding ban on women in combat now overturned, new paths have opened up for women who were previously shut out from all-male infantry, armor and Special Forces fields.

Let’s not forget — their male counterparts point out –that women have already fought and died for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We’re not going to turn our back on 50 percent of the population,” Acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy has said. “We are opening up every occupation to women. I think that’s pretty historic.”

Earlier this month, NBC reported that the Army approved requests from 22 female officer candidates for possible combat units — 13 as armor officers and nine into the infantry branch.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said: “An incremental and phased approach by leaders and soldiers who understand and enforce gender-neutral standards will ensure successful integration of women across the breadth and depth of our formations.”

The Army has already opened more than 95,000 positions and nine occupations to women, including combat engineer (12B) and cannon crewmember (13B), Army Times reports.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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