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First female enlisted National Guard members graduate from Ranger School

By Ed Adamczyk
Sgt. Danielle Farber, L, and SSgt. Jessica Smiley, R, are the first female National Guard enlisted soldiers to graduate from the U.S. army Ranger School. Photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun/U.S. Army
Sgt. Danielle Farber, L, and SSgt. Jessica Smiley, R, are the first female National Guard enlisted soldiers to graduate from the U.S. army Ranger School. Photo by Sgt. Brian Calhoun/U.S. Army

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The notoriously demanding U.S. Army Ranger School graduated its first enlisted female National Guard soldiers, the Army announced.

Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley of the South Carolina Army National Guard, and Sgt. Danielle Farber of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, completed their training at the U.S. Army Ranger School at Ft. Benning, Ga., on Friday.

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"My mindset going into this was to leave 100 percent on the table and never have a regret or look back and say, 'I should have pushed harder or I should have done something different,'" said Smiley, who serves with the Army Training and Doctrine Command. "My mindset today is that I did just that. I gave 100 percent. I did everything that I could, and now here I am."

Smiley first applied for her state's Ranger/Sapper assessment program in 2016 and was rejected. Finally accepted in 2018, she left for Ranger School a year later.

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"Train hard for it," added Farber. "Come into it knowing you're going to be doing things that every other male that comes through here has to do. Don't come through here and expect any sort of special treatment because it won't happen."

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Smiley and Farber join female Army officers Capt. Kristen Griest and 1Lt. Shaye Haver, who successfully completed the course of study in 2015, and Army National Guard Lt. Emily Lilly, who graduated in 2018.

"It is a big deal to be the first enlisted females in the National Guard graduating Ranger School. ... It's groundbreaking," commented U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Russ Vickery of the South Carolina National Guard. "We always tell [soldiers] that they can do it. Physical size is not the limitation; it's the amount of heart and soul that a soldier brings."

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