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First Women Complete US Army Infantry Officer Course

Students from the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course Class 07-16 celebrate with their families and fellow classmates after graduation, at Fort Benning, Georgia, Oct. 26, 2016. Ten U.S. Army women were the first women to graduate from the course.
First Women Complete US Army Infantry Officer Course
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Ten women recently became the first female military officers to complete the U.S. Army’s Infantry Basic Officer Leader’s Course. The program is at Fort Benning in the southern U.S. state of Georgia. This year was the first time women were allowed to attend.

The recent graduates are now infantry officers, able to lead infantry soldiers in combat. Infantry soldiers fight on the ground, rather than in the air or at sea.

Instead of leading soldiers immediately, the recent graduates plan to follow an unspoken military tradition of attending Ranger school. That program is the Army’s most difficult combat training course.

The Army expects the recent women graduates to do well there. That is because soldiers with the highest success rates in Ranger school are those who have first graduated from the Infantry Basic Officer Leader’s Course.

Including the recent graduates, the U.S. Army now has 11 female infantry officers. Captain Kristen Griest became the first earlier this year. She completed a different program -- the Army’s Maneuver Captains Career Course -- and then entered the infantry branch.

I’m Anne Ball.

VOA Pentagon Correspondent Carla Babb reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted her report into VOA Special English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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