Two women have passed the challenging Mountain Phase of the U.S. Army's elite Ranger School and will now advance to the third and final phase in the swamps of Florida—giving them the chance to become the first women ever to graduate from the rigorous program.
The class began with 19 women, but only three remain: the two who advanced to phase three and one woman who was "recycled"—she, along with 60 men, can try the Mountain Phase again. The two women going on to the final phase are joined by 125 men, the Washington Post reports. Phase three begins on Sunday, when the Ranger students will parachute into Pensacola, Fla. If any of the women pass, they will be able to wear the Army’s Ranger Tab, but will not serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment alongside many of their fellow graduates.
The class is part of the Army's initiative to integrate women into combat positions; it has until 2016 to open all jobs to female soldiers, or give proof that certain positions cannot be filled by women.