Kristen Griest, left, is one of two women to successfully graduate from the Army Ranger training course
Nikayla Shodeen—U.S. Army
August 20, 2015 4:04 PM EDT

Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, the first two women to graduate from the grueling Army Ranger course, said that gender didn’t matter during their long grueling training.

“I was thinking really of future generations of women and that I would like them to have that opportunity so I had that pressure on myself,” Griest said at a press conference Thursday about the pair’s experience and breaking a glass ceiling for women in the Army.

“Hopefully if women come to the course they can be encouraged by what we’ve accomplished,” Haver echoed.

Both women and the male Rangers agreed that gender wasn’t a factor as they completed the training. “You’re way too tired and way too hungry to honestly care,” said Staff Sergeant Michael Calderon. “We were aware of what’s going on, but at the end of the day everyone was a Ranger and it didn’t matter.”

“When your squad gets 2,000 rounds of ammo… all of a sudden the men really don’t care at all that you’re a female,” said Haver. “You’re carrying some of that and you’re sharing the load as much as anybody.”

Many of the men spoke about times that the two women had helped them carry weight or beat them in training courses, one referring to Haver as a “physical stud.”

“I do hope that with our performance in Ranger School we’ve been able to form that decision as to what they can expect from women in the military,” Griest said of opening leadership positions in the military to women. “We can handle the same things physically and mentally that the men can and that we can handle the same stresses in training that men can.”

This class of Rangers graduates Friday.

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