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Why the First Two Female Rangers Changed the Army Forever

Mar 25, 2016

The staff of Fortune and a panel of experts recently assembled our 2016 list of the World’s Greatest Leaders. Here’s a short profile of two of them.

When Kristen Griest, a platoon leader, and ­Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, enrolled in the Army’s notoriously grueling Ranger School, they were simply soldiers. When they graduated in ­August—the first women ever to do so—they were icons. What got them through the brutal regimen of runs, marches, and other mental and physical trials? “I was thinking really of future generations of women—that I would like them to have the opportunity,” said Griest. Their accomplishment, astounding in its own right, transformed the debate about women in warfare, proving that women can perform on the battlefield as ably as men. And that undoubtedly buttressed the Pentagon’s December decision to open all combat positions to women—without exceptions.

This article is part of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders feature, our annual list of world-changing leaders in business, government, philanthropy and beyond. Click here to see the entire package.

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