“The difficulty is definitely worth the reward,” 1st Lt. Shaye Haver said of her graduation from Ranger School.

Last year, Haver became one of three women to graduate from the elite military school–a first in U.S. military history. Her accomplishment was recognized by Fort Carson Wednesday.

Haver is a member of the 4th Infantry Division.

Also recognized Wednesday was Staff Sgt. Michael Calderon, who not only graduated from Ranger School last summer with honors, but was the top graduate in the course.

The pair went through the school together, but Calderon said it took him weeks to realize he had female classmates. Once he did–

“Non-issue,” he said.

First female Army infantry officer assigned to Ranger training battalion

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“As far as the gender role, after passing that school, the questions I’ve received…I feel that Ranger Training Brigade made it very easy to answer all those questions candidly and honestly because there was a standard to be upheld. That standard was met by all graduates…there’s no change in standards,” Caderon added.

“Building the relationships that I did helped bridge a bit of a gap and ease a little of their [the Army, male soldiers] worries. What it boils down to is it’s really the right soldiers for the right jobs and that doesn’t include a gender,” Haver said.

“You’re too tired and too hungry to notice [the women],” Calderon said of Ranger training.

Nineteen women started the course in April 2015, which whittled down to three within two months. The last three standing all graduated, though one of the soldiers was recycled before the August graduation–meaning she had to repeat key portions of training–and graduated later in the year. Haver graduated alongside Calderon.

Haver and Calderon both said Wednesday that there were moments where they were tempted to quit.

“A long walk in the mountains,” Haver said was her breaking point. “It felt like we had walked, seriously, for a 24-hour period.” She kept going, motivated by thoughts of her platoon at Fort Carson, who she said she didn’t want to let down.

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