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Army's First Female Infantry Officer Assigned to Fort Benning

  • U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Connecticut, speaks with reporters Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga., where she was scheduled to graduate Friday from Ranger School. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum) U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Connecticut, speaks with reporters Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga., where she was scheduled to graduate Friday from Ranger School. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
  • Maj. Lisa Jaster, center, became the third woman to graduate from the U.S. Army's Ranger School, Oct. 16, 2015, in Fort Benning, Ga. She joins just two other women, Capt. Kristen Griest, left, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, right. (U.S. ARMY RESERVE COMMAND) Maj. Lisa Jaster, center, became the third woman to graduate from the U.S. Army's Ranger School, Oct. 16, 2015, in Fort Benning, Ga. She joins just two other women, Capt. Kristen Griest, left, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, right. (U.S. ARMY RESERVE COMMAND)

Capt. Kristen Griest, one of the first women to graduate U.S. Army Ranger School, has been assigned to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia, according to Army officials.

The Army granted Griest’s request to transfer from the military police to the infantry branch April 25.

In mid-April, the Army also approved 21 female West Point and ROTC cadets and one Officer Candidate School student to commission into the infantry and armor branches.

Thirteen of those women will enter into the armor branch and nine will enter into the infantry branch as long as they complete the required branch-specific training for infantry and armor officers, Army officials maintain.

Griest recently completed the Maneuver Captains Career Course at Benning, a requirement for infantry and armor officers to command front-line fighting companies.

For now, Griest will be assigned to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade until she gets a permanent assignment to an infantry unit, which will likely come sometime next year when the other female armor and infantry officers get their assignments to combat units, according to Army spokesman Col. Patrick Seiber.

It’s currently unclear what her job will be at ARTB while she waits for that assignment.

"She is in an infantry officer assignment at Fort Benning, awaiting follow-on orders to an infantry unit next year," Seiber said.

The 27-year-old West Point graduate made history in 2015 by becoming one of three women to earn the coveted Ranger Tab after completing the grueling, two-month infantry leadership course.

In April 2015, she was among 19 female soldiers approved to attend Ranger School as part of a pilot program to help the Army determine whether it could safely open front-line combat jobs to women.

Griest, alongside 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache pilot and fellow West Point graduate, made history in August when they became the Army's first women to complete Ranger School. Two months later, a third West Point graduate, Maj. Lisa Jaster, also completed the course.

The Army permanently opened Ranger School to women in September, but no additional female soldiers have graduated, Purtiman said.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter in December ordered all military jobs, including special operations, opened to women. His directive followed a 2013 Pentagon order that the military services open all positions to women by early 2016.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Marine Corps is getting its first female rifleman and machine gunner later this year, service officials confirmed recently.

The two female enlisted Marines who have made lateral move requests to infantry jobs have been approved, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Philip Kulczewski told Military.com.

The Marine who applied to be an 0311 rifleman was a lance corporal, an official confirmed. The rank of the Marine approved to be an 0331 machine gunner is not clear. Kulczewski said the Corps is in the process of meeting staffing requirements at the units that will receive the Marines.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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