An American hero ended her graduation on an extremely high note.
29-year-old Sergeant 1st Class Janina Simmons has made history as the first black, females soldier to pass Ranger School. Ranger School is a 62-day combat leadership course focused primarily on small-unit tactics. The training is the toughest combat course in the US military and considered one of the toughest combat courses in the world.
A few women have completed the leadership course before Simmons. This includes Staff Sgt. Amanda Kelly, who was the first female, non-commissioned officer (NCO) to graduate from the school in 2018. Simmons expressed joy at joining their ranks.
“I’m excited. It’s surreal,” she told ConnectingVets. “I’m humbled to be here…62 days of training and I made it the first time through.”
Simmons also shares that she wants to see more female soldiers taking on the course.
“I need more NCOs to get out there…I have to lead from the front. It’s good to speak from experience. When you have soldiers who say ‘I don’t know if I can do that,” I can say ‘well, I did it and so can you,” said Simmons.
This isn’t Simmons’ first time making history. Last year, she finished first in the Fort Jackson Bataan Memorial Death March qualifier. She completed the 16-mile ruck march in two hours and 52 minutes while carrying 25.8 pounds.
In terms of her latest accomplishment, Simmons notes that she didn’t get through the combat leadership course by herself. On social media, she contributes to her success as the product of her own hard work and the support of her girlfriend.
“She stuck with me and was more than supportive!! I didn’t do that!! WE did that ❤️??,” she wrote online.
In addition, the two honored the achievement and their love by getting engaged during Simmons’ graduation.
But what’s next for Janina Simmons? Right now, she doesn’t know. With one of her biggest goals accomplished, she says she needs to “sit down and re-sort her goals.” But, we’re sure she’ll find some other amazing feat to conquer.
Sources: ConnectingVets, PopularMilitary