Meet the first African-American Woman to Graduate from U.S. Army Ranger School


April 27, 2019

Black history is made every day, not just during Black history month. Sgt. 1st Class Janina Simmons knows this firsthand. At 1000 hours today, she became the first African-American female soldier to graduate from U.S. Army Ranger School.

Whereas 34% of Ranger candidates repeat at least one phase of the three-phase course, Simmons completed the 62-day training course without recycling.

“I’m humbled to be here…62 days of training and I made it the first time through,” Simmons told ConnectingVets.


This isn’t the first time Simmons has made history. In December 2018, she became the first woman to finish first place in the Fort Jackson qualifier for the Bataan Memorial Death March. 

According to the U.S. Army website, Simmons completed the 16-mile march in two hours and 52 minutes while carrying her 25.8 pound rucksack.

The U.S. Army twitter account praised Simmons as a “model U.S. Army soldier” following the historic moment.


When it comes to what’s next, Simmons has options, but for now, she’s celebrating a dream achieved and another path blazed.

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