Sgt. 1st Class Janina Simmons, a drill sergeant leader with the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, recently earned the distinction of being the first African-American female to graduate Ranger School.
Ranger School is considered one of the toughest training courses Soldiers can go through. According to Army.mil, "Army Rangers are experts in leading Soldiers on difficult missions -- and to do this, they need rigorous training. For more than two months, Ranger students train to exhaustion, pushing the limits of their minds and bodies."
Simmons, in an interview with Connectingvets.com said receiving the coveted Ranger Tab is "surreal" and that she was "humbled" to make it through the first time.
Post Command Sgt. Maj. Jerimiah Gan tweeted it was an 'outstanding accomplishment's by one of Fort Jackson's finest."
He added he and Fort Jackson's commanding general are "extremely proud" of Simmons' accomplishment.
"I couldn't say it any better," tweeted Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr., echoing Gan's sentiment. "Outstanding work by one of the best (non-commissioned officers) on Fort Jackson, and now earning the title of U.S. Army Ranger. Always leading the way."
Simmons also made history in December by taking the top spot during Fort Jackson's Bataan Death March qualifier.
"I just tried out (for the Bataan Memorial Death March) to see if I could beat my old time," Simmons said in December. "I was just trying to beat three hours." She said she was glad for the training opportunity.
Simmons wound up not going to the Bataan Memorial Death March because it coincided with Ranger School.
She said in December she was "a little sad" she wouldn't march but that she was "cool with (it)."