Kristen Marie Griest

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Kristen Marie Griest
Cpt. Kristen Griest.jpg
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
AwardsRanger Tab.svg Ranger

Kristen Marie Griest is one of the two first women, along with Shaye Lynne Haver, to graduate from the United States Army Ranger School, which occurred on 21 August 2015.[1][2][3] Griest and Haver were ranked 34th on Fortune magazine's 2016 list of the World's Greatest Leaders.[4] In April 2016, Griest became the first female infantry officer in the US Army when the Army approved her request to transfer there from a military police unit.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Griest attended an Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge, Connecticut, where she ran cross country and track.[6]

Military career[edit]

Griest graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2011 and commissioned into the Military Police branch of the U.S. Army.[7][6] She served as a Platoon Leader in the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AASLT) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 2011 to 2014, including a deployment to Afghanistan[6] in 2013.[8]

Griest began Ranger training in the spring of 2015 as part of a one-time pilot program to see how women would do in Ranger School. She started the course with 380 men and 19 other women, marking the first time women have ever been allowed to participate through the course. 99 men and 2 women graduated from this starting pool. The third woman repeated the mountain phase. The three of them began training with Ranger Class 08–15. Haver and Griest failed the first phase of the course twice, though their performance impressed Ranger leaders enough to be offered a chance to start over from day one, commonly referred to as a "Day 01" recycle. They admitted to press that it was hard to start over, but said they weren't going to quit. "We decided right then and there that if that was what it was going to take to get our Tab, that's what it was going to take," Haver said.[9] School officials report that In addition to Haver and Griest, five male candidates were also offered to start over the course from day one. One in four men make it through Ranger school without a recycle.

Upon graduating Ranger School, Haver remarked "It's pretty cool that they have accepted (Griest and Haver). We ourselves came to Ranger School skeptical, with our guards up, just in case there were haters and naysayers. But we didn't come with a chip on our shoulder like we had anything to prove. Becoming one of the teammates — that we could be trusted just like everyone else — whether it was on patrol or to carry something heavy or whatever — it was that every single time we accomplished something it gave us an extra foothold in being part of a team. I can say that without a doubt that the team that I am graduating with tomorrow accept me completely as a Ranger, and I couldn't be more proud and humbled by the experience." Griest made a statement agreeing with this sentiment, saying "My main concern in coming to Ranger School was I might not be able to carry as much weight or not be able to meet up to the same standard," she said. "I tried to do as much as I could, and I saw everybody else helping each other out and you just try to be the best teammate that you can." [9]

At that time, women were not allowed to serve in Ranger/Infantry roles due to the Pentagon's exclusion policies on women in combat. That policy changed on 3 December 2015 when Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the United States military would open combat positions to women with no exception.[10]

Upon graduating from the Maneuver Captains Career Course (MCCC), she took command of Bravo Company, 2-505th Parachute Infantry Regiment on April 7, 2017.[11]


In 2018, CPT Griest was inducted into the United States Army Women's Foundation Hall of Fame.[12]

Misuse of name[edit]

Griest's name has been used fraudulently on phishing email messages unconnected with her, both dating scams and financial scams about billions of United States dollars missing in Iraq.[13][14]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Width-44 myrtle green ribbon with width-3 white stripes at the edges and five width-1 stripes down the center; the central white stripes are width-2 apart Army Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
NATO Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation
Expert Infantry Badge.svg Expert Infantryman Badge
US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif Parachutist Badge
AirAssault.svg Air Assault Badge
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger Tab
US 101st Airborne Division patch.svg 101st Airborne Division Combat Service Identification Badge


  1. ^ Lamothe, Dan (18 August 2015). "These are the Army's first female Ranger School graduates". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  2. ^ Thompson, Mark (18 August 2015). "Female Army Ranger Grads Are Among Nation's Top Soldiers, But Can't Fight". Time. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  3. ^ Oppel, Richard A. (19 August 2015). "2 Women Set to Graduate From Ranger School Are Experienced Officers". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  4. ^ Colvin, Geoff. "Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ Martinez, Luis (April 27, 2016). "Trailblazer Becomes Army's First Female Infantry Officer". ABC News. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Ed Stannard (20 August 2015). "Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange breaks barrier, earns Army Ranger tab". The New Haven Register. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Find a West Point Grad". West Point Association of Graduates. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  8. ^ Michelle Tan (21 August 2015). "First female Ranger grads share credit with classmate". The Army Times. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "The combat jobs women can now fight for". The Atlantic. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  11. ^ Martinez, Luis. "Trailblazer". ABC News. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  12. ^ "CPT Kristen Marie Griest, Army Women's Foundation". Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  13. ^ "Scammers with pictures of Capt. Kristen Griest". Romance Scam. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  14. ^ "View topic - Capt. Kristen M Griest". 17 May 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2019.