Soldier becomes 1st female soldier from PA National Guard to pass US Army Ranger school

Sgt Danielle Farber smiles as she reflects on the history she just made in Pennsylvania.

"Yeah, that's kind of cool," she said looking at the cameras surrounding her at Fort Indiantown Gap in Lebanon County.

Upon graduation on December 13, 2019, Sgt. Farber become one of the first two National Guard enlisted females Soldiers, and the first female Soldier from Pennsylvania National Guard, to pass the U.S. Army Ranger School.

"I really wanted to do a lot of things that other females could look up to," she said.

The U.S. Army Rangers classify themselves as an 'elite' large-scale special operations force. It acknowledges on its own website that being a Ranger is a "honor shared by a distinct few" with a grueling set of tests meant to challenge the body and mind.

Sgt. Farber reflects back on one day of training that pushed her and her colleagues to the limit.

"Mountains was by far the hardest phase of Rangers school for me," she said, reflecting back on the super cold temperatures she encountered. "Our ruck sacks, everything was frozen. Our straps, you couldn't tighten anything or adjust anything." Sgt. Farber now remembers it as the best and worst experience of her training because "we all worked really well together to just keep going and didn't quit."

Sgt. Farber works full-time at Fort Indiantown Gap as an instructor at the Medical Battalion Training Site, Army Medical Department. She has been in the Pennsylvania National Guard for nine years. Farber credits the support of her instructors for helping her meet the challenges of Ranger school.

"I knew it would definitely be a challenge. But, there's been plenty of women before me who've done it. There has been 38 women prior to me that have done it," she said.

When reflecting on advice she would tell anyone who hopes to follow in her footsteps, she offers this: work hard, train hard, and find out what you're passionate about.

"I had a couple people tell me I couldn't do it, which was a nice little fuel to the fire for me," said Sgt. Farber.

Sgt. Farber plans to take an advanced leadership course next month. She now seeks to obtain a bachelors degree in nursing. She already holds a bachelor’s degree in sports studies and hopes to continue her civilian education using National Guard benefits to become a registered nurse.

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