Posted on Jan 16, 2015
Army Times
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From: Army Times

Female soldiers will be allowed to attend Ranger School in April as part of a one-time, integrated assessment, the Army announced Thursday.

The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat arms jobs to women. This assessment will be a first for the storied Ranger School, which until now has been open only to men.

"Secretary of the Army John McHugh approved the participation of both men and women in the spring 2015 Ranger course assessment," said Lt. Col. Ben Garrett, an Army spokesman, in a statement. "The assessment will be conducted during Ranger Course 06-15, which is scheduled to begin on April 20, 2015. The course has approximately 60 women scheduled to participate. Those who meet the standards and graduate from the course will receive a certificate and be awarded the Ranger tab."

Army leaders will closely monitor the pilot program, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Jan. 6 during a virtual town hall meeting with soldiers.

"We're just going to let the statistics speak for themselves as we go through this," he said, in response to a question from a soldier. "The main thing I'm focused on is the standards remain the same. In order to earn that tab, you have to do all the things necessary to earn that tab. We want to try a pilot to let women have the opportunity to do that."

The Army has not defined what a successful pilot should look like, Odierno said.

"We don't know if it's five people graduate, or 100 people graduate, or no one graduates," he said. "This is just a pilot to gain information for us to understand where we are, and then we'll take that data and make a determination on how we want to move forward."

Last fall, the Army issued two All-Army Activities messages calling for female soldiers interested in attending Ranger School as students or as observer/advisors. Thirty-one women – 11 officers and 20 noncommissioned officers – out of 46 applicants were selected to be observer/advisors after a weeklong assessment in November.

The response from female soldiers wanting to attend Ranger School as students was so high that the service asked its commands and units to whittle down the list to 160 candidates.

The Army then allocated 160 seats at the two-week Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course, said Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Army is requiring all female soldiers who want to attend the two-month Ranger School to complete the pre-Ranger course, which takes place at Fort Benning.

There will be 40 seats for female candidates in each iteration of the Ranger Training and Assessment Course between January and April, Fivecoat said.

Each major command, service component command or direct reporting unit, such as Forces Command, the Army Guard, Training and Doctrine Command, Medical Command, Army Europe, and Army South, will be given a set number of seats for each month's cycle of the pre-Ranger course, Fivecoat said.

"It's up to the units to figure out how they want to build their order of merit list to come to RTAC," he said during an interview in December.

Officials arrived at a total of 160 candidates based on the interest level and the capacity at the pre-Ranger course, which will still need to be able to accommodate male candidates as well, he said.

However, not all of the 160 will end up attending Ranger School.

For Ranger School, which runs 11 times a year, the training brigade can accommodate up to 400 students. Typical classes number in the 300s, Fivecoat said.

"We typically will not accept more than 400 folks because I have 400 beds to put people in," he said.

On average, about 45 percent of Ranger School students will graduate, Fivecoat said. As many as 60 percent of all Ranger School failures will occur in the first four days. Many get disqualified during the physical fitness test on the first day, Fivecoat said. The test gives candidates two minutes to do 49 push-ups and two minutes to do 59 sit-ups, and they also must run five miles in 40 minutes and do six chin-ups.

In fiscal 2014, PT test failures made up the largest number of Ranger School failures, Fivecoat said.

As for the 31 soldiers selected to be observer/advisors, they are returning to Fort Benning in January, Fivecoat said.

They will receive some training, including orientation to the training brigade, combat lifesaver certification and a tactics certification course, before they're sent to their specific assignments, Fivecoat said.

The observer/advisors assigned to the battalion and brigade levels will boost the brigade's ability to accommodate the influx of students.

"We're a pretty lean organization, so they're going to help us with the normal stuff that a unit has to do, between Power Point and building orders," Fivecoat said.

The 18 observer/advisors selected to work at the company level will begin working alongside the all-male Ranger Instructor cadre at Fort Benning, Dahlonega, Georgia, and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. They will get to observe two all-male Ranger School classes, Fivecoat said.

"They'll get an appreciation for what an all-male class looks like during the run-up to the chief's decision on if we're going to actually execute this," he said.

http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/2015/01/15/women-ranger-school-assessment/21708147/
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CPT Zachary Brooks
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Same standard, Same standard, Same standard.

Stop the PC crap and keep it at a level that people need to be at.
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LTC Peter Clark
LTC Peter Clark
>1 y
With the political correctness in today’s military is there any doubt that the RIs will be told to make sure that the prescribed number of females pass the course? If they can meet the current standards, more power to them. But General “Fat Ray” Odierno was also the one who said that the Ranger standards needed to be changed to more gender neutral.
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MSG Infantry Senior Sergeant
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Oh well, on and on we go...lets all try and do our part to serve the best we can. Crap, I took and failed the Infantry EIB three times but I tried. Never got 300 on PT test, but I tried. Never carried an 80lb ruck with gear 20 miles in the jungle, but I tried. Didn't kill anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan that I could see, but I TRIED!!!Got shot up in a helo in Iraq, and I didn't try. Got hit with IED, and I didn't try. Got hit with a rocket, and I didn't try. Just wandering how strong I have to be to kill or be killed?
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CPT Barbara Smith
CPT Barbara Smith
>1 y
Yes, CPT Zachary. I agree, there should be equality in standards for all Rangers. I was a tough girl/tomboy too but I wouldn't have attempted to become a Ranger because I know what they went through; I saw their bodies, minds, and hearts in an ICU at DDEAMC. If women want to join the elite group of Rangers, then they must be able to meet the same standards. I will pray for all Rangers and military personnel, just as I have since 1984-1987.
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SGT Patient
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5 y
Yes! I concur wholeheartedly. Keep the standard.
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CSM Richard Montcalm
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First, I would like to know how many of you that think this is a good idea have been to Ranger School and have some inkling of what it entails? Do you not understand that the graduation rate is 49% for the Army as a whole, and Special Operations personnel graduate around 94%? Do any of you have any idea what the lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition, and long movements with heavy loads do to a person's body?

Let me clue you in- I went to Ranger School in April of 1979 Class 7-79; 2/3 of my class recycled before graduating. I lost 35 pounds in 58 days- I weighed 181 when started and 146 when I graduated. My wife burst into tears when she saw me at graduation and asked what had they done to me. My first question was whether she brought any food for me...

I had immersion foot from being cold and wet- mainly we-t all the way through the course. No one carried your ruck for you if you didn't feel well or you were tired- you had to suck it and EVERYONE was expected to pull their weight- if you didn't then you were 'peered' out. This is an evaluation made by your peers at the end of each Phase- some folks were dropped from the course and as a minimum they were recycled to another class for 'failing' the 'peers'.

One wonders what will happen when a prospective female student can't/won't carry her ruck, the M240B with 600 rounds of equipment, and other assigned gear? Will her squad have to carry the load so they won't fail, because it IS a 'cooperate and graduate' school.

Will peer reports have the same weight? Will the Ranger Instructors be able to give a female a Special Observation Report that shows she is not capable of completing the task at hand and should be dropped from the course?

What about medical issues? Not only are you dirty, grimy, and sweaty non stop, there are no showers to be had unless you are back in Camp Merrill or Camp Rudder. This could and probably will lead to a host of infections that will be uncomfortable at best and debilitating at worst. Add this to the additional consideration of menses, and it adds up to a nightmare for the Ranger Instructors, the Ranger Students, and the additional medical support required to support the female students.

Now let's suppose that a female candidate does pass the course; now she is eligible for assignments coded 'G' (leg Ranger) or 'V' (Airborne Ranger); will they have to complete Infantry OSUT or Infantry BOLC before this assignment, because there just aren't many 'G' or 'V' Quartermaster assignments outside of the Ranger Regiment...

Food for thought for all of you that are just raring to see a female attempt something you don't have the stones to try yourself before passing judgment.

Will having less than 1% of females in the Army Ranger Qualified make us better prepared to fight the next war? That is what the purpose of Ranger School is- to prepare Combat Leaders to lead troops in combat- not to enhance someone career.
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MSgt Allan Vrboncic
MSgt Allan Vrboncic
>1 y
I am by no means sexist, but why do women always want to get involved where it has always been a man thing? What are the names of some of the historical male military schools that are now are now Coed? If men wanted to attend an all women school there would be an uproar. There are some things that Men can do that Women can't. And vice-versus. That is just a fact. The only woman that could possibly pass the current Ranger Standards would be a Transgender female. And that is because of having a male muscle and skeletal anatomy. And what happens when the washout rate for women is 100 percent? Hopefully the ones that washout do not whine to get the Standards lowered. Because this spineless Government would do it. Keep the Standards. There are Combat reasons why they are in place. And can these women mentally handle failing Ranger School? From reading the posts from the Rangers above, these women have no clue what they are getting themselves into. My Stepbrother passed Ranger School and went Airborne in 1978. He told me some of the stories. These women will get a reality check. And to be fair, hopefully the Instructors treat them like any male recruit.
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SGT Gregg Cummings
SGT Gregg Cummings
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Look, I know what is going to happen, the dynamics and the standards will change even if they say they won't, it will be natural for those to pay special attention, feel sorry for, and slant favoritism towards any female that is within the training. What happens when the winter phase is in 30+ degree weather in the river with your platoon turning your rafts over then get off on the shore and everyone is told to strip now and get the wet close off and change. We were all completely naked, in the open, with no other thing on our minds and under orders to just strip and get in your rucks and put the dry close on. It made sense to do so because you did want to get hypothermia, but now there will be something done so no female will have to be subjected to that. There are many other examples.
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CPT Barbara Smith
CPT Barbara Smith
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CSM Montcalm, No, I was not a Ranger but I cared for them in ICU in Augusta, GA - when they were too critically ill to be cared for at Ft. Benning. I can share this with you: I never understood why they had to train them so hard that they ended up in my unit with rhabdomyolysis. After that experience, I consider myself an expert nurse in the care of such clients. Thank you for your post.
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SGT Psychological Operations Specialist
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6 mo
CSM Richard Montcalm 1. “All State soccer player in high school”. Sorry, not impressive at all and not indicative of her physical capabilities. At all. I’m not surprised she couldn’t carry 60lbs. Also, it’s a biased statement. 2. You must not have seen elite IDF females. 3. I hope seeing women graduate Ranger school still makes your skin crawl. I’ll be sure to update you on my wife’s (who is combat arms) progress through the course.
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SGM Brigade Operations (S3) Sergeant Major
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I have been to Ranger school and let me tell you it sucks...big time! Other than combat it's probably the best/worst thing that's ever happened to me. The majority of these Soldiers aren't going in "cold" the units they are coming from are giving them the opportunity to go through pre-Ranger training, teaching them the tactical skills that they may not know because Infantry is not their branch. Patrolling, weapons, and the individual skills that are mandatory before attending Ranger school. They will meet the pre-requisites just like every male Soldier. I had a Female Engagement Team Company in my battalion when we deployed to Afghanistan and I will tell you that the majority of those females performed extremely well during dismounted patrols with their Infantry companies.

I break Ranger school down like this; 80% is mental, 10% is physical, and 10% is luck. The 80% is the will to keep going and not quit, your body will take an extreme amount of punishment before it stops working unfortunately your brain will try to protect the body long before it needs to. The 10% physical is the first week, APFT/CWST, Worm pit, Darby Queen, Land Nav, Footmarch to Camp Darby. After the first week you just put one foot in front of the other. The 10% luck is how your graded patrols fall, your peer reports, and not getting injured.

ANY Soldier that completes Ranger School will be a great asset to their unit and the Army. You learn so much about yourself, your fellow Soldiers, and it gives you a great insight on how to motivate people to accomplish the mission under extreme duress. I am excited for these Soldiers and I wish them the very best! EMBRACE THE SUCK!
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SFC Michael Jackson, MBA
SFC Michael Jackson, MBA
>1 y
CSM Mike Oldsen,
Excellent breakdown of the complexities of Ranger School while leaving the door open for ANY Soldier to attend
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1SG David Lopez
1SG David Lopez
>1 y
Well said CSM, let's not change the standards
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MAJ Chris Ballard
MAJ Chris Ballard
>1 y
When I finished Mountain Phase, I was down from 195 to around 160lbs, had bronchitis, a sprained ankle, and that wonderful ranger-school specific condition called rubberneck - and there was still Florida Phase to go. I still graduated, but I will say unequivocally that it was the hardest thing I have ever done (aside from getting blown up). I think it will take some truly exceptional women to do it. It may be 1 in 10,000 but I am rooting for them. Even the female soldiers who do not graduate will still gain from the experience. Keep the standards the same and let the chips fall where they may.
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CPT Aide De Camp
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>1 y
Well said CSM - thank you for your remarks. I couldn't have said it better.
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