Posted on Aug 17, 2015
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Breaking news: two female Ranger students to graduate.

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Two female soldiers will graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger School on Friday, becoming the first women to ever complete one of the U.S. military’s premier courses to develop elite fighters and leaders, Army officials said Monday night.

The accomplishment marks a major breakthrough for women in the armed services at a time when each of the military branches is required to examine how to integrate women into jobs like infantryman in which they have never been allowed to serve. But even as the two new female graduates will be the first women allowed to wear the prestigious Ranger Tab on their uniforms, they still are not allowed to try out for the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, a Special Operations force that remains closed to women and has its own separate, exhausting requirements and training.

The women will receive the Ranger Tab alongside 94 male service members in a ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., the home of Ranger School’s headquarters. They overcame fatigue, hunger and extreme stress to graduate, Army officials said.

“Congratulations to all of our new Rangers,” Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement. “Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level. This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential. We owe soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best Soldiers to meet our nation’s needs.”

The graduation ceremony event is expected to draw not only family and friends, but hundreds of well-wishers and media from across the country. The female graduates are expected to speak to the media for the first time Thursday alongside instructors and other soldiers at Ranger School.

The women have not been identified by the Army, but both are officers in their 20s and graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Army officials said. The female graduates started Ranger School on April 20 alongside 380 men and 17 other female soldiers in the first class to ever include women. The female soldiers were allowed into Ranger School as part of the Army’s ongoing assessment of how to better integrate women.

Some skeptics, especially in the military, have questioned whether the women were given an easier path to graduation. But senior Army officials have insisted that is not the case, and opened Ranger School to media for a few days during each phase to underscore the point and allow Ranger instructors and others involved in their evaluation to speak.

The course includes three phases: The Darby Phase at Fort Benning, the Mountain Phase in northern Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest and the Florida Phase on and around Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle. About 4,000 students attempt Ranger School each year, with some 1,600 — 40 percent — graduating. They include some service members who serve in the Ranger Regiment, but also many others who serve in jobs ranging from military police to helicopter pilot.

The course is 61 days for students who complete each phase on the first try. But only a minority do so. In the April class, for example, 37 of the 380 male students — about 10 percent — advanced directly through training, graduating earlier this summer. The remainder of the students — including all of the women — have struggled more than that, although 97 men overall graduated previously.

The nineteen female students were whittled to eight in April during an initial assessment that includes everything from chin-ups to push-ups to an exhausting 12-mile road march through Fort Benning’s hills while carrying a full combat load. All eight women then failed the first Darby Phase twice, and only three were allowed to try Ranger School again. They did so as a “Day 1 recycle,” an option that is offered on occasion to both men and women who excel in some aspects of Ranger School, but fall short in something specific that can be improved.

Two of the three women left then passed through the 20-day Mountain Phase on the first try in July, and completed the 17-day Florida Phase over the weekend. The third woman was held back in the Mountain Phase last month; her status was not immediately clear Monday night, but she could feasibly still graduate at a later date. The latest Mountain Phase began Aug. 9, Army officials said.

The two women graduating Friday began the Florida Phase alongside 163 men. About 57 percent of them did not pass it this time. It was not immediately clear how many of them will be allowed to try it again.

Retiring Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told reporters at the Pentagon last week that the women who remained in Ranger School that if a soldier — male or female — can meet the standards the service has established for a job, they should be able to serve in it.


“The women in Ranger School are another example of, if they can meet the standard, they should be able to go, and they should be able to earn their Ranger tab,” Odierno said. “And I think that’s how we want to operate as we move forward.”

Odierno said no final decisions have been made whether to open the Army infantry or armor units to women, but he expected those to be made shortly.

“The feedback I’ve gotten with these women is how incredibly prepared they are,” he said of the remaining women in Ranger School. “The effort that they’ve put forward has been significant. They’ve impressed all that they’ve come in contact with. They are clearly motivated… and frankly, that’s what we want out of our soldiers.”

Odierno said he expected the Army to run another Ranger School course beginning in November to collect more information. A decision will be made afterward on whether to open the course permanently to women.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/08/17/history-made-first-female-soldiers-to-graduate-army-ranger-school/?tid=HP_more?tid=HP_more
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CSM Michael J. Uhlig
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For the rest of their career, everyday will be the hardest day to live up to the example of being a RANGER. Well done, now the challenge begins.
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MAJ Innovation And Sustainability Engineer
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Agreed
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PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
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Anytime women in the military or anything else that is challenging have done something they were expected to fail at it had been a big deal and all was supposed to fall apart. However nothing has ever fallen apart. Unfortunately women are always expected to fail when trying to "do a mans job". The talk of these 2 failing the next phase has already started.
When a man accomplishes a challenging task the respons is great job, let me buy you a beer.
When a woman does the same task the response is wow i did not think you would make it, good job, but you know the next part is even harder.
I have seen it throughout my career and life. But this makes me proud. The three things i have always wanted to see happen in the military have happened.
1. Female Blue Angel
2. Female Navy Diver/EOD
3. Female SF (did not matter which branch)
Now we may resume in just calling them Soldiers and Sailors because when they are doing their jobs their genders dont matter.
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PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
4 y
We now have a Female Blue Angel, Female Navy Diver/EOD and Female Ranger.
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CPT Infantry Officer
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PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips - There is still time. Who knows what will happen in the future.
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PFC (Non-Rated)
PFC (Join to see)
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PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips - Ah, easy to confuse. Ranger School is a combat leadership development course. The 75th Ranger Regiment is a special operations infantry unit. The two are totally separate.
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PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
4 y
Thanks for correcting me. Hubby just pointed that out too.
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LTC Substitute Teacher
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Edited 4 y ago
Look at the Israeli Defense Forces. They show that women are capable warriors! Need I say more? Congratulations to these outstanding women!
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Capt Jeff S.
Capt Jeff S.
4 y
PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips. Actually, that wasn't my point. I actually had troops wives tell me they didn't like the idea of women in combat because they understand the reality that guys are chivalrous and will favor the women and help them carry their load. These are their words and I quote, "I don't want my husband getting killed because he was having to 'take care of some woman'." < Read 'carry her load and drag her along to keep up with the rest of the group.' The wives also understand the dynamic you inject when you put a FEW women amongst a group of hungry guys. It changes things and the guys attention becomes split between the mission and taking care of the women. THAT is the REALITY of things.

While at TBS, the Marines were experimenting with the concept of integrating male and female platoons. [Not that they wanted to but it was mandated by Congress... Just as it was mandated by Congress that the Marines had to add more officers and become more top heavy in the Officer Ranks... and mandated that the Marines should put women in combat MOS's.] Prior to that the females were put in their own companies and did all their training separately. I was in Fox Company at TBS and Golf Company was the first to have females integrated. We called it "Girl Company." Did they have issues? You betcha. During the Attack on Combat Town (after 5 or 6 days in the field without a shower), two lieutenants hooked up in the tunnels connecting the buildings. They didn't think anyone would find them. Mind you these two just disappeared in the middle of a training exercise where people were wearing MILES gear and getting shot with lasers (simulating real bullets). Would you want to depend on them to cover you when they disappeared from the fight?

So what were they doing? Suffice it to say one of the instructors, Capt Radan, was running through the tunnel and happened across the two amorous lieutenants. He simply said, "Hey you, put that away!" and kept going. I don't have to tell you what they were doing. And it goes without saying that their conduct was inappropriate.

One thing about the Marines is that the officer corps is very small and somebody knows somebody who knows you. The story about this really didn't come out until they got out of the field and were slamming cold ones at the Hawk ("O" Club) telling stories. Within a couple hours EVERYONE at TBS knew the two lieutenants and you can imagine that just like Capt KA Bar (who is reputed to have jumped out of a tree and killed a deer with his KA Bar), these two were tagged as the nasty couple who got caught doing the nasty in the middle of a firefight. In the USMC your reputation precedes you, and if your reputation is that of being unprofessional... You have your work cut out to change people's impression of you -- especially if they are sitting on the Promotion Board!

CPT Shahriar Chowdhury, I served with women and I stand behind what I said. They want to be one of the guys until it gets physically demanding and then they turn back into women. I've seen it happen. Even as an Avionics tech, where women actually do quite well, they didn't want to carry the "heavy" radios (which only weighed 43 pounds) all the way over to the hangar and would sweet talk the guys into carrying them for them while they did the paperwork. When deployments came up that they didn't want to go on, they got pregnant in order to get out of deploying. Some weren't even married. They knew how to game the system. This ended up screwing the guys because somebody had to fill that spot and it meant that the guys were going overseas more... Women that were pretty invariably got noticed and would find themselves on cushy details and gravitated toward working around the senior ranking officers. Is that fair?

As hard as the training is on men's bodies, women aren't engineered to take the same kind of abuse. Their backs and legs may be strong, but it will take a toll on their joints and they lack the upper body strength of men -- especially as they get older. I predict you will see a spike in the cost of healthcare when they retire [or worse get medically retired] with injuries sustained from training. We waste a LOT of money sending tens of women just to find two that can pass training, when the pass ratio for men is much, much higher.
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PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
PO1 Sojourner "Chancy" Phillips
4 y
What I am hearing from you is what I heard when I came in in 1992 if you have not served since the changes in last 20 years then maybe you have not seen the changes. I heard the same things about integrating combatant ships, as well as a host if other fields. I have never really experienced a male/female separated military including boot camp the only thing what was separate in my work was berthing and the head. I love how everyone's go to argument is that the men might have to take care of a woman. Well, if some of what I have seen, experienced and am still seeing is men worried about the welfare of a woman then the male version of taking care of a woman is skewed. When never got any kind of treatment that even remotely made me think I could ever get away with not carrying my radios or doing my work. Yes are there some women that I would like to choke out for doing this. But there are some lazy men that could tried every trick in the book to get out of work. I deployed with 90 men and I was the only female. No I did not have the exact same job but I was expected to keep physically with their pace. When they were on Op I was the communicator I knew what that meant and I took it seriously. My team respected me because I earned their respect by doing my job and doing it well. In the world that we live in why are we having this discussion. Our enemies are using women and children to blow us up but we are sitting here bitching about the oldest sexist argument ever made. They don't care if you are male or female, they will kill you just the same. Those women may have a tactical advantage that you men have never thought of. Maybe they can get intel that your cant get. But if you don't support their effort to defend this country in every possible way then how can any on call themselves Patriots or Defenders when ridiculous hangups like gender keep us from using every possible tactic and resource. We have a country full of weak men and women with their heads in the clouds. The silly women are sucked in to frivolous BS and we have a ton of silly men that can't be counted on to protect the very land they say they love. If it takes 2 women to inspire 2 more women or piss off 2 more men to to take up the tough cause then so be it.
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MCPO Roger Collins
MCPO Roger Collins
4 y
LIC Steve Dolgin, before we start using the IDF as an example, this may be a good article to read.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/25/womens-combat-roles-in-israel-defense-forces-exagg/?page=all

“Uniformed Israeli women patrol the borders or help to train men for combat positions, but these important missions do not involve direct ground combat, meaning deliberate offensive action against the enemy,” said Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. “None of America’s allies, much less potential adversaries, are treating women like men in the combat arms.”

Israeli women’s assignments are far more restrictive than the roles envisioned by advocates in the United States who anticipate an American military that opens all ground combat units to women, be they Navy SEALs or Army Green Berets or the Marine infantry or Army Brigade Combat Teams. All are deployed to engage in tough, close-in fighting for hours and days at a time.

But, kudos for the two females for making it through the grueling training that normally about 60% of the applicants do not.
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Capt Jeff S.
Capt Jeff S.
4 y
I would add that the women in the IDF also have a mandatory AD service of 1 year compared to the men's two years (if memory serves correct and things haven't changed). It isn't all Apples and Apples.

From a taxpayer perspective of which we ALL are, you aren't getting the same bang for the buck when you have to send 100 women to graduate 2, when 40 men would have graduated. The men provide a 20X greater benefit. Just saying... And we haven't yet explored the ultimate cost in terms of training related injuries needing treatment, and the fact that women require more health care -- even when they're healthy.

It's simply not fiscally a good idea.
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