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Women in Ranger School

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Home > Military Topics  > Women in Ranger School
 


Information about Women Attending U.S. Army Ranger School


Ranger Tab

In late 2014 the U.S. Army began an experiment to allow women to attend Ranger School. In one of the Army's latest social experiments a small group of women were be trained up and then participated in the previously all-male advanced infantry course. This one-time integrated assessment was designed as part of a larger experiment to determine what role women should play in combat untis.

The head of the U.S. Army's Infantry courses at Fort Benning, Major General Austin "Scottie" Miller is oversaw this transition. The first course with the integration of women ran in April 2015. All the women trying out in the April class failed. However, eight of them went on to attend the June 2015 class; and two of those females graduated from the course in mid-August 2015. One additional female graduated later in the fall of 2015.

Ranger Training Assessment Course. In December 2014 the Army allocated 160 class seats to females for the two-week long Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course. This pre-Ranger course takes place at Fort Benning, Georgia. Read more in "20 female Soldiers complete gender-integrated RTACs", Bayonet & Saber, April 22, 2015.

Should Women be in Special Operations? There is a move among some members of the military to incorporate women into the SOF community. There is a history of women participating in SOF. Programs like Project Diane and Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) are sure to provide fodder for those who support women attending Ranger School.

Lowering of Standards? There is concern among past graduates of the Ranger School that the physical standards of the Ranger course will be lowered to ensure that some women will graduate. Recent statements by Army leaders indicate that this will not happen; the standards will not be lowered. Hmmm. We shall see. Some news reports indicated that the ruck weight for the 12-mile foot march was lowered for the first Ranger class for females; but those early reports proved to be false. 5.

Preparation for Ranger School. This Army course is tough. It requires mental and physical toughness. In addition, there are certain skills that a Ranger student should possess prior to attending the course - leadership, technical skills, and tactical proficiency. There are Army courses that exist to provide training in these three areas - these include Infantry Basic Training, Infantry Advanced Individual Training, and the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership course. If women are allowed to attend these courses prior to attending Ranger School then their chances of passing Ranger School is increased.

Physical Fitness Test. In the early morning of the first day of Ranger School all prospective Rangers are administered a physical fitness test. This test has a big culling effect and many are dropped the first day. In the first Ranger class with women 19 females started the course along with about 400 males; at the end fo the first day they were down to 16 females.

Updated Packing List for Ranger School. Some gender specific items (like bras) had to be added. 1. One item of interest is the Female Urinary Diversion Device or FUDD 2. that allows a female soldier in the field to urinate more discreetly while standing and with minimal undressing. A similar device is also called the Stand-To-Pee (STP) 3. I wonder if it has a National Stock Number (NSN)?

Short Haircuts. The women going through Ranger School have to meet the hair cut standards. That means losing it all. 4. This is in accordance with Army Regulation 670-1 which is the Army's appearance regulation. The standard for women is 'hair length that extends no more than one inch from the scalp". The short hair is for hygiene and uniformity.

Ranger Assessment Phase (RAP). In the April 2015 Ranger course 19 females started training on an early Monday morning. Along with the women were 381 men. The first four days of the Ranger Assessment Phase the prospective Rangers are evaluated on a physical fitness test consisting of 49 pushups, 59 sit-ups, a 5-mile run in under 40 minutes, and 6 chin-ups, a swim test, a land navigation test, and a 12-mile foot march with a 35-pound rucksack in under 3 hours. At the end of RAP there were 192 Ranger students (184 men / 8 women) continuing to the next phase of Ranger training. This was an overall success rate of 48 percent (48.3 percent for men and 42.1 percent for women) for RAP week. Read more on historic Ranger School statistics at: www.benning.army.mil/infantry/RTB/

All Females Eliminated from April 2015 Ranger Class. Eleven women failed the first cut and the remaining eight failed the "Darby Phase" and did not advance to the Mountain training phase - all 19 to start the course failed. The eight women were given the chance to 'recycle' into the May 2015 Ranger class. None of the eight female students passed their second attempt of Ranger school as they did not move on to the mountain phase. Three of the eight women were given the opportunity to start Ranger School all over again - this process is referred to as Day One Recycle. The next Ranger School class began on June 21, 2015.

Kristen Griest in Ranger School 2015
Kristen Griest in Ranger School in 2015 (Army file photo)

Another Attempt. Three women started Ranger school (again) and passed the "Darby Phase" - third time is a charm. They moved on to the "Mountain Phase" and two were successful there. Two female students attempted the "Florida Phase" and successfully passed. Thus they graduated from Ranger School. Both of the graduates were described as West Point-trained officers.

3rd Female Graduates. The third female Ranger student, Lisa Jaster, passed through the course in mid-October 2015 having spent 180 days in the course after being recycled several times. She is a 37-year old mother of two and Army reservist. 7.  

First Fully Integrated Class. In November 2015 the Army started its first officially integrated Ranger Class. 8.  Five women started the course and all five were dropped at the end of the first week. 9. 

Ranger Tab Redesign. Initial reports this past summer that the coveted Ranger Tab worn by graduates of the Ranger School was to be redesigned are probably false; 10. although the rumors did prompt some concerned Ranger grads to denounce the planned changes to reflect the new Army values of diversity and female integration into combat arms units and training. However, just because it didn't happen doesn't mean that it won't in the future. Just as "Winter Rangers" sew on their tab with white thread, it is rumored that "Female Rangers" will likely use pink thread.

March 2017 - Two More Female Graduates of Ranger School. Two more women completed the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning in March 2017. They were the first female graduates in almost 17 months. Two previous female graduates (from 2015) have transferred to the Infantry branch and are now assigned with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.


Websites with Info about Ranger School

Ranger Training Assessment Course
www.benning.army.mil/tenant/wtc/pr.htm


Papers and Reports about Women and U.S. Army Ranger School

Kamarck, Kristy N., Women in Combat: Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service (CRS), December 3, 2015. Posted on website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42075.pdf


News Articles about Women in U.S. Army Ranger School

September 1, 2016. "Female NCO tries out for Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment",  Army Times.

March 7, 2016. "Proof that standards will be dropped for females entering the 75th Ranger Regiment", by Jack Murphy, SOFREP.

January 14, 2016. "Integration of Women in SOF Units", SOFREP.

December 4, 2015. "Special Ops Survey Showed 85% Opposed Serving With Women". A RAND Corporation study results goes against USSOCOM's leadership stance on the issue.

August 24, 2015. "Rangerettes: Just One Man's Opinion", by George E. Hand IV, SOFREP. The female Rangers met the standards but had plenty of help prior to the course.

August 21, 2015. "How It Really Went Down in the First Class to Graduate Female Rangers", SOFEP. A Ranger-qualified, company-grade officer who went through the Ranger course with the first 19 females to enter the training provides his perspective on the two graduates; at least what he saw of them before they got recycled in Darby phase.

August 18, 2015. "Women Graduate Ranger School; Apocalypes Fails to Present Itself", by Jack Murphy, SOFREP.

August 17, 2015. "Two Women Make History by Passing Army's Elite Ranger School". NBC News.

May 29, 2015. "5 women cut from Ranger School after second try". Army Times. The five females that were recycled in the April 2015 class failed to move on to the Mountain phase. Three of the five will be given the opportunity to start Ranger School all over again in June 2015.

May 13, 2015. "19 women washed out of Army Ranger School. That's actually a good thing". By Gayle Tzemach Lemoon, The Washington Post. It means that the Army stood by what Ranger School graduates and women soldiers alike have demanded: No one wanted nay slack cut, and it wasn't.

May 1, 2015. "Why physical standards still dog the fight about women in combat units". The Washington Post. A women might pass the Ranger School but can she hang with special operations units in combat?

April 21, 2015. "Female Rangers will lead the way, sooner or later". War on the Rocks. Retired general David Barno and Nora Bensahel say it will happen - eventually.

April 20, 2015. "Women to start Ranger School today". Army Times. As many as twenty women are expected to start the grueling 61-day long course.

April 14, 2015. "Meet the women helping the Army as Ranger School takes on female soldiers". The Washington Post.

April 13, 2015. "Inside the Army's effort to train and assess women for Ranger School". By Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post.

February 24, 2015. "Number of women set to attend Army Ranger School inches up". The Washington Post. A female Apache helicopter pilot has passed a recent preparatory course - so the number is now at six for the April class date.

February 6, 2015. "19 percent pass rate for women in Ranger prep". Army Times. Five female Soldiers pass the RTAC at Fort Benning.

February 5, 2015. "Army Ranger School to Introduce Female 'Observers' Who Haven't Met Standards". The Editor's Blog at The Washington Free Beacon. Some are questioning why female 'observer/adviser's' are being directed to shadow the Ranger School staff.

February 5, 2015. "In a historic first, five women qualify for Army Ranger School". The Christian Science Monitor. Five women completed the Ranger Training Assessment Course in January 2015 and will go on to attend the first-ever coed Ranger School in April 2015.

December 26, 2014. "Female Guard Soldier Heading to Ranger School". Afghan War News Blog. A 37-year old Guard member from Utah will attend Ranger training.

December 5, 2014. "Army sets 160 seats for female Ranger School volunteers". Army Times. The Army has allocated 160 seats for its two-week Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course.

July 14, 2012. "Letting Women Enroll in Army Ranger School is a Terrible Idea". Business Insider.

June 12, 2012. "Stephen Kilcullen: Women Don't Belong in Ranger School". The Wall Street Journal.  Kilcullen is a Ranger School graduate and served as an office in light, mechanized, and mountain infantry.

 

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Endnotes

1. Read more on the female packing list for Ranger School in "Ranger School adds packing list for women", Army Times, February 24, 2015.

2. This YouTube video provides more info than you need on the Female Urinary Diversion Device or FUDD. The video is published by the U.S. Army Public Health Command (USAPHC).
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXRxjmifjO8

3. Learn more about the stand-to-pee device at the Wikipedia link below.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_urination_device

4. For more on female haircuts in Ranger School read " Female soldiers cut off hair to meet Ranger School rule", Army Times, April 24, 2015.

5. For more on rucksack weight see "Ruck Weight Was Not Lowered for Female Ranger Students", Kit Up, April 29, 2015.

6. For more on women attending fundamental courses that provide infantry training read "The Cart Before the Horse: Women and Ranger School", Havok Journal, July 19, 2015.
www.havokjournal.com/culture/the-cart-before-the-horse-women-and-ranger-school/

7. For more on Lisa Jaster read "Army Ranger School has a groundbreaking new graduate: Lisa Jaster, 37, engineer and mother", The Washington Post, October 12, 2015.
www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/10/12/army-ranger-school-has-a-groundbreaking-new-graduate-lisa-jaster-37-engineer-and-mother/

8. The Army ran its first officially integrated Ranger Class - starting on November 2, 2015. www.armytimes.com/story/military/careers/army/2015/11/03/first-official-integrated-ranger-school-underway-army-wont-talk-women/75115630/

9. Read more in "Five women fail Army's Ranger course", USA Today, November 6, 2015.

10. See "Ranger Tab Redesign in the Works", by Paul Avallone, Tatto Zoo Blog, August 19, 2015.

11. For two recent female graduates in March 2017 read "2 Female Infantry Officers Set to Graduate Ranger School", Task & Purpose, March 30, 2017.

 

See also
Women's Integration
in Combat Units


 

 

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