The first women to pass the grueling training course at the U.S. Army’s elite Ranger School said Thursday they hoped their success would open doors for women seeking jobs in frontline combat. It’s a step toward increasing women’s role in war fighting. The failure rate for Ranger School is high, for both men and women, and first-hand accounts from graduates give some idea why.
Until this week, there was one very important requirement for becoming an Army Ranger: You had to be a man.
The first female Rangers graduated from training on Friday. Nineteen began the course, along with about 345 men. Gen. Austin S. Miller, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, addressed critics who questioned whether standards of the rigorous course were lowered for the two female Rangers. You can’t really be exhausted.
Although Capt. Griest and 1st Lt. Haver stand among the elite, they will not be allowed to serve under the ranger regiment in combat. If they’re tough enough, go for it. It’s good schooling.
Ranger School teaches soldiers combat skills, from standard patrols to raids and air assaults, while pushing the limits of the trainees’ physical and mental endurance. “So you’ve got to put out 110 per cent”. And after all, that’s what it means to be a Ranger. You’re carrying some of that.
Fellow Ranger School graduates said they were impressed with Griest and Haver’s abilities, and that it didn’t make a difference that they were women. Students train in a mountain landscape during the walk phase. “…I know a lot of guys that have been through it and tell me how hard the course is”. And I was struggling.
“There was no pressure from anyone above me to change standards, and, lastly, the president of the United States was not planning, nor is he here today”, Miller said. Training so BRUTAL many people don’t make it through. Haver carried the extra weight for the final half of the mission. “I probably wouldn’t be sitting here if not for Shaye”.
In January, Hoffnagle accepted an assignment to work with the female soldiers who had been selected to attend the first gender-integrated class.
“Many of them felt like they would not be able to do it”, Kirby said.
They have until the start of next year to decide whether to maintain the ban.
Since the decision to open some combat positions to women, about 111,000 posts out of some 331,000 previously closed have been opened, according to the Defense Department.
On October 1, the services will provide a report to the chairman requesting any exception to this policy. In the end, only 96 made the cut for graduation.
Personally, I found it invigorating and inspirational knowing the ladies were out there in the group somewhere not only representing military service women but simply representing their country.