Two women passed the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, one of the most intense and grueling of military programs, reported CBS News.
It’s still not clear what awaits the female graduates, because the women can’t apply to join the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force now limited to men. All of that will inform Pentagon decisions about the future role of women in traditionally all-male units.
The women will receive the Ranger Tab alongside dozens of male service members in a ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of Ranger School’s headquarters, a senior Army official said Monday night.
Nineteen women started the Army Ranger course – 62 days of almost constant physical and mental stress on little food and even less sleep. Graduates also had to perform a 12-mile (20-kilometer) foot march in three hours, complete three parachute jumps and four air assaults on helicopters as well as endure 27 days of mock combat patrols.
Is this the turning point, the event that takes down the military wall that has long stood (with occasional exceptions) between women and combat? And it becomes not, women can’t serve in combat, but they can unless you give us a good reason why they can’t.
“I get goosebumps thinking about it”, retired Gen. Ann. E Dunwoody, the first female military officer to reach four-star rank in U.S. history, told NBC News.
Smith graduated from Ranger School in the early ’90s, and spent more than 20 years in the Rangers.
Captain Griest, who hails from Connecticut, is an Airborne-qualified military police officer (MP). 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.
It is the first time women have completed the “swamp phase” to earn the Ranger tab. In Iraq and Afghanistan, unconventional wars where the enemy wore no uniform and was largely invisible until the shooting began, female soldiers saw plenty of combat. “We continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best soldiers to meet our nation’s needs”.
Women weren’t given the opportunity before to disprove the Army’s hypothesis that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the other Rangers.
“We’re proceeding in a measured and responsible way to open positions to women and in all cases, notify Congress prior to opening them”, Davis said.
At a town hall meeting at Winthrop University in South Carolina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was unequivocal in his support of women serving in combat roles.