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Last Three Female Ranger Candidates Try Again: Military Connection

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By Debbie Gregory.

Three female soldiers who refuse to give up their dream of earning the coveted Army Ranger Tab have passed the grueling physical fitness test that kicks off every cycle of the course.

The one female major and two female first lieutenants who were offered Day One Recycles, passed the Ranger Physical Assessment, said Col. William Butler, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School. The original group consisted of 19 women.

The famously punishing first four days of Ranger School are known as the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week.

It includes 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 in under 3 hours.

“Anybody that takes a day-one recycle — be it a male or female soldier — it displays an incredible amount of grit and determination; they want to earn the Ranger Tab,” said Col. David G. Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. The three female soldiers are on their third attempt to make it through the two-month course.

The women were given the opportunity to start Ranger School all over after twice failing to pass the first phase of the school, also known as the Darby Phase. They did not have to repeat RAP week the first time they were recycled.

“They earned it,” Fivecoat said last week. “The overall performance of the three … was very high. All three were close to making it through the Darby Phase. Let’s not forget, they were given a Day One Recycle, which means they get a chance to start all over again, and that includes RAP week. That is a daunting task for anyone, male or female.”

The women are part of a one-time, integrated assessment of the storied school. The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat arms jobs to women, and it is a first for Ranger School, which until now has been open only to men.

Ranger School students who make it through RAP week move on to the Darby Phase, which is fifteen days of intensive squad training and operations in a field environment at Fort Benning.

Whatever happens, the three females that remain have developed a reputation for themselves in the eyes the Ranger instructors.

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Last Three Female Ranger Candidates Try Again: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory