More Female Soldiers Graduate Army Ranger School


The number of female soldiers who have graduated from Army Ranger School has just increased to an even dozen, as the most recent graduates join ground-breakers Army Capt. Kristen Griest, Army Capt. Shaye Haver, and Army Reserve Maj. Lisa Jaste.

Ranger School is one of the toughest training courses for which a Soldier can volunteer.

The Army Ranger course is designed to push soldiers to their mental and physical edge. Participants have limited sleep and food while performing exhausting exercises. The physical fitness test includes 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes, three parachute jumps, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.

The tough standards make sure that only the strong survive, which is why the completion percentage for men is only 40 percent.

The Ranger Course, which was conceived during the Korean War, has changed little since its inception. It has three phases: Benning Phase of Ranger School is designed to assess a Soldier’s physical stamina, mental toughness, and establishes the tactical fundamentals required for follow-on phases of Ranger School; Mountain Phase, which focuses on military mountaineering tasks, mobility training, as well as techniques for employing a platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment; and Florida Phase,  which focuses on the continued development of the Ranger student’s combat arms functional skills. Students receive instruction on waterborne operations, small boat movements, and stream crossings

Women continue to make great strides in the military. Lt. Col. Megan Brodgen assumed command of the 3rd Special Forces Group support battalion, the first time that role had been filled by a woman.

Currently 170,000 women serve in the Army, with 600 women in infantry and armor jobs.

Joining  Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas as the destination for female officers who completed the training standards for infantry and armor are Fort Campbell in Kentucky and Fort Carson in Colorado.

Article written by: Debbie Gregory.

Army Ranger Killed in Mosul


By Debbie Gregory.

An improvised explosive device that detonated during a patrol on the outskirts of Mosul claimed the life of U.S. Army soldier 1st Lt. Weston Lee.

The 25-year-old infantry platoon leader was from Bluffton, Ga., was assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C.

According to a DoD press release, the Georgia native joined the Army in March 2015, and was killed “while conducting security as part of advise and assist support to partnered forces.”

It was his first combat deployment.

Lee’s death marks the first time an 82nd Airborne paratrooper has been killed in combat since 2014. He was also the first member of the division killed in Iraq since 2011, the year the U.S. formally withdrew all combat troops from the country.

There are now more U.S. forces in Iraq than at any other time since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal, marking an intensifying war as Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition work to push ISIS out of the last pockets of territory the extremists control in Iraq.

Lieutenant Lee, who has been stationed at Fort Benning since March of 2015, graduated from the University of North Georgia and commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Army in December of 2014. While at Fort Benning, he completed the Infantry Basic Officer’s Leadership Course prior to Ranger and Airborne schools. He has recently been assigned to 1-73 CAV, 82nd. Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Lee was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal.

“He was exactly the type of leader that our paratroopers deserve,” Col. J. Patrick Work, the 2nd Brigade commander, wrote in a statement to reporters.

We at Military Connection express our sincerest condolences to Lee’s family and friends, and express our gratitude for his service and sacrifice.

Most Male Commandos Say No to Women Serving in Special Forces


By Debbie Gregory.

According to a RAND survey, many of the men in the U.S. military’s most dangerous jobs feel that women have no place on their special forces teams.

In blunt answers to the voluntary survey, more than 7,600 special operations forces said, almost unanimously, that allowing women to serve in Navy SEAL, Army Delta or other commando units could hurt their effectiveness. They also expressed concerns that women serving in the special forces could lower the standards and drive men away.

They also expressed concern that women wouldn’t have the physical strength or mental toughness to do the grueling jobs.

Since the survey was taken, May through July 2014, women have broken through the special forces barrier by graduating from the Army Ranger course. However, the detailed results and comments written by respondents have only just been released following Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s announcement that he was opening all combat jobs to women.

That decision was based on recommendations by the military service secretaries and the leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Command. Only the Marine Corps asked to exempt women from certain infantry and frontline positions, but Carter denied that request.

Oklahoma Republican Rep. Steve Russell had asked the Department of Defense for documents about the women who attended Ranger School after becoming concerned that “the women got special treatment and played by different rules.”

Some 85 percent of the respondents said they oppose opening the special operations jobs to women, and 70 percent oppose having women in their individual units. More than 80 percent said women aren’t strong enough and can’t handle the demands of the job. And 64 percent said they aren’t mentally tough enough.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, noted that women have already moved into some special operations jobs, including as helicopter pilots and crew, members of cultural support teams in Afghanistan and in civil affairs and information operations.

The services must submit implementation plans that would address such issues by today.

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