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Military Connection: Twelve Women to Start Ranger School

Female Soldier

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army is edging closer to the full inclusion of female soldiers, as six more women have qualified to attend Ranger School.

In January, 2015, the Army announced that it was planning to conduct a pilot program for women at its elite Ranger School, for a cohort beginning on April 20, 2015. The Army said that as many as forty slots would be open for female soldiers who could qualify and were eligible.

To qualify for the school, the Army has required female soldiers complete a two-week Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course (RTAC) at Fort Benning, Georgia. In March, 119 soldiers (85 males and 34 females) started the RTAC session. By the end of it, only 31 soldiers, 25 males and 6 females, successfully completed the course.

The six women, all of them officers, will be joining six other women who had previously completed RTAC back in January, bringing the total number of women starting Ranger School, this month, to twelve.

But these women have a long way to go to achieve their goal. Ranger school is 61 days long, and is a grueling test of their physical and mental conditioning. Approximately 45% of soldiers admitted to Ranger School successfully complete it, with more than half of the failures occurring within the first four days. Most soldiers are disqualified during the physical fitness test conducted on the very first day, which requires candidates to complete 49 pushups in two minutes, 59 sit-ups in two minutes, six chin-ups, and a five miles run in forty minutes.

“Not every soldier is going to make it through this course,” said Major General Scott Miller, commanding general of Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence. “The standards are demanding, and the standards are not changing. They’re not changing in the pre-Ranger course, and they’re not going to change for the Ranger Course.”

Any female soldier who successfully completes Ranger School will receive a certificate, and will be awarded the elite Ranger tab. However, for now, none of the twelve women will be assigned to the 75th Ranger regiment, the Army’s special operations force.

The Army is using this pilot program as part of an effort to determine how best to include women into combat roles. This group of twelve women will be a first for Ranger School, which, until now, has only been open to men.

These soldiers are history in the making, and we wish them the best of luck at Ranger School.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Twelve Women to Start Ranger School: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Females with Ranger Tabs? By Debbie Gregory

Female RangersWhile opportunities in all branches of the armed forces are less abundant than they were just a few years ago, there is one population that appears to be in high demand for military officials. The Army could be looking for female volunteers to attend Ranger school.

Last week, Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Navy, Ray Mabus, voiced his desire to see more females in Navy and Marine Corps uniforms. Now it seems that senior Army leaders might be looking for female soldiers to participate in a one-time opportunity to attend the elite Army Ranger training.

The invitation is part of the military-wide effort to assess how to open combat-oriented occupational specialties to women. The Army is expected to decide in January if it wants to proceed with its experiment of an integrated Ranger school. If the Army does move forward, it would more than likely happen in Spring, 2015.  At that point, the Army will need female volunteers already in place and ready for Ranger school.

As part of this potential experiment, the Army is looking for two groups of volunteers, as outlined in two separate All-Army Activity messages.The Army is seeking female soldiers in ranks E-4 through O-4 who would be interested in attending Ranger school as students. All applicants must meet the same prerequisites and physical qualifications that males are held to in order to attend Ranger school.

Any female soldier who volunteers and manages to successfully complete and graduate from Ranger school will receive a graduation certificate, and be awarded and authorized to wear the Ranger tab.

However, women who graduate Ranger school may or may not be permitted to receive the associated Ranger skill identifiers, or be assigned to Ranger coded units or positions, pending future decisions about whether women will be allowed to serve in combat arms MOSs.

Female soldiers can also volunteer to serve as observers and advisers to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. These slots are open to enlisted personnel E-6 through E-8 and officers in paygrades of CWO 2-3 and O-2 through O-4. Volunteers for this assignment will not be Ranger instructors, and they will not evaluate students in the course.

Selection packets for both groups are due by October 10, 2014. Interested soldiers should work with their personnel officers and chain of command to submit their applications.

Applicants should be able to find out the results of their applications in December.

The Army has not yet determined how many volunteers it needs, part of the open-call is also is to determine the level of interest among female soldiers.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Females with Ranger Tabs? By Debbie Gregory