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WWII Women Veterans

WWII Women Veterans: A Historical Highlight

by Liz Zaczek

March is dedicated to women’s history so it seems like the perfect time to discuss the role of women in the military during World War II. Reluctant to enter the war when it began in 1939, the United States quickly committed itself to total war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. That commitment included utilizing all of America’s assets—women included. Approximately 350,000 women served in our nation’s military during World War II. These female veterans, during their time in active service, drove trucks, performed maintenance and repaired  airplanes and other military vehicles, while others served in clerical roles throughout the branches of our country’s armed services. Playing an important role in the war effort, WAACS, WAVES, WASPS, SPARS and others performed important duties both stateside and overseas freeing up their male counterparts to join the front lines on the battlefields.  While most American History textbooks contain passages dedicated to WAACS and WAVES very little information is presented about several of the lesser known, yet just as important, female military forces and the important role these brave women played in our Navy’s, Coast Guard’s, Air Force’s and Army’s war efforts. 

 

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States officially entered World War II. A year later, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law creating the Women’s Reserve branch of the Coast Guard and the service began recruiting women for this new force. Initially it was assumed that the women volunteering to serve in the forces would have few useful skills other than typical “women’s skills” like clerical work and telephone switchboard operation. However,several newly enlisted women surprised their male superiors demonstrating their value and worth to the war efforts. A former police officer proved she could shoot as well as a man and a former professional photographer demonstrated her abilities and became a photographer’s assistant documenting the war…just to name a few.

 

The SPARS took their name, an acronym,  from the US Coast Guard motto, “Semper Paratus” and its English translation, “Always Ready”. Captain Dorothy S. Stratton, head of the SPAR forces, is credited with creating its moniker and carving its place in American history. Captain Stratton, on leave from her position as Dean of Women at Perdue University served as a Lieutenant in the Navy Women’s Reserve (WAVES) before accepting her post with the US Coast Guard. After estimating that it would need 8,000 enlisted women and 400 female officers, at its peak there were 12,000 female members of the SPARS distributed across the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.Members took over many duties on the homefront including rigging parachutes, serving as radio operators, lab techs, nurses and cooks. Many of these female military members rose through the ranks faster than their male counterparts and often hid their rank insignia from them so as to not cause strife.Among the most unique duties and assignments for these patriotic young women was the operation of the LORAN (Long Range Aid to Navigation) system. This leading edge system tracked and calculated the precise location of ships at sea. Notable among the SPARS operating stations across the United States was the  station located in Chatham, Massachusetts staffed by an all female crew, the first of its kind.

 

During their time in active duty, these women rose the ranks and held 43 different ratings from Boatswain mate to Yeoman. Originally signing on for “duration plus six” (months),within a year of the Allied victory the SPAR reserve forces were deactivated. 

 

Prior to World War II, the U.S. military showed little interest in using aircraft and flight nurses to evacuate wounded soldiers from the front lines. The global war, however, forced the U.S. Army and  Air Forces to revolutionize military medical care through the development of air evacuation (later known as aeromedical evacuation) and flight nurses.Over 1,000 women trained at the Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky as Flight Nurses through the United States Air Force and Army. From these newly trained specialized soldiers 18 medical air evacuation squadrons were formed. The first class of flight nurses formally graduated from the Bowman Field facility on February 13, 1943 however several squadrons of the newly formed unit were deployed to front overseas before the graduation, and in some cases, their training was complete. 2nd Lt. Geraldine Dishroon, the honor graduate, received the first wings presented to a flight nurse. In 1944, Dishroon served on the first air evacuation team to land on Omaha Beach after the D-Day invasion. 

 

These squadrons evacuated over 1.5 MILLION sick and wounded soldiers, sailors and Marines from battlefields across the warfront saving countless lives. Pioneers of in-flight intensive care, the flight nurses tended to soldiers mid air as they flew across Europe, the Pacific and Asia transporting them safely from battle aid stations to inter-theater and intercontinental stations and home to the USA. The planes, predominantly C-46’s, C-4’s and C-54’s, became airborne hospitals with the all female squadrons providing care from take off to landing.

 

As part of their training the flight nurses’ training consisted of aero-medical physiology, field survival, map reading, crash procedures, and physical conditioning.. Nurses needed to be and stay in top physical condition to best care for their patients during these rigorous flights. Since these planes were also used to transport military supplies and thus were not painted with a red cross to indicate their non-combat status, these evacuation flights were vulnerable to enemy attacks. For this reason, flight nurses and medical technicians were considered volunteers.

 

Flight nurses were truly unique for their time.  Not only did they operate under their own authority, they also outranked the male surgical technician that accompanied them.In the 1940s, only trained physicians could start IV’s and oxygen on a patient. The flight nurses were the first not only to do these tasks but did them flying over hostile and dangerous environments. They also had to deal with extreme medical emergencies, including shock, hemorrhage, and sedation.

 

As with any military profession at the time, flight nursing did not come without its risks and dangers. Those brave women had to keep the fighting men alive while combating the dangers in the air over the European and Pacific theaters. Many women were taken as POWs after crash landing behind enemy lines. In all, sixteen flight nurses were killed during the war.

Eventually, about 500 flight nurses served as members of 31 medical air evacuation transport squadrons operating worldwide. It is a tribute to their skill that of the 1,176,048 patients air evacuated throughout the war, only 46 died en route. Seventeen flight nurses lost their lives during the war.

 

The United States Army Nurse Corps tended to the wounded and ill soldiers on land and in the air in cooperation with the  Air Force’s Flying Nurses. By 1945, more than 57,000, the largest number of nurses on active duty in the history of the organization, Army nurses were assigned to hospital ships and trains; flying ambulances; and field, evacuation, station, and general hospitals at home and overseas. 

 

Serving as part of the Army Nurse Corps did not come without the dangers their male counterparts faced on the front lines.  In May 1942, with the fall of Corregidor in the Philippines, 67 Army nurses became Japanese prisoners of war. During their thirty-seven months in  captivity, these women endured primitive conditions and starvation rations, yet they continued to care for the ill and injured in the internment camp hospital. In Anzio in January 1944 ,army nurses dug foxholes outside their tents and cared for patients under German shellfire. Their bravery and perseverance bolstered the spirits of the soldiers who shared the same tough experience. Two evacuation hospitals, with their complement of nurses, landed in Normandy in June 1944, four days after the invasion.

 

After the war, a wide range of  public health missions required that Army nurses supervise communicable disease measures as former enemy countries were reorganized. In Hiroshima, these female officers cared for victims of the atomic bombs. In Munich, they prevented a mass epidemic among displaced persons camps. In Hamburg, the healthcare professionals established prenatal and well baby clinics. In Heidelberg, they helped people recover from the psychological impact of the devastating effects of the war.

The Corps’ military status continued to evolve in the time after the war. In one year, the branch’s active duty membership dropped from 57,000 to 8,500 nurses. On April 16, 1947, the government combined the Army Nurse Corps into the medical department of the United States Army and authorized a minimum number of no less than 2,558 nurses. It also provided permanent commissioned officer status for members of the Corps with the ranks of Second Lieutenant through Lieutenant Colonel. Specialized requirements in military nursing became the focus of the postwar era. Recruits completed courses in anesthesia, psychiatric treatment, operating room and community health nursing and hospital administration.

The war ended with the armistice on August 14, 1945. As life began to return to normal across the country and the world, these courageous female veterans suddenly found themselves being encouraged to return to their civilian lives and roles. While many did, others, with new found post-war experience confidence, used the skills they learned in the military to redefine the roles of women in the workforce. In the decades that followed, while progress was slow, serving their country in those important roles empowered the women to fight for the right to work in non-traditional jobs for equal pay and equal rights in the workplace and beyond. 

Vying to be First Women to Pass Army Ranger School: Military Connection

Military Connection: woman ranger

By Debbie Gregory.

The US Army continues to assure that the most qualified individuals are assigned to any given military position; individuals, meaning no distinction between male or female military personnel. The Army Ranger School is no longer an exception to this guideline.

Two female West Point graduates are advancing to the final phase, vying to earn the US Army Ranger tab. Staff Sgt. Gregory Space, and instructor assigned to the 5th Ranger Training Battalion at Camp Merrill, GA, assures that there are no compromises made for the female trainees because of their sex. Despite critics who may doubt that the standards are equal, Space offered the following assurance:

“I would tell them I was there, and I was one of the ones upholding those standards,” he said. “And I will be able to honestly tell them that.”

Among the first women to graduate from West Point Military Academy is Sue Fulton, now the chair of the West Point Board of Visitors, who reports directly to the President of the United States. Fulton concurs that women are being tested on how capable they are in leadership, in being tenacious and overcoming obstacles. The fact that they all are graduates of the United States Military Academy is evidence of their determination to take on any challenge.

“They are not going to give up, and that’s exactly what you want in a combat leader,” Fulton explained.

Nineteen women were among the original group who began the Ranger School in Ft. Benning, GA. Statistics show that only three percent of all soldiers qualify as Rangers, proving that this is not easily passed by any candidate. Of the original 19 women, eight passed the physical testing, then failed their patrol missions. This is not indicative of their sex in that 70 percent of all Ranger candidates experience a failed course and start the course over from the beginning, or “recycle” in the program.

“By accepting the Day 1 recycle, they absolutely validated their place here,” said Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Arnold. “This is tough, physically and mentally demanding training, and a soldier has to earn that Ranger tab. . . . What it said was they were here to earn it, that this was not a sideshow and there was not an agenda.”
Of the eight facing the option to recycle, five were dropped and three continued by starting over again. The remaining two female candidates successfully completed the 18-day Mountain Phase course. One woman and 60 men are being given an opportunity to recycle for a second try to successful complete the Mountain Phase.

The training will continue to the final phase in Florida; a 17-day extended platoon-level operation in a coastal swamp environment near Valparaiso. Those individuals who pass the final phase will graduate August 21st at Fort Benning, GA.

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.

Vying to be First Women to Pass Army Ranger School: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Miltary Connection: Female Soldiers In Army Ranger School Fail To Advance

Military Connection

By Debbie Gregory.

The remaining eight female soldiers washed out of the Army’s prestigious Ranger School after 11 others didn’t make it past the first cut. Sadly, none of these brave women will earn the vaunted black and gold Ranger tab. As for the men, 115 of the original male contenders met the requirement to begin the Mountain Phase of Ranger School in Dahlonega, GA.

The eight female candidates, along with 101 male candidates, will be recycled to repeat the Darby Phase of Ranger School.

Approximately 35 male Ranger students failed to meet the standards of Ranger School and will not be recycled, the press release said.

“They will return to their units having learned a great deal about themselves and small unit tactics, patrolling, leadership, and team work,” according to the release.

While some headlines are declaring this a failure, which suggests it’s a sign that women can’t handle the demanding tests, women made it past some of the physical hurdles at nearly the same rates as men. And the fact that no women candidates moved forward this time doesn’t spell the end of women tackling the Army’s toughest leadership course, which spans two months, three phases and endless physical obstacles, including sleep and food deprivation

These women completed the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week, which consists of day and night land navigation, obstacle courses, skill tests and a 12 mile road march with a rifle, fighting load vest and rucksack weight approximately 47 pounds.

The Darby Phase will not repeat RAP week, according to officials.

The important take-away from this exercise is that the Army has stood by what Ranger School graduates and women soldiers alike have demanded: maintaining the incredibly high standard of what senior military leaders call the “Army’s most physically and mentally-demanding course” while making room for women who could handle the test and sought the chance to meet that bar. No one wanted any slack cut, and none was.

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.

Miltary Connection: Female Soldiers In Army Ranger School Fail To Advance: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Over 4,000 Military Jobs Will Open To Women

seccareccio

By Debbie Gregory.

Earlier this year, the US Army announced their decision enabling female soldiers to be eligible for up to 4,100 positions that, in the past, would have only been open to male troops. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s (USASOC ) Directive 2015-08 was signed in February, 2015, including women for positions in the US Army Special Forces Command, National Guard airborne battalions, and tactical psychological teams. Yet to be inclusive of women are closed combat positions in Special Forces, Ranger, or other similar combat units as detailed in the Direct Ground Combat Assignment Rule.

This impetus is now the focus for all four of the services to develop gender-neutral standards for all military occupations.  Ideally, the Pentagon officials expect the rules to be in place by the fiscal year end.  The intent is to identify the best personnel to fulfill positions by passing the qualifications of the position, regardless of gender.

Currently, there are approximately 80 women participating in a training and assessment course at Fort Benning, Georgia, and six female officers have recently completed the Ranger Training Assessment Course. While the officers have earned the Ranger Tab, they will not be eligible to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment, which is still closed to women.  Recommendations from these assessments will be included in what accommodations, if any, are needed to open up Ranger School to women.

Implementing these changes in phases are deliberate. While women have proven their capabilities in many specialties already, including maneuver units, the physical demands of combat units will need to be evaluated, and whether standards will be compromised if women are included.

“The desired end state is enhanced capability, supporting the Army chief of staff’s strategic priority to build adaptive Army leaders for a complex world,” according to the USASOC statement. “USASOC is committed to maintaining the highest standards and delivering the most qualified operators to the nation, irrespective of gender.”

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: Woman Succeeds in Security Forces

Julie BreaultBy Debbie Gregory.

Currently, the Armed Forces are in a great state of flux. Military career opportunities have never been more plentiful or accessible to women. Air Force Senior Airman Julie Breault has been lucky to experience that opportunity first-hand.

While the security forces career Breault has chosen is traditionally male-oriented, Breault said she remains undeterred and unaffected by gender-role stereotypes. She has been able to fulfill a desire to serve that was instilled in her at a young age.

“I wanted to be security forces. I know a lot of people go into the Air Force and get weeded into security forces, but I chose it because I feel like as security forces I can truly make a difference,” said Breault. She is carrying on a family tradition, being a 4th-generation service member.

Breault understands that she is in a male-dominated field, but says her male counterparts treat her equally.

“When stuff hits the fan, it doesn’t matter [the] the gender of the person to the left or right of you. We’re defenders. That’s the label I’d prefer.”

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kevin Smith, Breault’s supervisor at the 97th Security Forces Squadron said Breault performs her duties just as well, if not better, than many of the males in the same career field.

“I wish more airmen would try to emulate her. She does things the best way she can and learns how to do things properly so she doesn’t have to do them again,” Smith said of Breault’s duty performance. “She’s a very hard worker. She’s one of the best that I’ve had work for me.”

As for a career in the military, Breault says her decision was easy because she wants to be a strong role model when she has children. Breault also wants to break the stereotype that women can be recognized for their hard work, and not just because they’re female.

“Women should be able to get excited about their accomplishments without having to hear, ‘You got it because you’re a girl,” she said.

Breault described her experiences and expectations as promising and sees a bright future for herself in the Air Force. She joked that she plans on staying in the Air Force until she has to be wheeled out as an old lady.

Sgt. Smith also sees a bright future for her, saying she has the type of drive and motivation needed to become a chief.

“You don’t have to give her a task if she knows something needs to be done. She’ll just go ahead, take the lead, and knock it out. She’s top-notch.”

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: Woman Succeeds in Security Forces: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Struggles for Female Combat Integration

Marine Corps

By Debbie Gregory

For all of western civilization, military combat has historically been considered a male-only occupation, with women taking up support roles in nursing and administration. But the U.S. military is currently seeking ways to integrate women into all combat roles within the special operations community. This transition has led to a problem that is troubling for military leaders, as women are not meeting the requirements set by training standards for most of these roles.

On April 2, 2015, the last two remaining females washed out of the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course (IOC). The IOC is a physically, mentally, and academically demanding program,  with only 25% of all Marines who attempt it making it to completion. So far, no female has ever completed the program, with these last two failing to make the cut during the Combat Endurance Test. It is worth noting that 81 of the 90 males also washed out that day.

While the eligibility standards were lower for women to get into the program than for men, the requirements were equal for both genders to successfully pass it. So far, of the 29 women have attempted the IOC, none were able to complete it. Only three made it through the Combat Endurance Test, but weren’t able to complete the IOC.

This latest session of the IOC was the last chance for women to enter the program as volunteers. In the future, all women who apply for ground intelligence officer positions will have to pass the IOC in order to achieve that specialty, the same as any male Marine.

Enlisted female Marines have had greater success at the Infantry Training Battalion course, where 122 of 358 women have passed. Despite completing this course, these women were not put into combat jobs, but the Pentagon and the Marine Corps are looking for ways to integrate female Marines into combat units in 2016. One obstacle will be that there aren’t any female officers who have passed the IOC.

Many people around the country will read about the statistics of women in the military not making the grade in these programs and consider the need to lower the standards of these programs, at least for women. But military leaders and the women in the military are steadfastly against this notion.

The bar has been set. It is the responsibility of  the women seeking these roles to make it over that bar. The requirements set for these military programs are strict for a reason, so that only the best of the best enter the ranks of the elite.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans 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 Boardinformation 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: Struggles for Female Combat Integration: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Can Women Cut it In Ranger School?

rangersBy Debbie Gregory.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we have been keeping you updated on the opportunities opening to women in the military. We are happy to report on the progress the female warriors undergoing the Airborne Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning.

While it isn’t unusual that a class of 399 soldiers started their 62-day course to become  U.S. Army Rangers, what is unusual is that 19 soldiers were women. This is the first time in the 64 year history of Ranger School that women were allowed to train.

After the first four days, there are 184 men and eight women left.

Capt. Marcelle Burroni, an assigned observer/advisor called this event “historic.” For her colleague, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sun, it was just another day.

“I am an instructor. I am going to instruct whoever they put in front of me just the same,” Sun said.

The training kicked off with “RAP week” or Ranger Assessment Phase, which consisted of candidates meeting the following standard:

  • 49 pushups
  • 59 sit-ups
  • Running 5 miles in 40 minutes or less
  • Six chin-ups

There is no change in standards for women.

Burroni said she was not surprised at the results from the physical assessment and has “no doubt” there will be women successfully complete the course. But for now all eyes are on the women, she said.

“I think the challenge for them is to even show up here,” Burroni said.

That is the challenge for any soldier, Sun echoed.

“It takes a lot of guts to come here and try male or female,” Sun said. “… This is one of the few schools where if you fail, you are out. There is a stigma attached to failure in the Army. If they have the guts to come and try, that is a lot more than I can say for a lot of people,” something Burroni concurred with.

“Not everyone even on the male side of the house has the intestinal fortitude to show up for Ranger School,” she said.

And the statistics don’t lie. Only around 3% of the Army has earned a Ranger tab.

All of the women who started the course had successfully completed a two-week Ranger Assessment Training Course at the Warrior Training Center on Fort Benning.

The training course mirrors the first couple of weeks of Ranger School with the physical fitness test, land navigation and marching.

“The senior leaders of the Army want to set the women up for success, best we could,” Deputy Commandant of the Infantry School Col. William J. Butler said. “We wanted everybody to have a common reference and common framework. That is why we brought all of the women who wanted to come to the course to this pre-Ranger course.”

The most recent test was the Darby Queen, nearly a mile of rolling Chattahoochee County terrain on the far eastern reaches of Fort Benning, presenting 26 obstacles for Ranger School students to navigate.

They will work out of Camp Darby until May 8th, when they will be told if they have met the standards to move to Camp Merrill in the North Georgia mountains. The course concludes at Camp Rudder near Destin, Florida

“We are a long way from whatever decision is made on gender integration in the Army, but this will provide valuable information,” Commandant of the Infantry School Gen. James Rainey said.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor. Rangers, lead the way

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: Can Women Cut it In Ranger School?: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Can Women Work in Special Forces?

women special

By Debbie Gregory.

Today, feminism is stronger than ever. Companies, such as Proctor & Gamble, have started campaigns to tackle the stereotypes that commonly associate women as being the weaker sex.  The Always “Like a girl” campaign asks why “run, fight, or throw like a girl,” can’t mean, “Run like a girl and win the race?”

This stereotype for women being weaker is prominent in the armed forces. Surveys found that men in U.S. special operations forces do not believe women can meet the physical and mental demands of their commando jobs. They also expressed concerns that the Pentagon would lower standards to integrate women into their elite units.

However, not all men agreed, and not all women disagreed. The studies found major misconceptions within the special operations as to whether women should be brought into these former male-only jobs.

The U.S. Special Operations Command consists of more than 68,000 people, including 3,000 civilians. The main survey went to around 18,000 people who are in positions not available to women, with approximately half of them completing the survey.

Another survey revealed concerns that if they were allowed into special ops positions, women could be treated more harshly, or unequally. Additionally, there were concerns that they would be subject to increased sexual harassment or assaults.

The ban on women in combat jobs was lifted in 2012, and slowly integrated women into male-only front-line positions. It is expected that all combat jobs will be open to women by January, 2016. If the positions are not open, an explanation must be written as to why they are not open.

Positions within the Special Ops, including the clandestine Navy SEAL and Army Delta units, are considered to be the most grueling and difficult jobs in the military. Training and qualifying courses push troops to their every limit.

Defense officials have stressed that they will not reduce standards in order for women to become eligible for these positions. The reaction from women integrating into more demanding combat positions, which even men find difficult qualifying for, have been mixed.

As of now, approximately 7,000 positions within special operations forces have been opened to women. One woman made it through training to become a pilot in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, a specialized unit used to fly forces fast, low, and deep behind enemy lines at night. There are currently three female pilots and 41 other women going through training for the helicopter crews, knows as Night Stalkers.

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: Can Women Work in Special Forces?: By Debbie Gregory

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: “American Odyssey” – NBC’s New Television Drama

american ody

By Debbie Gregory.

Television drama is trending to feature women of power and influence, and the new series “American Odyssey” joins these ranks. Anna Friel stars in this new thriller as Sgt. Odelle Ballard, a soldier serving as an Arabic translator to a Special Forces team in Mali. Their mission is to eliminate a terrorist commander, but when unexpected intelligence is uncovered and the team is attacked, Sgt. Ballard becomes the sole witness and survivor. The series chronicles her determination to seek the truth behind the conspiracy by which her comrades became casualties and her journey to return home.

Simultaneous to Sgt. Ballard’s point of view, the saga is intertwined with the life of an attorney in New York. As he investigates his case on a major merger, Peter Decker, played by Peter Facinelli, uncovers evidence related to the actions in Mali, and the attack that supposedly took out all members of the team. “American Odyssey” creatively weaves the perspectives of both Decker and Sgt. Ballard, and continually reveals more of what, and who, are contributors to international cover-up and espionage.

Writer-director Peter Horton of “Grey’s Anatomy”, and writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster of “The Following” fame, collaborate to create this dynamic and multi-layered action drama. Much of the series was shot in Morocco, which provides for an impressive backdrop to the action.  Casting director Salah Benchergra lent a unique flavor to the cast, especially in casting a young 14-year old boy with no acting experience, but as a result provides a very believable character integral to Sgt. Ballard finding her way.

The series also stars Jim True-Frost (“The Wire”), Sadie Sink, Omar Ghazaoui, Elena Kampouris (“Men, Women & Children”), Daniella Pineda, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Lost”) and Treat Williams (“Everwood”).

“American Odyssey” airs on NBC at 10 pm eastern, 9 pm central.

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: American Odyssey – NBC’s New Television Drama: by Debbie Gregory