The graduating students had to prove they could endure exhausting conditions in woodlands, mountains terrain and a coastal swamp.
“It is about can they meet the standard or not, and if they can, we lean toward the fact it would probably be good if we allowed them to serve”, Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, said before he retired last week.
The impressive ladies will get their Ranger Tabs in a Georgia ceremony Friday in Fort Benning, reports the Washington Post. It may lead to opening at least some combat jobs to women.
One of the first women to complete the Army’s grueling Ranger School is a 25-year-old officer who flies Apache helicopters. To others, like decorated two-war veteran Ralph Puckett, a member of the Ranger Hall of Fame, honorary colonel of the 75th Ranger Regiment and sometime contributor to these pages, the relevant issue was keeping the high-pressure, high-endurance level of Ranger training as demanding as it has ever been.
Critics of allowing women into the military’s most elite units had used the argument that no woman has demonstrated she can keep up with men by passing Ranger School.
Another female West Point graduate, a major, is still in the mountaineering phase of Ranger School.
We’ve all heard that old statistic about how men supposedly can accrue more upper arm strength than women, but any statistical finding by definition doesn’t account for everybody. “An expert in short-notice combat deployments, the Ranger Regiment is a rapidly deployable strike force and is the largest special operations combat element in the U.S. Army”.
While it’s evident there is still skepticism over how this will impact the culture and effectiveness of the military, the two women graduating from Ranger School on Friday provide powerful counterarguments to such viewpoints.
Only one third of Ranger School students make it straight through the first time. But in the beginning, “They didn’t look any different really than anyone else”, said Sgt.
Senior Army officials have insisted that is not the case, and opened Ranger School to reporters for a few days during each phase to underscore the point and let Ranger instructors and others involved in their evaluation speak. “It is our intent to announce the final decisions to integrate the remaining closed positions and occupations to women and any approved exceptions to policy around January 2016”.
“One of the key things that the students learn is that the limit that they believe exists probably doesn’t, and that they’re capable of doing much more under very hard circumstances”, U.S. Army Ranger Association president Travis West said.
He said women could be a distraction if integrated into infantry units in the field.