SPECIAL OPERATIONS: First Two Women Pass Army Ranger Course
Ground and Glass Ceiling Breaking.
Two women have successfully completed the Army’s elite Ranger school, one of the toughest combat training courses in the world, the Army announced Monday (August 17).
The female soldiers weren’t identified beyond being described as West Point-trained officers, NBC and other news outlets reported. They were among 96 soldiers who will graduate Friday at Fort Benning, Georgia, and receive the coveted Ranger shoulder tab, the Army said.
The 96 soldiers were winnowed from 400 — 19 of them women — who started the course on April 20.
It was the first time in U.S. Army history that female soldiers were allowed to participate in the Ranger course. It is part of a one-time assessment of the program to determine how to open combat jobs to women after the Defense Department ordered that all occupations be open to women beginning in 2016
The Ranger course has three grueling phases starting with the Benning or Darby phase, which includes fast-paced instruction on troop-leading procedures, principles of patrolling, demolition, field craft, and basic battle drills focused on squad ambush and reconnaissance missions. The mountain phase consists of four days of military mountaineering training, four days of techniques training, 10 days of student-led patrols, and one administrative day, where the students are counseled on their performance.
The last phase of the Ranger course, at glin Air Force Base in Florida, focuses on skills needed to survive in a rain forest or swamp.
While only about 3 percent of active-duty soldiers have earned their Ranger tabs, doing so is considered an unofficial prerequisite for many infantry commands, the New York Times reported. And it is an explicit requirement for leading combat troops in the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the service’s premier light-infantry unit.
But the two female officers still won’t be able to apply for assignment to the Ranger Regiment, the Times reported. The elite unit has a separate selection process, which isn’t open to women yet.The same is true, so far, of postings as infantry or tank officers.
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