Odierno: More Women May Attend Army Ranger School

Posted by Debi Teter

women-in-army-ranger-schoolThe U.S. Army’s top officer said more female soldiers can attend the service’s elite Ranger School.

Speaking to defense reporters in Washington, D.C. this week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said the service will likely extend a pilot program to allow women to continue to attempt the grueling two-month Ranger course.

“We’ll probably run a couple more pilots,” Odierno said, according to reports. “It’s been a real success for us, and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

The Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade held its first co-ed Ranger course on April 20 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Nineteen women and 380 men were pre-screened for the combat training course.

Three of the women failed to pass the Ranger Physical Fitness Assessment, a requirement to enter Ranger School. Eight out of 16 female soldiers 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 weighing approximately 47 pounds.

But the remaining women weren’t able to complete the first phase and advance to the second phase of the course. The eight female candidates, along with 101 male candidates, will be recycled to repeat the Darby Phase of Ranger School.

“Ranger School is the Army’s toughest course, and this iteration is no exception,” Benning officials said in a press release.

Ranger School is a punishing ordeal that many young infantry leaders, both officers and sergeants, are encouraged to complete. Only about half of the participants end up graduating.


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