Two Women set to Graduate from Army Ranger School

By Faye Higbee

They “recycled” through two sections of training, but two women have finally passed the U.S. Army’s grueling two month Ranger school, according to the Army Times. At a graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia this Friday, they will become the first women in history to earn a Ranger tab.

94 men will also receive the coveted award.

A test of strength, leadership, perseverance.

The course is designed to teach students how to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress to “lead soldiers in small-unit combat operations.” This particular assessment is a one time only decision to learn whether women should be placed in combat roles.

Physical  requirements are the same for both men and women – daily -49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40 minutes. Then there’s four days of mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters and 27 mock combat patrols, all of which which must be accomplished on little sleep.


Women participating in close quarters combat training- photo

The Army may attempt another similar assessment cycle in the Fall, but no decision has been made.

By the numbers

19 women began the course alongside 381 men on April 20. They failed the first time through what is known as the “Darby Phase,” as did several men. 29 total students failed to meet the requirements of that phase. Three women began the “Mountain Phase” on July 11 – one woman has had to “recycle that phase beginning August 8. The two remaining women began the “Swamp Phase” on August 1.

The Swamp  phase teaches them waterborne operations, small boat movements and stream crossings. Students are required to execute extended platoon-level operations in a coastal swamp environment.

army ranger

The Swamp Phase of ranger school – photo

The two women, both officers, completed all three phases.

The Army Times reported that in general about 34% of all students have to “recycle”one or more of the phases.

“For more than two months, Ranger students train to exhaustion, pushing the limits of their minds and bodies.” Army Rangers website

The Ranger School is 62 days long. On average, only 45% of the students graduate at any one time.

Perseverance = Victory!

The Army says no standards were changed. The recycling of students is a normal part of the school. When someone doesn’t do well in one phase, they basically start over or give up.

16 of the 19 women had to quit. One is going through one of the phases again now. The other two made it all the way. To their credit, they never gave up.

Congratulations to the two women who made it, and to the entire class of new Rangers. Perseverance is victory!