Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Ranger-qualified Females

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver made recent history as the first two women to ever pass the rigorous Ranger training course and graduate from the U.S. Army's elite Ranger School at Fort Benning, GA.

With their graduation, discussion of women’s role in combat positions has come to the forefront. Some restrictions on women serving in combat will be lifted next January. It could take a couple of years, however, before women will be recruited, trained, and assigned to some of the roughly 245,000 job now legally closed to them, according to The Military Times.

Maj. Gen. Austin S. Miller, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, addressed critics who questioned whether standards of the rigorous Ranger course were lowered for the two females. They met every requirement the men did, he said.
Capt. Kristen Griest (left) and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver (right)
Gen. Miller described the two female soldiers as "physically and mentally very capable" and said the standards of the course were not changed. "Standards are still the same ... a 5-mile run is still a 5-mile run," he said. "Standards do not change. A 12-mile march is still a 12-mile march."

The Pentagon describes Ranger School as "the Army's premier combat leadership course, teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead soldiers during small unit combat operations."

The current class started in April at Fort Benning, with 381 men and 19 women. The students were forced to train with minimal food and little sleep and had to learn how to operate in the woods, mountains, and swamplands.

Students also had to undergo a physical fitness test that included 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes, six chin-ups, a swim test, a land navigation test, a 12-mile foot march in three hours, several obstacle courses, four days of military mountaineering, three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.

By the end of the 62-day course, 94 men and two women met all the requirements

It's not clear what awaits the female graduates, however.

Although Haver and Griest are now Ranger-qualified, unlike the male graduates, the two women can't apply to join the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite special operations force. The Pentagon isn't expected to make final decisions about exactly what combat roles women will be allowed to fill until later this year.

Capt. Griest, of Connecticut, is an Airborne-qualified military police officer. 1st Lt. Haver, a Texas resident, is an Apache helicopter pilot.

Do you have any thoughts you'd like to share about this timely topic?

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