Female Soldiers Participating in Army Ranger Course for First Time

Female Soldiers Participating in Army Ranger Course for First Time

January 19, 2015

Female Soldiers Participating in Army Ranger Course for First Time

For the first time, female soldiers will participate in the Army Ranger course. According to reports last week, Army Secretary John McHugh approved the change that will allow female soldiers to compete in the grueling two-month combat school.

While discussing allowing women to join men in the Army Ranger course for the first time, Lt. Col. Benjamin Garrett said.‎ "The assessment will be conducted during Ranger Course 06-15, which is scheduled to begin on April 20, 2015. The course has approximately 60 women scheduled to participate. Those who meet the standards and graduate from the course will receive a certificate and be awarded the Ranger tab."

Opening Army Ranger Course to Female Soldiers Permanent?

The Army's decision to allow women to participate in the Ranger course is not a permanent one. The Army will monitor the pilot program taking place this April and make a determination whether or not to make this permanent.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, stated previously, "We're just going to let the statistics speak for themselves as we go through this," he said, in response to a question from a soldier at a virtual town hall-style meeting on Jan. 6. "The main thing I'm focused on is the standards remain the same."

Those standards have resulted in only about 40% of participants passing the Army Ranger course.

And the female soldiers who do make it through the course will not become members of the 75th Ranger Regiment - the special operations forces unit based at Fort Benning, Georgia. Instead, passing the course will only allow them to wear the highly-coveted and respected Ranger tab.

Presently, only men can join the Ranger regiment. And to do so, male soldiers must make it through additional schooling which is mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging.

Female Soldiers in Army Ranger Course - Why Now?

As you may remember, the Pentagon ordered the services to open ground combat fields to women by 2016. While female military service members have seen combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, combat specialties like infantry, artillery and tanks, continue - for the most part - to be off-limits to women.

Many think that opening the Army Ranger course to women is due to Pentagon leaders trying to figure out if females can be assigned to ground combat units. Of course, there is still an open option to seek waivers that would bar female soldiers from armor, infantry and artillery jobs.

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