In what is a first for the Army, eight women have made it through the initial four-day assessment at Ranger School, officials said Thursday. The news raises the prospect that female soldiers will graduate from the elite course for the first time ever.
The tough women made it past Ranger Assessment Phase, commonly called “RAP Week,” along with 184 men according to officials at Fort Benning, Ga. Only 40 percent of students usually make it through the phase, which includes doing everything from chin-ups and push-ups to an exhausting 12 mile road march and a survival test that calls for climbing along a rope that is suspended over water.
Monday marks the first time ever that Ranger School was opened to women. An army spokesmen said 381 men and 19 women started on Day 1, meaning 48.3 percent of men and 42.1 percent of women made it through RAP Week. Both are within historic norms for Ranger School, which shows that the women did not get any special treatment either for or against.
RAP Week is usually the largest hurdle to graduating the 62 day Ranger School. Approximately 75 percent of the students who make it through eventually go on to graduate, Ranger School officials said.
The prospect of having women in the Army's elite ranks shows the Army is slowly but surely becoming more progressive, though it still faces calls to include women in its elite units should they pass the standard tests.