Fresh doubts are being raised about just what happened when two female Army Rangers graduated Ranger School this year. Revelations emerged late this week that special concessions were given to female Army Ranger School candidates in the months leading up to the graduation of the school’s first female candidates.
Before this year’s female graduates had completed their first day of Ranger School on April 20th, officials are said to have decided that “at least one” would get through.
Multiple sources revealed that women were given special treatment during the two-week Ranger Training and Assessment Course (RTAC), which is used to determine whether candidates are prepared for Ranger School. During this they were allowed access to one of the tougher sections of the actual Ranger School course in order to practice—male candidates are only allowed to see it once the test has begun. On a similar note, female candidates were also allowed to repeat key sections of the course, which was not the case for the men.
Even after completing RTAC, the female candidates went on to perform additional training in preparation for Ranger School, while male candidates were given no such option.
The U.S. Army Ranger School contains three phases that total to 61 days including marches, assault training, and patrols, across all types of terrain. Graduation rates in recent years have hovered around 50%.
Major General Scott Miller oversees the Ranger School and denied that standards were relaxed to produce female graduates. Ranger school instructors contradicted this, stating they were given orders to help produce female graduates
Once actual Ranger School began, all of the original 19 female candidates failed to pass the first phase of the test. Meetings were conducted between General Miller and the women before eight were given the option to repeat the first phase, they failed. Three of those eight were given another chance on phase one, but failed yet again.
General Miller arrived during the women’s next attempt on the course, after which they passed and progressed onto phase two.
The Ranger School was able to produce two female graduates by August 21st, one of which was shocked they made it, saying, “I thought we were going to be dropped after we failed Darby the second time.” Darby refers to one of the sections in the first phase of Ranger School.
Oklahoma Republican Representative Steve Russell requested documents on Tuesday from the Department of Defense (DOD) in relation to special treatment that might have been provided for female candidates at the school.
Currently there are no women performing as Army Rangers in combat roles. This will change on January 1st, 2016 unless actions by current and former Rangers who are pressing the issue, cause the DOD to issue an exception.