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Women Soldiers Make History in First Gender-Integrated Ranger School

A group of female soldiers made history this week after earning a place in the first integrated Ranger Course Assessment at Fort Benning, Georgia.
/ Source: NBC News

A group of women soldiers made history this week after earning a place in the first gender-integrated Ranger Course Assessment at Fort Benning in Georgia.

The U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning opened Monday to a class of 19 women and 380 men, according to Stars and Stripes. Over the last four months, 20 women had secured a spot in the course assessment after passing one of four sessions of gender-integrated Ranger Training Assessment Courses (RTAC). One female soldier chose to withdraw.

Only eight women and 184 men successfully completed the first four days of Ranger School, after a series of physically grueling tests, officials told the Army Times on Thursday.

Sixteen women passed the initial fitness tests on Monday, in which soldiers must complete at least 49 pushups, 59 sit ups, six chin-ups and a timed five-mile run.

As part of the first four days, soldiers must also undergo a swim test, night and day navigation tests and a completing a 12-mile foot march within three hours while carrying a 35-pound rucksack. The next phase of Ranger School will take place in Camp Merrill, Georgia and the final phase will take place at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The Army announced it would be holding its first-ever U.S. Army Ranger Course open to both male and female soldiers on Jan. 15, with units sending qualified female soldiers to compete in gender-integrated RTAC sessions. Soldiers who pass the two-week training earn a spot in the Ranger Course Assessment.

While women who complete the Ranger Course assessment can wear the distinguished Ranger tab, they would not yet be allowed to serve in the Ranger Regiment — which still does not allow women.


— Daniella Silva