Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), a Ranger School graduate who served in the Army for 21 years, recently requested documents about the two women graduates of Ranger School, and now some West Point graduates are turning the tables.
Rep. Russell sent a letter earlier this week to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, requesting that the Army release documents showing both Capt. Kristen Greist's and Lt. Shaye Haver's test scores, evaluations by fellow soldiers as well as Ranger Instructors, records of injuries and sick calls, and a breakdown of their recycle histories. Russell says that his request is due several reports that standards were compromised for the two women. These lowered standards stated that the women had to carry lighter equipment, were not required to carry the heavier machine guns, were given extensive pre-training not offered to men, and were allowed to recycle much more often than men were able to.
The Army, as well as Gen. Scott Miller, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning; Col. David G. Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade; and Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Arnold of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade; have all maintained that standards for men and women were the same, and that there was no lowering of standards for anyone. According to this ArmyTimes.com article, Gen. Miller addressed some of these complaints indirectly during his Aug. 21 Ranger School graduation speech, saying "Ladies and gentlemen, [Ranger Assessment Phase] week has not changed. Standards remain the same...The five-mile run is still five miles. The 12-mile march is still 12 miles...the mountains of Dahlonega are still here, the swamps remain intact."
In response to Rep. Russell's request, a group of women who graduated from West Point Military Academy have issued a Freedom of Information Act request for records relating to Rep. Russell's time in Ranger School. Sue Fulton, a 1980 graduate of West Point, is quoted in an ArmyTimes.com article saying that "The Rangers have a code similar to West Point, that you do not lie...The congressman's implication that Ranger cadre at every level have been dishonest is offensive and goes against our core values...If he thinks that Rangers lie and standards are arbitrarily ignored, maybe that was his experience. Maybe we should look into what his experience was." Rep. Russell has not yet directly responded to the request for his records.
In addition to attending Ranger School, during Rep. Russell's time in the Army he led 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment during its deployment to Tikrit, Iraq, and he has been awarded the Bronze Star. He graduated from Ranger School in 1987 and retired as a lieutenant colonel.