After the graduation of the first women from Ranger School, the Army made a huge announcement earlier this week - Ranger School is open to women without restrictions!
As we mentioned in a previous blog entry, Capt. Kristen Greist and Lt. Shaye Haver complete the grueling school after 123 days of training, graduating along with 94 men on August 21st. In total, 19 women and around 300 men began the class together in April.
At a minimum, Ranger School takes 61 days to complete, although it can last much longer for any soldier who is permitted to repeat a failed portion of the course or "recycle". The majority of soldiers in any class will have to recycle at least one portion of the training. Both Greist and Haver were recycled twice, while 16 of the other women were dropped for inability to meet the school's standards. The final woman to begin the April course has advanced to the final phase of training and could graduate as early as September 18.
Both Army Secretary John McHugh and Gen. Mark A. Milley mentioned in their statement that they want to give every qualified soldier the chance to attend Ranger School in order to "[ensure] we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations".
One requirement for the women that previously attended Ranger School has been altered - passing the preliminary Ranger Training and Assessment Course (RTAC) is now no longer required. RTAC was initially required for all 19 women who attended Ranger School, but it will now be optional - the same as it is for men. RTAC will instead be strongly recommended for both male and female soldiers, in order to better prepare them for the challenges of Ranger School.
The deadline for services to either open all jobs to qualified women or explain why they need a waiver for a specific job is late this year, with announcements made public around January 1. The Army's opening of Ranger School this early is a bit of a surprise, though it isn't yet decided whether or not the 75th Ranger Regiment and other Special Forces units will be open to women, but that decision will likely be made in the coming weeks.