Friday, January 16, 2015

Ranger Women

From USA Today:
"Army opens legendary Ranger School to women"

For the first time, women will be allowed to attend Ranger School, one of the military's most physically demanding courses, in a major milestone on the path to open ground combat occupations to female soldiers. About 60 women volunteered and met the basic requirements to enter the course as part of a one-time assessment, the Army said Thursday. The co-ed class will begin April 20 at Fort Benning in Georgia. The average class size is about 300. "Those who meet the standards and graduate from the course will receive a certificate and be awarded the Ranger tab," said Lt. Col. Ben Garrett, an Army spokesman. A decision about whether to permanently open the course to women will be made after the course is completed. The Army has said it will not change any standards for women in the course. The Ranger School, started in 1952, has achieved legendary status as a test of a soldier's strength and stamina. The school is not an official requirement for promotion, but earning the coveted Ranger decoration sets soldiers apart from their peers. The two-month course tests endurance through long patrols conducted with little or no sleep and marches carrying a heavy combat load. The decision comes after the Pentagon ordered the services to open ground combat fields to women by 2016. Services can still request a waiver if they want to exclude women from any occupational field. Women have seen plenty of combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the military has continued to open an increasing number of jobs to female servicemembers. But so-called ground combat specialties, such as infantry, artillery and tanks, have largely remained off-limits to women. Those jobs require physical strength and often require troops living close together. The Pentagon's decision to allow women into all ground combat jobs has triggered a heated debate within the military. Critics see the decision as a politically motivated effort that won't contribute to the military's No. 1 job: winning wars. "The overwhelming majority of those who have experienced direct ground combat are in favor of keeping the exclusion in order to preserve the combat power of those units," said Gregory Newbold, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general who served in the infantry. Newbold said introducing women into the primitive fighting and living conditions of the infantry and other ground combat units would erode the units' effectiveness. "What I'm talking about is the inevitable consequences of human dynamics," he said. But Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, said allowing women to compete for all jobs will ensure the military gets the best people in the right jobs. "We think women should be permitted to compete for everything," she said.

^ This is a step in the right direction for the military. Women should be allowed to try for any position a man is. I hope this decision becomes permanent. ^

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/01/15/combat-women-army-ranger-school/21814747/

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