FORT BENNING, Ga.,— The U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence announced yesterday that 96 soldiers, including two women, met the standards of the Swamp Phase and will graduate from the Ranger Course Aug. 21.
Ranger School is the Army’s premier combat leadership course, teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress to lead soldiers during small-unit combat operations. A graduation ceremony will be held on Victory Pond here for those students, who met the standards of the entire Ranger Course.
The Ranger Course is a 62-day course on leadership and small unit tactics that pushes Ranger students to their mental and physical limits by forcing them to operate on minimal food and sleep. About 34 percent of students who enter Ranger School recycle at least one phase of the course.
“Congratulations to all of our new Rangers. Each Ranger School graduate has shown the physical and mental toughness to successfully lead organizations at any level. This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential. We owe soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable, and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retain the best soldiers to meet our nation’s needs,” Army Secretary John M. McHugh said.
During the course, students learn how to operate in three different environments: woodlands in Fort Benning, mountainous terrain in Dahlonega, Georgia, and coastal swamp in Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Highlights of the course include a physical fitness test consisting of 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a 5-mile run in 40 minutes six chin-ups; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours; several obstacle courses; four days of military mountaineering; three parachute jumps; four air assaults on helicopters; multiple rubber boat movements; and 27 days of mock combat patrols.
About 165 men and two women began the training in the coastal swamps of Eglin Air Force Base on Aug. 1. Students selected to recycle the Swamp Phase will start the phase again Aug. 29.
Nineteen women and 381 men started Ranger Class 06-15 on April 20. Eight women successfully completed RAP week; however, all were recycled into Ranger Class 07-15 as Darby inserts for a second attempt at patrolling. After the second Darby Phase attempt, five were dropped from the course and three were given a Day One recycle into Ranger Class 08-15, starting the course again June 21.
These three women met the standards of the Benning Phase and moved on to the Mountain Phase on July 10. All three women passed the knot test, military mountaineering skills assessment and the foot movement up Mount Yonah, and they were given opportunities to lead patrols. One woman recycled into Ranger Class 09-15 to start the Mountain Phase again Aug. 9.
Two women received a passing grade in the mountains during platoon level combat patrols and moved on to the Swamp Phase on Aug. 1. The two women also met the standards of the Swamp Phase, proficiently leading waterborne platoon level combat patrols and will earn the Ranger Tab, Aug. 21.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today that the Defense Department is required to advise Congress of its “intent to integrate.”
“We’re proceeding in a measured and responsible way to open positions to women and in all cases, notify Congress prior to opening them,” Davis said. “It is our intent to announce the final decisions to integrate the remaining closed positions and occupations to women and any approved exceptions to policy around January 2016.”