RETIRED PLATOON SERGEANT: Letting Women Enroll in Army Ranger School Is A Terrible Idea

The Wall Street Journal has published the opinion of Stephen Kilcullen, an ROTC grad (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) and Ranger School grad in a piece titled Women Don’t Belong in Ranger School.

He picks up from a quote by General Ray Odierno who claims that the Army owes women a shot at Ranger School:

“If we determine that we’re going to allow women to go into infantry and be successful, they’re probably at some time going to have to go to Ranger School.”

Odierno would be right if that’s all Ranger School is – a punch hole in a ticket to command. Kilcullen says:

It is this culture of excellence and selflessness that attracts young men to the Ranger brotherhood. The Ranger ethos is designed to be deadly serious yet self-deprecating, focused entirely on teamwork and mission accomplishment. Rangers put the mission first, their unit and fellow soldiers next, and themselves last. The selfishness so rampant elsewhere in our society has never existed in the Ranger brotherhood.

And that is the secret of the brotherhood’s success. Some call it “unit cohesiveness” but what they are really describing is a transition from self-interest to selfless service. The notion of allowing women into Ranger School because denying them the experience would harm their careers makes Ranger graduates cringe. Such politically correct thinking is the ultimate expression of the “me” culture, and it jeopardizes core Ranger ideals.

But, that doesn’t matter to Big Army — it doesn’t matter to those people who are going to make the decisions, and who think that special operations is some exclusive club they can’t join. Big Army leaders like Eric Shinseki who took Rangers’ berets from them and gave them to everyone, because when Shinseki was a tanker who had his tanker black beret taken from him in 1979, he couldn’t wait to take it back from the Rangers.

If I thought for a second that allowing women in Ranger School wouldn’t change the school and the valuable lessons they teach young combat arms leaders, I’d say go ahead.

But I know Big Army better than that.

I watched simple things like allowing pregnant soldiers to remain in the service turn into a huge leadership problem. I saw the cadet corps of The Citadel blamed for the failure of Shannon Faulkner when she dropped out within days of enrolling after it took two years of legal battles to get her in the course. Wiki says of her:

After four hours of the military indoctrination training, she spent the remainder of the first week in the infirmary before voluntarily resigning, citing emotional and psychological abuse and physical exhaustion.

Yes, after four hours, she was exhausted. Actually, she expected to be hand-carried through four years of college and spent not one minute preparing for the rigors of cadet life. And yet the cadets at the Citadel were blamed for her failure.

Similarly, the media would expect women to graduate from Ranger School and blame the instructors and students for their failures (there’s a thing called “peer evaluations” at Ranger School last time I checked), so Big Army, in its infinite wisdom would change the standards, and they’d probably do away with peer evals – one of the most important parts of the school, so arseholes don’t get to be Rangers until they change their ways.

The whole point of Ranger School is to simulate combat stress as closely as possible. It’s mentally and physically demanding and there’s no room for relaxed standards, unless we’re willing to only fight enemies who’ll agree to relax their own standards in regards to fighting women.

This isn’t a post against women in general, it’s post against Big Army who I know will screw this up.

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