As one of the mottoes of the US Army’s elite regiment puts it, “Rangers lead the way.”
This week, Captain Kristen Griest, 26, and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver, 25, will be awarded the prestigious black and gold Ranger tab along with 94 of their male counterparts.
Ranger candidates arrive for training in the best shape of their lives and survive on a meal a day and just a few hours of sleep — all the while completing some of the toughest military training in the world.
“Ranger School is a gut check,” Jack Murphy, a Special Operations
75th Ranger Regiment veteran and managing editor of the military focused publication SOFREP told Business Insider.
“…When you see another soldier wearing a Ranger tab on his or her uniform you know that you have both slogged it out through some extremely challenging training, which automatically builds a certain amount of trust in each other,” Murphy added.
Each year approximately 4,000 students attend Ranger School. Sixty per cent of those candidates wash out of the course.
On April 20, West Point graduates Griest and Haver entered into the first gender-integrated Ranger School, alongside 380 men and 18 other female candidates.
Griest, a military police officer from Connecticutt and 1st Lieutenant Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot from Texas, completed the full Ranger course in four months.
Welcome to Ranger School
The US Army divides the gruelling course into three phases: “Benning,” “mountain,” and “Florida.”
During the Fort Benning phase of Ranger School, which takes place in Georgia, a soldier’s physical stamina, mental toughness, and tactical skills are evaluated and fine-tuned.
On the last day of the Benning phase, Ranger candidates conduct an ardudous 12-mile march while carrying a 35-pound ruck sack — and without the luxury of drinking water. About 50% of students will pass this phase of the course, according to the Ranger School website.
During the appropriately named mountain phase, Ranger students are sent to the northern Georgia mountains to continue to learn how to sustain themselves in adverse conditions.
“The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the emotional stress that the student encounters afford him the opportunity to gauge his own capabilities and limitations as well as that of his peers,” according to the Army.
The last phase consists of fast-paced field training exercises in which candidates are evaluated based on their execution of high-stress raids, ambushes, and close-combat attacks.
All students must pass an intense physical fitness test that includes 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run with a 40 minute time-limit, 6 chin-ups, a timed swim test, a land navigation test, several obstacle courses, 3 parachute jumps, 4 air assaults on helicopters, and 27 days of mock combat patrols.
Unlike their male Army Ranger counterparts, both women will not be able to apply to the 75th Ranger Regiment, the premier tier of Army special operations with its own unique set of physical requirements.
The Pentagon is scheduled to make a decision on which combat roles will be opened up to women later this year, CNN reports.
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