Women May Finally Go Through One Of The US Army's Most Gruelling Training Courses

The US Army is seeking female volunteers for its gruelling two-month Ranger School for an integrated assessment to take place next spring, reports Michelle Tan at The Army Times.

“Right now we’re going through the deliberate planning process, identifying volunteers, and selecting them over the next few months,” Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, told The Times. “In January, we’ll determine the feasibility of conducting an assessment of the Ranger course in the spring of 2015.”

The possible move to integrate an all-male training course — one that often leads soldiers into special operations units — could be an opening for women to not only serve in direct combat roles, but highly-specialised fields such as Army Rangers or Special Forces.

From The State:

If a woman soldier is selected, she’ll have to take a pregnancy test, according to the Army order inviting female candidates to apply for the school. She’ll also have to demonstrate that she can do 49 pushups, 59 sit-ups, six chin-ups and complete a five-mile run in 40 minutes. She’ll also have to finish a 12-mile march in less than three hours.

“If a female thinks she’s physically strong enough to get through the school to get the tab, she should be able to go,” said Staff Sgt. Marscha Boydston, a supply specialist in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps.

Ranger School is among the toughest training in the U.S. military. On the school’s official website, it posts grim statistics for those seeking the coveted Ranger Tab, including a graduation rate just barely over 50% and a note that 60% of failures occur within the first four days (training is 62 days total).

The debate over sending women to Ranger school has been ongoing for quite some time, and has stirred up stark divisions on both sides. Some argue integration could to lead to lowered standards, while others cite standards being upheld by the Air Force and Navy even as those services put women into fighter jets and submarines.

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