FORT BENNING, Ga. -- The one weakness that plagued the two female graduates of Army Ranger School was that they had far less infantry training than male students going into the course, Ranger School officials said.
Ranger School is physically and mentally punishing leadership course that's open to the officer and enlisted ranks of all services, but it has only been opened to women on an experimental basis since April. For the past two years, only about 40 percent of men graduate from the course, and only about 25 percent of that number make it through without having to repeat one or more of the three phases.
However, the senior leadership at Ranger School and the Maneuver Center of Excellence agree on one point: If male students had an advantage over females in this gender-integrated Ranger course, it had less to do with physical strength and toughness and more to do with the on-the-job experience that most male students have acquired serving in infantry roles.
What we learned was it wasn't specific to the females, it was more tied to the MOS" jobs that offer no exposure to infantry skills, Arnold said, referring to the acronym for military occupational specialties. "You can't say it was because they were a woman; it was from a lack of experience doing these things. So if you are not an infantryman, the learning curve is high."