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Thread: First 2 females to graduate from Army Ranger School

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    First 2 females to graduate from Army Ranger School

    Plenty of press on this. I am mentioning it because I know one of the graduates.

    Kristen Griest was an MP platoon leader in the 4STB battalion (506th Infantry Regiment 'Currahee') when I was the battalion XO for a bit. She is tough, strong and fit. In the US Army, being an MP was about the most demanding job a female could get. LT Griest excelled. She regularly beat 98% of the guys during 12-mile foot marches (that are a bit like a race...). I am not surprised at all that she tried Ranger School. I am very impressed and pleased that she completed it.

    So with that said, the big, seamingly unasked question is 'what next?'. For now-CPT Griest, I think she should look to SOCOM. There are very specific mission sets that require females. She has credentials that anyone in that world respects and it basically puts her at the top of the list (with the exception of folks with certain language skills).

    I don't see her going to the infantry world, although she openly spoke of desiring that option back at Fort Campbell. As for the Ranger Regiment, having a tab is only one part of being in that organization. It is not an automatic qualification for membership.

    Tankerteve

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    Tankersteve,

    There's never been any question that female outliers can always be found to meet extraordinary physical fitness standards. So a few have. To what point, however, unless driven from an agenda that can't necessarily have the army's best interest at heart. A ranger tab today is simply a point-of-departure for any infantry officer. Anything less is an absolute rariety now days in any combat arms battalion, much less infantry.

    So these women shall be held high for what is expected from their male peers...and then what?

    Extrapolated into "proof" that women can be effective components of a line infantry company?

    I remain convinced that the baseline physical requirements to function effectively in a combat arms battalion exceed the MAX physical capabilities of 90%+ females. I'm equally convinced that many of the remaining 10% would have little interest in the combat arms. Of the remaining few possessing both interest and aptitude, what accommodation to standards and culture must be relinquished in order promote a positive, accepting environment?

    Much ado about nothing except for the needless waste of slots and training resource dollars IMV. At some, belated, point harsh reality will slam into these socio-cultural imperatives.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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    S2,

    She is one of the first 2 females to pass the Army's premiere leadership school. I think she and her teammate broke new ground, as many have said that no woman could EVER meet the course standards. On a physical ability note, CPT Griest was apparently #2 on the 12-mile roadmarch during Darby. On her 3d try, after already having gone thru nearly 60 days of continuous training. This isn't an event you QC and learn the tricks - she outstudded all her male counterparts except 1 in an event that most assume males have a significant advantage.

    She has now stated that she is interested in special operations. As an MP platoon leader, she was already part of a larger infantry organization (in different role) and did well there, including while deployed. As I alluded, there are specific roles where females may play a very necessary role.

    On women in combat arms, I'd offer the example of Canada - combat arms are open to women. Very few meet the physical requirements to exist there. Even fewer stay beyond their initial contract. But those that do meet the standard are allowed to stay and have done well. I acknowledge that none have gone on to senior leader levels. Is that the requirement to allow my daughter equal opportunity - that she will stay to be a general?

    Standards don't change. Culture? Hmm, I think we (self included) all pretty much thought the world would end with gays being allowed to openly serve. I am sure that our predecessors thought the same with blacks/minorities. Culture has to adjust, as it is created by the 'owners' but they have no inherent absolute right. Standards should remain inviolate. They exist for a reason (and if they don't, just from tradition, then they may change as well).

    We live in a country where we have guaranteed all people the same rights. We have denied females in the military access to certain programs, which are considered critical for many leaders. I don't know if combat arms will open to women. But a school that claims to be a leadership course and is highly regarded throughout the military had no right to deny women.

    Wasted slots - the same could be said for all the men who have failed out. Should we start a witch hunt and find the O-5s and O-6s who signed off on waivers and assessments that their protégés could pass the course and then failed? Failed in the first 4 days? Were offered a Day 1 restart but declined? Making this about resources and slots for those truly deserving starts down a pretty interesting slippery slope.

    Sorry if this comes off disjointed. But I have seen the ability of some women and it put many men to shame. Very little was done to 'accommodate' lots of women down range and in small units during training. I personally assumed they would need showers on a more regular rate, amongst other things. But they have showed their ability to meet the standard, in Ranger school, which is no small feat.

    Tankersteve

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    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Spot on Tanker Steve. (we need the like button back)
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    It happens I've seen women in combat arms.Infantry PL's,tank compny CO's and the sort.They can appear to meet the standards,sort off.Thanks to able NCO's and subordinate officers.But that's in peace time.
    Otherwise,sorry,but war is nasty.There may not be shower accomodations for months.And there may be enough problems without the moods of a woman at period.
    Those who know don't speak
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    Tankersteve,

    Solid reply to my thoughts. Thank you. I'll start here-

    "...This isn't an event you QC and learn the tricks - she outstudded all her male counterparts except 1 in an event that most assume males have a significant advantage.

    She has now stated that she is interested in special operations. As an MP platoon leader, she was already part of a larger infantry organization (in different role) and did well there, including while deployed. As I alluded, there are specific roles where females may play a very necessary role..."


    Note my thoughts on female physical outliers. Clearly, she's to be included. The proof's before us.

    Further, I've made no bones about the presence of women within combat service support and combat support units. That, of course, recognizes elements from both those categories routinely find themselves in the midst of battle...and must be prepared to defend, survive and continue mission.

    Finally, I understand the career-enhancing benefits accrued to any soldier or officer successfully completing the ranger course. Got it. Leadership courses such as Ranger School are valued ticket punches on the combat arms career advancement path-heretofore denied to women. Now that barrier has been broken.

    I'd need to believe that accession to rank and command/leadership assignments has been a real, as opposed to perceived, barrier directly traced to an absence of these courses in her MILPERCEN jacket, i.e.

    "We're not promoting her because our support battalion senior leadership requirements include ranger school..."

    Would you attest that this has been the case at promotion boards and decisions regarding support battalion and brigade command assignments? I wouldn't know as those decisions were made at echelons well above my reality. If so then, yeah, it would seem she's at a severe disadvantage to be a candidate for senior command-level positions within her M.P. branch and among our FSBs.

    None of this, however, strikes to my concern. THIS, however, does-

    "...On women in combat arms, I'd offer the example of Canada - combat arms are open to women... I acknowledge that none have gone on to senior leader levels. Is that the requirement to allow my daughter equal opportunity - that she will stay to be a general..?"

    I'm aware that women serve within the Canadian Armed Forces combat arms branches but I'm uncertain that their rationale is directly applicable to our's. I know a forward observer was killed in Afghanistan. Were female enlisted infantry among their deployed platoons to Afghanistan? Line NCOs? Junior platoon leaders?

    You've made a compelling case justifying female physical outliers into physically-demanding leadership courses. I've not seen how that justifies the inclusion of women enlisted trigger-pullers down in the rifle or tank platoon or among the gun-bunnies. Or sappers.

    Because, if the standards have been validated and, thus, exist for a reason then you've defined an operating environment beyond the physical means of 90-95% of the female population.

    You know what, Tankersteve, you're right. Too right, in fact.

    Let 'em all in. You're correct that the culture can be adjusted.

    Just don't let those standards slip.

    "Equal Opportunity"
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    S2,

    I can't comment on the makeup of the Canadian forces that deployed. Perhaps others here from Canada can offer that. And I fully acknowledge that in the US military, we have a hard time in properly applying certain efforts (especially the US Army, where we seem absolutely desparate to please higher, and will fudge anything to be viewed as successful), as compared to other smaller militaries who have less room to 'get it wrong'.

    In fact, I think I can accept that most women, and thereby all women, shouldn't be in combat arms roles, as the efficiency of the unit is most important. But, if that were absolutely true, we would then have to look at every other variable that impacts the combat capability (our efficiency metric), and at least in my experience in the Army, there are plenty of issues. Between mandatory training, uneven and misguided weapons training, an inordinate focus on combatives and PT to the exclusion of fieldcraft and weapons training, and the everpresent requirement to deal with Soldier issues that distract from training (blotter appearances, discharges, alcohol in the barracks, unit sports teams, etc), the Army is not at all focused on maintaining purely efficient combat capability. My very cynical side says what is one more distraction?

    Having a tab will allow the women capable of achieving it the ability to interact better with some counterparts. It isn't a discriminator for battalion command (outside the infantry), but the doors it will open are not insignificant.

    The exception shouldn't write the rule, but in the Army it does. The best we can hope for is that we do not change standards and maintain that line very closely.

    Tankersteve

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    The graduation of these 2 Rangers was a great day for the Army, and they earned the right to wear the tab. It demonstrated that the Army was dedicated to providing a fair shot while maintaining standards. It's only a matter of time until females are allowed to serve in the infantry and SOF community. In the SOF community, they'll simply enforce existing standards. In the infantry community, I suspect that the care and thought into the gender-neutral standards required will actually raise the bar a bit at the bottom end and there will be males that won't qualify. RLTW! Class 5-97.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    I tip my hat to the 2 officers.

    Broke my kneecap in Day 4 of city phase in 1981.

    Was damn glad I could leave with dignity!

    Congrats to all who have earned the tab.
    "The genius of you Americans is that you make no clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing." - Gamal Abdel Nasser

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    Congratulations to both Officers.

    And according to the school, It wasn't a lack of physical fitness that hindered them, it was a lack of infantry skills. The same problem that any student from a non infantry background has.

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...3435700&rank=4

    Highlights

    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."
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    More salient to my concerns-

    "It wasn't a lack of physical fitness that hindered them..."

    I've never questioned that there are women whom possess exceptional leaders skills and are physical outliers to the norm. Great.

    My concern is that troublesome "norm" that we may find ourselves racing down to catch. I'm hoping it doesn't establish a lower "norm" in our performance expectations and suspect it will require some serious re-education for both sexes to find accommodation.

    Marines-Women In Combat Get Mixed Results-WAPO
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    More salient to my concerns-

    "It wasn't a lack of physical fitness that hindered them..."

    I've never questioned that there are women whom possess exceptional leaders skills and are physical outliers to the norm. Great.

    My concern is that troublesome "norm" that we may find ourselves racing down to catch. I'm hoping it doesn't establish a lower "norm" in our performance expectations and suspect it will require some serious re-education for both sexes to find accommodation.

    Marines-Women In Combat Get Mixed Results-WAPO
    So the question to me is how the 2 Marine females that made it to the end fared in terms of peer review and integration? By putting females into the study that didn't meet standards, it seems that the deck was stacked against female performance. I hope we don't rush to failure on this by either saying no or yes based on a small sample size and flawed study designs.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    "...I hope we don't rush to failure on this by either saying no or yes based on a small sample size and flawed study designs..."

    I recognize the preliminary and inconclusive nature of this modest Marine experiment. In the euphoria (at least here) from the exceptional performance of these Army officers graduating from Ranger School it might seem I'm the one calling to question small sample sizes and flawed studys.

    Colonel, is it true that the U.S. Army is mandated on January 1, 2016 to open all MOS specialties without regard to gender?

    If so, that would seem wide-sweeping in it's implications for a vast swath of the Army's pointy end.

    Please bear in mind that any right-thinking American is all for the optimal utilization of our available talent-



    Will we be ready to take on the alien when we need to be?

    Vasquez believes so.
    Last edited by S2; 11 Sep 15, at 06:17.
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2 View Post
    "...I hope we don't rush to failure on this by either saying no or yes based on a small sample size and flawed study designs..."

    I recognize the preliminary and inconclusive nature of this modest Marine experiment. In the euphoria (at least here) from the exceptional performance of these Army officers graduating from Ranger School it might seem I'm the one calling to question small sample sizes and flawed studys.

    Colonel, is it true that the U.S. Army is mandated on January 1, 2016 to open all MOS specialties without regard to gender?

    If so, that would seem wide-sweeping in it's implications for a vast swath of the Army's pointy end.

    Please bear in mind that any right-thinking American is all for the optimal utilization of our available talent-



    Will we be ready to take on the alien when we need to be?

    Vasquez believes so.
    Steve,

    The service secretaries need to provide the SecDef with exceptions they want to full gender integration on 1 Jan. Absent any exceptions, then yes, all MOS will be fully open. I think it would be prudent to conduct further studies, but one where quality is controlled prior to the experiment, as opposed to during it and then attributing it to gender. What follows are two links that cover opposite ends of the spectrum. I don't fully buy the first argument, although I do think it's a thesis that deserves to be tested. The second one aligns with my critique of the study.

    http://warontherocks.com/2015/09/wha...infantry-unit/
    http://warisboring.com/articles/ques...n-combat-test/
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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