On Friday, August 21, 2015, 1LT Shaye Haver and CPT Kristen Griest graduated from Ranger school and earned their Ranger tabs. This marked the first time in history that a female has accomplished this feat. It also tells us much about ourselves as a culture as we look back on how we have approached this important day.
In January of the same year, the Army announced it would conduct an integrated assessment of both men and women at Ranger School. This created multiple integrated cycles for the National Guard Training and Assessment Course (RTAC), which has approximately a 50% pass rate historically for Ranger School. Over the next few months, leading up to the April Ranger school class, twenty women passed the RTAC resulting in 18 starting the course in April.
Rumors abounded immediately that standards would be lowered, that the Ranger tab would be given away for political statements, and that the military was being used as a testing ground for integration. Five months later, two women have successfully graduated from the course, achieving what many have come to identify as a defining moment in their military careers. Major General Austin Miller, Commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence summed it up best – “They met every requirement the men did.”
It is telling that the first reaction towards this opportunity for women was not to encourage them, but to express concern about standards being lowered. Men and women came out and publically identified all of the ways that women were unable to achieve success without lowering standards. Even fellow service members told how women are inherently weaker and could never achieve the same successes as men due to their physical weakness in comparison. That the women were criticized before having an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities seems strikingly familiar to another incident in our recent history.
In 1925, the Army War College performed an assessment of black soldiers to determine their potential for future service with the military. Their findings concluded that “[i]n the process of evolution the American Negro has not progressed as far as the other sub-species of the human family. As a race he has not developed leadership qualities. His mental inferiority and the inherent weaknesses of his character are factors that must be considered with great care in the preparation of any plan for his employment in war.”
It is a sad state of affairs when our civilian and military figures are so quick to identify weakness and inability without allowing people to prove their strength or capability. Even now that the first two women have graduated from Ranger school, people are still questioning whether they achieved it under the same conditions as their male peers.
We should, as a nation, be celebrating the success of what is likely to become the first of many stories. The truth is simple, that men and women are capable of great things. Physical differences between people are only as limiting as the person allows them to be. The strength of one’s character, personal inspiration, and motivation can result in incredible achievement.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.