What the Ranger Graduate Story Tells Us About Ourselves

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.”

Female Rangers
1LT Shaye Haver and CPT Kristen Griest

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.

Kyle Soler

Kyle Soler is an active duty Infantry Officer serving in the US Army. He has served in the military for more than 10 years, working his way from an Infantry Squad Leader to a Company Commander with multiple combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in between. Kyle earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Willamette University, and three Master degrees from Jones International University in Information Security Management, Health Care Management, and International Business. He also holds certifications in Six Sigma Lean and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt. His primary focus is realigning organizational priorities to get the most out of the time available in terms of training and development. Prior to entering military service, he worked as a fire fighter and an EMT. His areas of knowledge include military, training, leadership, disaster and continuity planning.
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30 thoughts on “What the Ranger Graduate Story Tells Us About Ourselves

  1. You’ve missed the entire point. Does having females in Ranger combat operations add to our readiness or enhance our capabilities? I say no, based on my 11 years of Active Duty. Are there more cons than pros by adding a whole new set of politically correct problems to an already tough job? I say yes. Wonderful…now Grunts will have to deal with sexual harassment charges (and I’ve seen several careers ruined by 100% fabricated allegations) and other issues that cause unneeded drama in garrisson and downrange. No career officer would ever have the guts to say what many believe and have experienced.

  2. This author is part of the problem. Our culture has lost the virtues and character it needs to be strong. That is the recognition of appropriate roles in all we do. I have way to much respect for women to force or allow them to defend me with their lives. Every once great civilization, Babylon, Persia, Greek, Roman, and British all have a common theme in their uncontrollable spiral of declination that resulted in their fall. Their lack of respect to women and pursuance of egalitarian society to diminish the man and woman roles of family and culture. Shameful!!

    1. JM, not sure how “hav[ing] way too much respect for a woman to force or allow them to defend you with their lives” makes much sense.

      You seem to be confusing respect, with lack of respect. Women police officers fill this role daily.

  3. I have never served, but I know men who have passed through the Ranger program – successfully- and had the pleasure to attend this year’s Best Ranger Competition. I was amazed at the camaraderie, the difficulty of the competition – and learning more about the Ranger program itself – the fortitude and resolve of anyone who can successfully make it through and become a Ranger are impressive.

    I have seen a few jokes on Social media asking, “What do you call a woman who made it through the Ranger program…?”

    Simple – you call them a Ranger!

  4. We should congratulate the two female officers concerned for passing the Ranger qualification course. But we should also congratulate all the other soldiers who did the same. Let’s reserve celebrations for the achievements that each soldier delivers where and when it really counts – in battle. That will be the true test of whether this policy actually works.

    Governments make policies and then change them as circumstances change. This happens all the time in a broad range of areas – health, economy, infrastructure, education, etc. It will be a test of the maturity of both the US government and the military hierarchy that they stick with a policy that works and change a policy that doesn’t, regardless of external pressures such as political correctness, minority lobbying, media comment and like irrelevancies. I only pray that deaths and injuries are kept to a minimum while this policy experiment is assessed.

  5. Women have a protective instinct, not a killer instinct. Big difference, and now our SOFs get to experience that difference . . .

  6. Any male in the military that’s not celebrating this milestone with the emergence of female Rangers has the issue within themselves. It’s about who’s best for the job. The women that make this program, like them men, will be superior warriors. Anyone that’s worried about having to change their “grunt behavior” or sexual harrassment in the ranks, should take a real good look at themselves and determine if there’s not some complex or inferiority issue or values issue. Females in combat units is not the problem. Men dealing with it seems to be the issue. And it’s an issue they will have to resolve within themselves. Women are here now as Rangers and coming soon to a combat unit near you.

    1. You are advocating political correctness above all, and pretending men and women are physically the same is a farce. You are right about one thing, and that is woman are now Rangers, qualified or not, and I only hope you are in combat with one of the new PC combat troops when the SHTF, and you have to depend on her to carry your wounded butt to safety or to run the Mogadishu Mile in full combat gear with you as your battle buddy covering your 6, and then see if you think women in direct combat roles is a good idea. Maybe that will give you some idea of what combat soldiers will have to put up with. The issue will be resolved on the battlefield, I only hope at not too high a cost.

    2. NO, SGT T (who I almost guarantee is a female with zero trigger time)…the sexual harassment problem isnt a an issue just in someones mind, its quite real. Men and women, especially in high stress situations sometimes use intimacy inappropriately to comfort themselves. Females in GENERAL are a problem in combat. Their mere presence makes most males act differently and destroy unit cohesion and trust. ITS A PROBLEM WE DONT WANT OR NEED. Being that you’ve never been in a combat unit Id say you have a lot of waking up to do.

  7. I agree much with GM and further in this blog are a few phrases dropped to make this situation something it is not: 1) weakness and 2) inability. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Great kudos and high praise for the women that went through Ranger school. Something I considered myself. Thousands of men have not made it through Ranger school because they just didn’t pack the ruck to make it.

    Its not so much about weakness and inability as it is profitability. Its not profitable to bring women into combat infantry situations. There are plenty of men that are able to do the job. Lets not get caught up on the abolition of gender roles. Lets face it. This is a man’s job. That doesn’t mean a woman can’t do it. They should not have to do it. On the grand scale, men are physically and emotionally stronger and tougher than women and that is the fact. That fact does not communicate a inability or mental weakness on a woman. We cannot ignore plain anatomy and common sense for political correctness.

    1. Precisely. Why arent there any female linebackers in the NFL?? Because theres nothing to be gained, no benefit to having one! If the PC mafia really wants to make a stink then why dont they abolish the “outdated and paternalistic” terms “MAN” and “WOMAN”??
      I married the finest female Soldier I ever met – and she would be the first to say that females have no place in combat roles.

  8. Thank you US Patriot Blog for your opinion. Here’s the thing though, units aren’t better off in many, if any ways, because they integrate females. I know firsthand how they will use prenancy to desert their duties when deployment comes up, or they want to leave halfway through and leave a team short of bodies. Two women getting through Ranger School, after being allowed more tries than any man would get, during a time when there’s a female high up in the cadre who obviously hasn’t completed Ranger School; is nothing to celebrate.

    No combat arms group really wants to pick up females, especially not en masse. Maybe the guys NOT thinking of force effectiveness do, but no one else. And honestly, the more females in a unit, the worse they are.

    1. I agree. I think that everyone here can agree that those women are tough girls to do what they did. They are great Soldiers and we should be proud of them and the rest of the U.S. Military too. But, just like you say and like JD mentioned, there is just a difference between men and women and men are better suited for this job. People like SGT T are the ones pushing this agenda trying to make anyone who has an objection feel like they are the ones with the problem and we are not. We are the ones actually thinking of the what is best for the Army. There is just a cohesion among male units that need not be meddled with. If it aint broke, don’t fix it!

    2. Well stated, CavScout! You hit the nail on the head! The issue isnt one of “fairness”. There is no fairness in combat! The wants of the few are being put far ahead of the needs of the many… Not very American, is it? Being in the military is NOT a right, its a privilege! And just as a previous poster said, just because some can be done doesnt mean it should! The same exact truth also applies to allowing flamboyant gays into the ranks… Nothing good for the military or pur nation has come from it. The same will be said of these 2 female officers (the 1LT cant even render a correct salute). Nice experiment. Leaders need to make a package check and stop accepting the destruction of professional military ethics and especially the sacrifice of COMMON SENSE on the altars of Careerism and PC.

  9. The same? Why were the hand selected women given months of special training prior to attending Ranger School? Including nutritionists and physical fitness experts. Why were Cadre at the Ranger School essentially under a gag order during female attendance? I was told also that the normal peer evaluation after each phase of Ranger School did not happen.

    1. Exactly. I think the males in that Ranger Class have valid EO complaints for NOT being given the special training and help that the females received!

  10. I concur with GM and junkyard. First and foremost, I applaud the women who made it through. Obviously, for them it’s not about weakness or ability. However, in studies conducted by the Army itself, as well as Britain’s Tri-Service Review, women are at a physical and physiological disadvantage when it comes to military combat. To summarize a few differences outlined in these studies, women have less bone density than men, making them more prone to fractures and other musculoskeletal injuries. Their bodies distribute weight differently and have less lean muscle mass. When mestruating they can lose up to 50% of their overall strength and have tendencies to be more emotional. Moreover, a reduction in overall lethality, mobility and unit cohesion was observed in mixed gendered units. By God’s design, and proven scientifically, there are tangible differences in our make up. No one can refute this or change it. When it comes to our Country’s defense, especially in elite forces, we shouldn’t be conducting social experiments. The bottom line is, special forces are reserved for the best of the best…I would gamble that if you put the strongest men against the strongest women, the men will win physically every time.

  11. Nothing more than an extension of progressivism making its way into the ranks of a politically correct military. First Co-Ed Basic Training [in which sexual assault has run ramped according to the Pentagon] then came lowering the standards for “inclusivism” and accepting openly flamboyant Gays to serve, Combat Arms Fields and front line combat units being pressured to include females, Transgenderism [mentally deficiencies] now being told they can serve…..hello Pvt Manning, now Ranger School was forced to accept two hand selected candidates “GI JANES” that where up to the challenge so that it didn’t embarrass the brass…..this should have been taken as an opportunity to improve Ranger School to increase the requirements. I am a former Marine Infantryman, and I am proud the Marine Corps has thus far warded of Co-Ed, Females in the [03] Fields but they are under enormous pressure to accept “Inclusivism & Diversity” too and when they accepted the female test candidates for the Infantry under orders from the Commander in Chief those female test candidates failed. I and my past family of service members are ashamed of what has been done to our military under Clinton & Obama. With declining recruitment numbers from teenage males not wanting to serve in todays “PC” military, these “girl power” people will surely disappear when we require women to sign up for selective service…..as they always do!

    ……….but, but, but we don’t want thaaaat.

    Women with bravado and egos necessary to do the job, do so on a fragile surface, they don’t have the DNA or testosterone necessary to be crack troops on the front line or behind enemy lines- Just as some men do not and wash out. Just wait ’til the next war and more females get captured and raped, and left in a cell to menstruate on the floor, and then raped again, and again for 2-5 years as a POW. What happens when they get pregnant while as a POW? They have been conditioned to accept “special accommodations ” in today’s modern America they will surely do it as a POW

    ARTICLE I:

    I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

    ARTICLE II:

    I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

    ARTICLE III:

    If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and to aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

    ARTICLE IV:

    If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them in every way.

    ARTICLE V:

    When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country or its allies or harmful to their cause.

    ARTICLE VI:

    I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free

    I will trust in my God and in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    1. “…and left in a cell to menstruate on the floor…”

      Um, really? You don’t know much about the female anatomy do you? If a woman is in that type of stressful situation there is almost a 100% chance she will not even have a period during that time. Same thing with Basic Training, Infantry training, Ranger school, deployments, etc. Any type of stressful situation can and mostly likely does put a stop to the menstruation cycle completely. Exercising alone can cause the menstruation cycle to stop. I think some of you guys seriously need to do a bit more research before you say stupid stuff like, “…and left in a cell to menstruate on the floor…” Seriously… that was so inaccurate I almost lost myself in laughter. LOL.

  12. Should we celebrate female Rangers? My answer is NO. I say this as a former infantry soldier and an Army Ranger. There are several reasons why:

    1) Females are built different than men. By this I mean that they have a much shorter urethra, which subjects them to UTI’s and yeast infections when going long periods in the field without being able to conduct personal hygiene. Rangers must go long periods in the field without the ability to come out and shower. When I was in the Army the standard for females was to come out of the field every 72 hrs and conduct personal hygiene to prevent this type of issue. If a member of your team goes down for a medical issue such as the previously mentioned, it cripples the team, and compromises mission integrity.

    2) In the event that a team is captured, the enemy can and will (such as the case of Jessica Lynch) use that female teammate against them to extract information.

    3) As someone has previously mentioned, there is the issue of sexual harassment, and the drama that comes along with it. There is enough to worry about out there without having to be concerned with hurting someone’s feelings. I myself, had this issue with a female while attending PLDC, with a female who could not pull her own weight.

    4) Pregnancy in the field. IT WILL HAPPEN. This again can compromise mission integrity.

    My intent is not to say that women have no place in the Military. I feel that they have strong roles, and that is to include some combat roles. However, They do not belong (in my opinion) on the front line in an infantry unit, and most particularly in an elite special operations unit. There are too many issues That can (and in my opinion will) come from this.

  13. I served in the 82nd from 1977 to 1981 as an 11B1P, and in the Air Force as a Crew Chief on F-16s and a Flight Engineer on C-130E, H, H1 and Spectre Gunships my last five years before I retired. I saw time after time, when politicians would combine with political General officers, to “diversify” and let females participate, standards were ALWAYS watered down. Never officially, but it was let known that “some” candidates WOULD succeed, no matter what, just to satisfy PC officers and politicians. Seperate standards in Jump School allowed women to graduate, while not having to meet the same PT standards, requirements as the men. A female loadmaster sent to the 16th SOS gunship squadron who literally was unable to do her weight and balance work, load the aircraft correctly, or even lift the “milk stool” that the aircraft ramp sits on to load the plane, and yet the Air Force Chief of Staff called the squadron every week to “get an update on our first “Female AC-130 Loadmaster”, so the pressure was on, and failure was never an option and that was made clear no matter how useless she was. She got a big write up in the Air Force Times about what a groundbreaker she was. She became pregnant before ever getting gunship qualified, and although I dont recall the exact time frame, she left the squadron after a year or so, never qualifying to fly in the gunship, and never flying one single mission in a gunship. Those are just the most blatent examples I had experience with, and I have every confidence with the purge of General officers from the modern military the the PC run amuck, that it is much worse than when I served. Women could not become Rangers, any more than they can become NFL players without a lot of rule changes and softened standards. They simply do not have the strength or stamina to compete with men. This PC garbage does nothing but water down combat units, create divisiveness, and put people in danger.

    1. Our standards in the Fire Service were “watered down” lowered to meet Neo-Diversity & Inclusive Standards and they all-of-a-sudden in the last several years we have seen a spike in females filing unfair labor, sexual harassment, hostile work environment charges against fellow male firefighters.

      There are many things women do better than men and there are just as many men do better than women, just as a child has no place on the front lines or behind enemy lines for capacity reasons neither do 99.9% of women.

      Diversity & Inclusivism has effective ruined our military.

  14. Women strive for equality in almost all facets of our society these days. Well, that’s fine with me. If you can meet the standards, then you can have the job. Congratulations if you do. The problem with women and men who think like they do is they want special recognition and celebration when they do make the standards. Well that’s not very equal. If you want to be treated equally, then don’t expect special recognition when you meet standards; just press on with your day like everyone else and be proud of yourself without having to trumpet everything to the world. Equal treatment demands equal recognition plain and simple.

  15. I wish the brass in the pentagon who make these decisions would read what it seems is the general consensus here on this thread. Which I am sure is a grand scale consensus through out the military and especially those in infantry.

  16. But any comparisons to Negros and discrimination against them in the past regarding questions of their ability are spurious at best. Male Negros (African Americans) are identical in every way to males of any other race. Their discrimination was entirely racist, not a question of physical abilities.

    But females on the other hand, to say they are equal physically is a big stretch. The vast majority of females do not have the physical capabilities of the vast majority of males. It’s just biology. Obviously there are ends to that bell curve where you will find women who not only match but exceed male counterparts.

    And that is the issue.

    When people question if standards would be lowered it’s not an indictment against these patriotic women who chose to run this gauntlet. It’s an indictment of systems that have all too often been altered or influenced for political reasons.

    Those worried about a lowering of standards are saying nothing against the women. Rather they are supporting the women, just holding them to those same existing standards men are required to meet. I read those concerns as a tacit approval saying: “If they pass the standards then rock on.” The vast majority of comments are saying just that. To read otherwise is nothing but progressive blindness to others opinions and concerns and pushing forth your own agenda.

    As an aside, recently there have been rumors and some testimony coming out from other soldiers who ere present, saying that these women were NOT held to those same standards. I do not pretend to know the validity of those claims but an inquiry has been initiated.

    And immediately the inquiry has been lambasted as being anti-women and all the usual hogwash. If the standards were altered or these soldiers were allowed to continue after failures that would have seen a male counterpart washed from the course, wouldn’t we want to know that? If the standards are found to have been upheld wouldn’t we also want confirmation of that to quell any inaccurate reporting?

  17. when our next mogadishu happens,and we see the bloody bodies of female rangers being dragged thru the streets, and broadcast around the world………. that will show true anti female attitudes, and i want to see what our wondrous leaders say about gender, emotional thinking , fighting ability and camaraderie!!!!!!

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