Female Soldiers Fail to Pass Phase One of Army Ranger School

All eight female soldiers participating in the first co-ed class of U.S. Army Ranger School failed to advance to the second phase of the grueling infantry course.

On the male side, 115 male students met the requirement to begin the Mountain Phase of Ranger School in Dahlonega, Ga., on Saturday, May 9, according to a Fort Benning press release.

The eight female candidates, along with 101 male candidates, will be recycled to repeat the Darby Phase of Ranger School.

Approximately 35 male Ranger students failed to meet the standards of Ranger School and will not be recycled, the press release said.

"They will return to their units having learned a great deal about themselves and small unit tactics, patrolling, leadership, and team work," according to the release.

No changes have been made to the deliberate evaluation process used to determine which students are dropped, recycled or allowed to move forward to the next phase, the release states.

"I had the opportunity to visit the Ranger students yesterday and was impressed that whether going forward to the mountains or recycling the Darby phase they were motivated to continue training and focused on successfully completing the Ranger Course," Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, Commanding General of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Benning, said in the release.

"They're a strong group of soldiers, who are working their way through the U.S. Army's most physically and mentally demanding course."

The eight females were among the 19 that showed up Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade's first co-ed Ranger course April 20. Three failed to pass the Ranger Physical Fitness Assessment, a requirement to enter Ranger School.

Eight out of 16 female soldiers completed the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week, which consists of day and night land navigation, obstacle courses, skill tests and a 12 mile road march with a rifle, fighting load vest and rucksack weight approximately 47 pounds.

The male and female candidates being recycled through the Darby Phase will not have to repeat RAP week, according to Benning officials. They will begin the phase on May 14 after the next class completes RAP week.

"Ranger School is the Army's toughest course, and this iteration is no exception," Benning officials said in the release.

Senior Army leaders recently decided to allow females to attend the historically male-only, infantry course. The effort is a result of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's January 2013 directive that all services open combat-arms roles to women that so far have been reserved for men. The services have until 2016 to make this happen.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com