Six more female soldiers have qualified to attend Army Ranger School later this month after passing the same physical fitness standards as men, including six pull-ups, 49 push-ups in two minutes, 59 sit-ups in two minutes and a five-mile run in 40 minutes, Army officials said Wednesday.
The six additional women, all of them officers, will join at least six other female soldiers who have passed the Ranger Training Assessment Course that qualified them to attend the first gender-integrated Ranger School course that will begin April 20 and last for two months.
If the women successfully complete Ranger School, they will be authorized to wear the coveted Ranger tab but will not be immediately considered for the 75th Ranger Regiment, said Gary Jones, an Army spokesman at Fort Benning, Ga.
"It would be a good shining, bright spot on their career records. They would have earned the right to wear it," Jones said of the tab, but the decision to assign them to a unit would have to await a forthcoming ruling by the Defense Department on opening up combat arms positions to women.
The six additional women to qualify for Ranger School were among 34 who initially joined the two-week Ranger Training Assessment Course (RTAC). The same RTAC component began with 85 men and 25 passed.
"This class reaffirmed that RTAC, just like Ranger School, is very tough," said Maj. William Woodard Jr., a company commander at the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning. "The standards are the same during the gender-integrated RTAC iterations, and they won't change."
About half of the candidates at Ranger School drop out, Jones said, and most of those who fail to complete the course drop out in the first four days which includes the same physical fitness test as the RTAC course.
One of the differences between RTAC and Ranger School is the length of the forced march. In RTAC, it's six miles and in Ranger School it's 12 miles, Jones said.
At Ranger School, there will also be additional tests of physical and mental preparedness, and numerous simulated combat patrols, Jones said.
In January, the Army announced that it would conduct the gender-integrated training at the Ranger School in April as part of the wider effort to determine whether to open combat positions to women.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org