WOMEN EYE RANGER SCHOOL
The Army announced Monday that it has taken the first steps toward training women at its Ranger school in Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of the push to integrate women into front-line combat units. Army spokeswoman Jennifer Gunn said 40 female candidates began a weeklong program Monday to become “observers” for what will potentially be a Ranger Course Assessment.
Ranger training at Fort Benning and two other facilities is considered one of the most rigorous military courses. The 61-day course is both physically and mentally demanding.
The course had been closed to women until September. A final decision on whether women will be allowed to join Ranger training is not expected until January.
The course’s strength requirements are expected to limit women in completing the course, as has occurred in similar Marine Corps training.
It is not clear what advice the observers will provide. However, one Army official said the observers’ role will be to “make sure the course is not harder or easier for women.”
“After completion of these five days of training, selected observers and advisers will go through a modified Ranger Instructor training program that will prepare them for a specifically assigned area, such as a mountain or swamp training environment,” the Army statement said. “After completing the modified training, these observers and advisers will observe two cycles of the Ranger Course prior to a possible Ranger Course Assessment in the spring of 2015.”
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