The Army’s most elite soldiers in special operations task force, the Rangers have enshrined their military combat uniforms and boots over a world of conflicts, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The Rangers’ first brush with battle came at the helm of Colonial America to defend the original 13 colonies from the Native Americans.
But it wouldn’t be until 1952 that a specialized training course tested a man’s stamina, while satisfying the Army’s core values of LDRSHIP (loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage).
In accordance to traditional candidate pools for participation in special operations, it was frowned upon – almost to the brink of taboo – that women be a part of that fraternity.
Many concerns arose not only on the political side, but a general worrisome for the parents of those women entering combat – what if she gets killed in action?
In a select hand full of roles, such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Sappers (AKA Combat Engineer) and Medic Combat, females are allowed to enlist in combat support, but very little make the cut. In fact, out of every new cycle that enters Advanced Individual Training, or AIT, which succeeds following basic training, only about one or two women willfully compete for a spot or they’re simply not qualified.
But earlier this year, the Army engraved itself again in history by allowing female participation in its Ranger School in Fort Benning, Georgia – a few miles southeast of Auburn.
One of the special operations most demanding courses in the Armed Forces – and one with the lowest graduation rate among the Marine Snipers, Marine Force Recon, SEALs and the PJs of the Air Force – the Army Rangers embark on a two-month mission with their fellow battle buddies beside them.
What made one of this year’s graduation so special for Ranger School was the valiant effort of two women, who received the Ranger Tab along with 98 men.
For the sake of anonymity and most likely other precautions, the identities of the women are unknown. And while a typical Ranger School graduate is promised enrollment in the storied 75th Ranger Regiment, who experienced wartime in Operation Eagle Claw and Operation Just Cause during World War II, the two women of the class are disbarred from doing so.