Four months after 19 women entered the Army’s elite Ranger School as part of a one-time, integrated assessment, two have completed the grueling course, earning the coveted black-and-gold Ranger tab. They are the first women to ever do so.
Prior to attending the two-month long course, candidates must complete the four-day Ranger Assessment Phase, which wipes out the majority of applicants — more than half of all failures occur during the four-day assessment. Eight of the women passed the assessment and moved on to Darby phase, where they were twice given the chance to recycle. After the second attempt, three were given a “Day 1 recycle,” an option offered to regular Ranger School students, and eventually advanced to Mountain phase, where two continued on to the Swamp phase, while a third restarted Mountain phase where she is now. The Army has not revealed the identities of the two women who passed, or the name of the third who is still attending the course.
“Whether I agree or disagree with it, they have changed my mind,” Sgt. Major Colin Boley, the operations sergeant major for the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, told Foreign Policy. “I didn’t think that they would physically be able to bear the weight and I thought they would quit or get hurt, and they have proved me wrong.”