When eight of nine female soldiers completed a six-mile road march during the Ranger Training and Assessment Course on April 11, they brought the count of women qualified to attend Ranger School to 20. The road march is the last obstacle an applicant can be dropped from, and involves a grueling trek while carrying 45 pounds of gear and weaponry.
The assessment course is designed to test many of the skills that needed to pass Ranger School. So far, data gathered shows both strengths and weaknesses of the women who participated in RTAC. Female soldiers completed 39 push-ups — 10 less than required — on average, but showed confidence and competence in mission planning, said Lt. Col. Edmund “Beau” Riely, the battalion commander who runs the assessment.
“We can destroy anybody physically, but that’s not why we’re here,” Riely said. “We’re here to get them ready for Ranger School.”