Paul Abell / AP Images for U.S. Army Reserve.

I joined the Army at 19, straight out of a grocery store job in California and completely clueless about military life. Looking back there is plenty I would have done differently, like focus on my military skills as much as I did on my MOS skills. When I deployed to Iraq and embedded with infantry units during combat operations I learned real fast that qualifying with my rifle did not prepare me for combat missions, but I managed by watching and copying what the guys did. Being a woman attached to all-male units also required a delicate balance of professionalism and friendliness, something the first women in combat arms units will soon learn.

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Photo by Pfc. Ebony Banks

In a historic first, two women have passed Ranger School and are set to graduate this Friday. There’s a lot of hyperventilation about this from the usual corners: Some say that this is indicative of an overall weakening of standards in the military, others imply that President Barack Obama and the liberal left somehow conspired to cheat the women through, or something. However, shining bright through the muttered outrage and sour-grape peddling are some solid facts about Ranger School and the experience of these two female Ranger grads that I hope the haters consider.

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