Women Can and Will go to Ranger School and Do Just Fine


>>The Ranger ethos is designed to be deadly serious yet self-deprecating, focused entirely on teamwork and mission accomplishment. Rangers put the mission first, their unit and fellow soldiers next, and themselves last. The selfishness so rampant elsewhere in our society has never existed in the Ranger brotherhood.<<

Stephen Kilcullen could be used as an example of what a failed, selfish officer sometimes does when there's a war on--he "left" the Army in 2004. Who is he to lecture anyone about what women can do?

Why? Was he medically unfit? Was he unable to get promoted? We did he take eleven years of military experience and abandon his brothers in arms? Did he forget that there were sisters in arms in the units that he served in as well?

This man has no online biography. Does he have any credibility to go against the prevailing wishes of the senior ranks of the United States Army? I don't see where he does.

There are a number of Rangers who go to Ranger school and never spend a day in the 75th Ranger Regiment.

You are not a Ranger unless you serve in the Regiment. You can see how people like Kilcullen will leave that part out of their op-ed. A woman who goes to the Ranger Regiment, gets her Ranger tab (Ranger school is TRADOC, and TRADOC should be wide open anyway), and serves in the Regiment is going to be accorded a great deal of respect.

Those that do the school and refuse a chance to go to the Ranger Regiment are common enough already. They take the tab and leave Ranger school and don't take their experience to a unit where they can live the life and expand upon their skills. Ranger school is a great start--but you have to serve in a unit that actually does that sort of thing, day in, day out, in order to advance further and become proficient with those skills. The school assesses whether or not an individual can get to the proficient stage; the continuing education and experience is where that proficiency is honed.

Did Kilcullen get his tab and leave those offers to join a Ranger battalion behind? Was he even offered a slot? Just because a soldier gets their Ranger tab, it does not automatically make them anything other than a graduate. And graduates have been known to bail on their chance to go to an assignment where they can hone their skills.

So much for their dedication. For them, the tab means everything and actually serving in a Ranger unit is not a ticket they are willing to punch. So much for selflessness. Kilcullen punched that ticket and probably developed a fondness for waving it in the faces of anyone who wasn't wearing that tab. Perhaps he was gracious about it. His op-ed does not suggest too much in the way of grace. So much for teamwork, right?

If a woman can meet the physical rigors of Ranger school, and succeed as a member of the infantry, then we are a better, more well-protected nation for that. The history of the military is not about men who command men in battle so much as it is a history of having exceptional people rise through the ranks and persevere and succeed ahead of all others. You can be damned certain that the women who are on active duty right now are exceeding every expectation out there, up to and including the expectations of the senior leadership of the Army. Don't Ask, Don't Tell went away in large part because too many women with a great deal of professional expertise were being drummed out for being lesbians, and this was depleting the senior ranks of a number of potential generals and admirals.

There are females who are going to go to Ranger school and fail, and they'll fail alongside men. The few that will succeed alongside men are going to be those exceptional people who we can build a military around. Clap wildly and ignore the jealousy of those who are being passed up.

Insert any bias against "that group" for doing "this thing" in the military. Blacks becoming officers, women becoming pilots, and so on and so forth. There will always be a contingent that thinks there is a line "that group" cannot cross. Well, when the barriers come down, "that group" always exceeds the standards and a new normal is established. When women start earning Ranger tabs and leading infantry into battle, your new normal is going to make heads spin. Then, we're on to a new example of how "that group" can't do something they'll eventually end up doing.

Mr. Kilcullen can wish all he wants, but the daughters of those officers are going to keep changing the face of the military, and the only standard should be a willingness to sacrifice everything for the mission. Women are doing that right now, and have been for as long as they've had a chance to get in uniform and serve.

And at least they're not running out on their country in a time of war.