Congressman Steve Russell is demanding to know why, or if women are getting special treatment to force female graduates in Ranger School. After the former administration’s push for diversity and the strange destruction of Ranger School records, many people agree that something not quite right is happening.
Ranger School is, hands down, one of the most difficult schools in the United States military, and its instructors and cadre take (mostly) candidates who have passed Airborne school and harden them into one of the most powerful and storied units in the Army.
It was Rangers who fought up a mountain at Pointe du Hoc, Rangers who performed admirably in the jungles of Vietnam, Rangers who fought alongside Special Operations units in Mogadishu, and Rangers who fought at Takur Ghar.
Normally, Ranger instructors weed out those who cannot meet the standards during the grueling three-phase training program. However, some say that during the Barack Obama administration, for political purposes, certain individuals were allowed to pass with special treatment.
In 2015, then-Secretary of Defense Carter was still looking to prove that women could perform in combat roles. A recent $36 million experiment Marine Corps study had not accomplished that goal, instead proving what many in combat roles had said; that all-female and coed units underperformed their male counterparts.
Allegedly, Ash Carter set his sights on Fort Benning’s Ranger school, and on ensuring that two women, Captain Griest and First Lieutenant Haver, would pass.
If they did, Carter would have his ‘proof’ that women could serve in combat arms and special operations roles. After all, Ranger School is infamously difficult, and its instructors maintain the very highest standards.
As the pair of women went through the elite training, rumors began to surface about their treatment, and how they received special, preferential treatment that was not provided to the men.
Allegations arose that said they were provided with dieticians, endless chances to repeat the school (usually, the Army limits soldiers to three chances to complete the grueling course), multiple opportunities to achieve passing grades, the chance to shower once every three days, and even private curtained ‘cat holes.’
It didn’t help that when they ‘graduated’ and earned the coveted Ranger tab, the pair looked plump. Ranger School is famous for requiring men to perform extreme physical feats with minimal nutrition, to the point where losing 20 to 40 pounds during the course is not unusual, and graduates often look gaunt and worn at their graduation ceremonies.
People Magazine, in a September 2015 article written by Susan Keating and titled ‘Was it Fixed? Army General Told Subordinates: ‘A Woman Will Graduate Ranger School,’ Sources Say,’ suggested undue interference and special treatment in the cases of CPT Griest and 1LT Haver.
That article was quickly condemned by former Ranger Training Brigade Commander Colonel David Fivecoat, as well as the former Fort Benning Maneuver Center Commander, General Scott Miller.
They both claimed that no special treatment had been given, and also demanded that Keating reveal her sources.
Rather than fret about maintaining the standards at a school designed to produce extremely elite soldiers, they seemed more interested in finding whistleblowers.
However, US Defense Watch received documents which showed that Haver, along with 49 other women at Fort Carson, were provided with 90 straight days of preparation for Ranger School (something that men do not receive).
First Lieutenant Haver even repeatedly flunked land navigation courses at Fort Carson, according to the documents, which should have disqualified her from many roles, and from ever attending Ranger School.
Meanwhile, Miller has since been promoted to General and currently commands all US-led forces in Afghanistan, while Fivecoat retired with full pension and Tricare benefits.
When Keating’s article was released, Congressman Steve Russell, who was an army officer and graduated Ranger School (without special dispensation), demanded to see the records from Ranger Schools for the pair of female graduates.
His attempts were consistently thwarted by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, who never served in the military.
Eventually, Russell was told that the records had been destroyed, a clear violation of policy.
Russell then altered his tactics, requesting the ‘green cards,’ Ranger School transcripts, for the pair. Still, he has been denied, and he has still received nothing from the Army concerning how these two women managed to pass Ranger School or if they were given special treatment in the name of diversity.
Two months later, Major Lisa Jaster, a 37-year-old mother of two, ‘graduated’ from the school as well. Many point out that a 37-year-old man, at the peak of his physical condition, is rarely capable of graduating the course.
They suspected that the idea that MAJ Jaster graduated was nothing short of fraud.
Recently, two stories came forward that reopened the question about Ranger School and special treatment all over again.
The first involved a woman in June 2018, who wound up pregnant during the training.
She and her boyfriend were both in the school at the same time, and both were recycled during the ‘Benning’ phase (the first phase). While in the ‘Gulag,’ awaiting another class that they could cycle into, she wound up pregnant.
She was removed from the course during Mountain Phase, and told that she could return after her maternity leave ends.
The idea that a pregnant woman could keep up with the demands of Ranger School is absurd.
Last week, Popular Military reported that the “first female enlisted soldier” to complete the course quit during the first phase, but was given multiple chances to restart phases of the course, according to sources within the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade.
The article said that several sources from the brigade, including Ranger Instructors, said that the NCO quit the course, but was allowed to return and recycle several times.
Normally, someone who quits Ranger School, an option that everyone in the school has at any time, is not allowed back ever. Rangers aren’t quitters; Rangers lead the way and take on the Army’s toughest missions. Recycling is for people who are injured, or who have to leave the course for some sort of emergency, or for people who show promise but made a mistake.
Of course, that’s not the only place where rumors of a ‘diverse’ standard arose.
At Sand Hill, Infantry recruits claimed there was a clear double-standard for women, including lighter load and lowered expectations.
These claims, if true, serve only to undermine the fitness of the Army, as a fighting force, to fight. The United States military doesn’t need Infantry that can’t meet the standards, whatever their sex or gender may be, and they don’t need Rangers who only passed thanks to special treatment.
Many argue hopefully, Secretary of Defense Mattis will see what is happening, and will correct the behaviors. Otherwise, the Ranger tab will be devalued, the Infantry will be less effective, and good people may well die because some members can’t perform as they are expected to, all in the name of ‘diversity.’