Five women fail Army’s Ranger course

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The five women soldiers in the Army’s latest class of Ranger School have failed to qualify for the next phase of training, a Defense official said Friday.

The women were part of a class of 417 soldiers who began the physical assessment phase of training on Nov. 1. Of that number, 197 soldiers — all men — have passed on to the next portion of training.

The Army does not disclose information about the gender of the Ranger trainees, or that of the other schools at Ft. Benning, said Bob Purtiman, a spokesman at the post.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the course, said the disqualification of the women shows the Army has not lowered its standards for Ranger training.

All of the services are under scrutiny — from troops, veterans and members of Congress — as they move toward a Dec. 31 deadline to open all military jobs, including elite special forces, to women. To bar women from a discipline, the services must petition Defense Secretary Ash Carter with data to show why they must be excluded.

Three women have graduated this year from the Army’s elite Ranger school: Capt. Kristen Griest, Lt. Shaye Haver and Maj. Lisa Jaster. They received the coveted Ranger tab in courses that were designed to assess how women could be integrated into the training. The other 19 women in the assessment courses failed to qualify.

In September, the Army announced all further classes would be open to all regardless of gender. Ranger School puts soldiers through grueling training in which they are deprived of sleep and rest and are tested for leadership.