- The Washington Times - Friday, April 24, 2015

Of the 19 women who began the first integrated Ranger Course on Sunday, eight have survived the Ranger Assessment Phase and are continuing through one of the Army’s most elite training programs.

Four-hundred soldiers arrived at the training at Fort Benning, Ga. – 381 men and 19 women, who had previously passed the Ranger Training Assessment Course. Eight women and 184 men are still participating in the Ranger course, according to a Fort Benning release on Thursday.

The overall success rate after the Ranger Assessment Phase, which lasts four days, is 48 percent, officials said. Broken down by gender, that’s a 48.3-percent success rate for men and 42.1 percent for women, both of which are “within historic norms for the Ranger course,” officials said.

The first week of the Ranger course begins with a physical fitness test, including 49 pushups, 59 situps, a 5-mile run in under 40 minutes and 6 chin-ups, officials said. Three women and 78 men washed out of the Ranger course on the first day after the physical assessment.

After passing the physical fitness test, the remainder of the Ranger Assessment Phase involves completing a land navigation test, a swim test and a 12-mile foot march with a 35-pound rucksack in under three hours, officials said.

Eight women and 119 men failed to complete this portion of the course.

This is the first Ranger course open to women, which is being offered as part of the broader effort to test which combat positions should be opened to women and what the standards should be. The military must either open all jobs to women or request and receive a waiver from Congress to keep a position closed by January.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said earlier this week that “maybe” all jobs will be open, though he was optimistic at least most would be as testing in the individual services continued.

While some combat positions, like Riverine units or communications jobs with special operations squads, are open to women, others, including the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are still closed as the services test how and if they should be opened to women.

Any women who are able to complete the entire Ranger course, which lasts about two months, will be able to wear the Ranger tab, but will not be assigned to a Ranger regiment.

• Jacqueline Klimas can be reached at jklimas@washingtontimes.com.

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