FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 24, 2015
Barrier falls: First female Army Rangers show that strength comes in both genders
Read any military-related coverage and tell in a few words or a sentence what it reflects about America.
Now find for a photo or story with an example of women in a civilian job. Why does or doesn't that type of work appeal to you?
Does today’s sports section have one or more articles about women or photos of them? Why does or doesn’t that matter?
Ninety-six soldiers graduated last Friday from the grueling U.S. Army Ranger School, a four-month program for entry into an elite fighting force. Two survivors, Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, are the first women to make it. "We can handle things physically and mentally on the same level as men," says Capt. Griest. “We can deal with the same stresses and training."
Now the military will determine, after two years of study, which combat positions will be open to women. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who gets recommendations next month from the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, will decide by late December. "All ground combat positions will be open to women unless rigorous analysis" shows a compelling reason they should not be gender-neutral, he says.
Last week’s 96 graduates were winnowed from 400 who started training April 20. More than three-quarters of the trainees, including 17 women, fell short of making it through training marked by limited meals, sleep deprivation and physical tests in harsh conditions — all while hauling a 60-pound pack. "This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential," says Army Secretary John McHugh. Guests at the Ranger School ceremony at Fort Benning in Georgia included about 50 women who had graduated in past years from West Point, the Army academy for officers. "We have been working on this for decades," said Donna McAleer, a 1987 graduate who flew in from Salt Lake City. "There are thousands of servicewomen who are behind them."
Female Ranger says: "Your mind can take a whole lot more than your body." – First Lt. Shaye Haver
Ranger classmate says: "I would trust her with my life." – Second Lt. Michael Janowski, fellow graduate
Former female Marine says: "Adding women [to combat units] creates more danger for everyone and risks compromising missions. . . . Women are targeted as easy marks because their capture and torture devastate American morale, further hindering our ability to fight our enemies." – Jude Eden, who served from 2004-08
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