Some women DO belong in Ranger School

Sometimes the WSJ depresses me. I read it for sensible, no BS news and financial analysis, and then their opinion page goes off the deep end with this sort of crap.

I almost don’t want to link to this — it’s that embarrassing to the author in my opinion, but some guy whose Army time criss-crossed mine wrote an opinion piece saying that there should be no women in Ranger School.

Well, I’ve always thought this view was dead-ass wrong. He collapses a whole lot of assumptions inside his argument — that physical standards will go down, for example — and makes other arguments that have nothing to do with the real issue for him or for female soldiers. If standards go down, that’s the problem, not the women. There certainly are people who think that the standards went down between the time many of my peers went, early 90s, and me in 1993 — there was no live fire in Utah in my class. Since then, of course, Ranger School has dropped a phase, and might even be shorter in terms of days. I don’t really know — and it doesn’t matter because that’s not the point. The point is that there is someone making decisions about the course whose job it is to improve the training and selection of young leaders. It’s that person’s job (and the RI’s) to maintain the standards, not those people talking about the golden age of Ranger School.

My Army was a meritorious one. We tried really damn hard to focus on whether a solder could do the job, not the color of his skin, the personal equipment hidden inside her underwear, the language he spoke at home, or even, frankly, the passport she carried.

Some soldiers belong in Ranger School. Others don’t. The criteria we use are not in any way automatically linked to having a penis, even if strength is typically correlated with the testosterone that accompanies having a willy. There’s a world of difference in quality among the males in Ranger School, too, let’s not forget. Can you compare a bat boy E-3 to an O-3 Navy seal? Those guys are worlds apart in skill, will, and future promise. But both were part of my platoon and worked their asses off. Can you compare a white warrant officer helicopter pilot with a black infantry lieutenant with an asian commo officer? No, even then we knew that was a distinction without a difference. Two made it, one didn’t — that’s the only difference anyone should care about.

There are women I knew in the Army, and certainly some I’ve met since, who absolutely have the physical stamina to survive Ranger School (yes, an Ironman is only 17 hours, but there’s a whole lot of training and dedication that can’t really be separated from the race itself). Mental stamina? I don’t think anyone can argue that out of all the women who’ve already decided to join the Army, there’s no chance that any of them could tough it out.

This article embarrasses me — it’s one more stupid-ass stereotype that I have to fight as a former soldier, Infantry officer, and proud recipient of MY Ranger Tab, Class 9-93.

Fuck this guy. If I ended up in battle, hell yeah, I’d want someone wearing a tab next to me. I’d look there long before I tried to peek in someone’s underpants.


  1. mark on February 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I am 9-93 grad of Ranger school—-At the time I was an E7 with Special forces. 33 years old. I concur with all you’ve written. Thanks. I was looking for a list of 9-93 grads.

  2. rickcolosimo on February 8, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Glad you found this little bit of news. I only knew one SF guy, who was from the NYC area. I have the class photo up on one of my other blogs, I think.

    Thanks for writing!