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Army 75th Ranger Regiment to get its first female soldier

By DIANNA CAHN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — A female soldier has become the first to pass the selection course for the exclusive Army 75th Ranger Regiment and will become the first female special operator in the military sometime in the spring, a spokesman for the unit said.

The female soldier graduated the regiment’s Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 2 in December after completing the 21-day course for officers and noncommissioned officers in the rank of staff sergeant and above, Lt. Col. Rob Bockholt said.

The Army will not release any identifying information about the soldier in keeping with its security policy for all its rangers, Bockholt said.

The 75th Ranger Regiment is the Army’s premier special operations raid force, conducting “large scale joint forcible entry operations” and small surgical raids — inserting quietly into areas around the globe to capture or kill high-value targets. The work is physically and psychologically demanding, requiring specialized fitness and training skills.

The course for leadership-level soldiers and officers, known as RASP 2, lasts three weeks. Among the requirements to pass the course, soldiers must:

• Pass the Ranger fitness test, which includes 58 push-ups, 69 sit-ups, six pull-ups and running 5 miles in 40 minutes or less.

• Pass a water survival assessment.

• Participate in a 12-mile march with a 35-pound rucksack and weapon in less than three hours.

• Undergo a mental evaluation.

According to information provided by the Army in October, two women had attempted to pass the regiment selection course but failed. Two others were at the time scheduled to attend the training.

The Army would not release any other details, but the website for veterans Task & Purpose, which was first to report the story, said the soldier is an officer.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Ranger regiment has had members continually deployed around the globe.

To date, three women have graduated the Army’s Ranger School, a grueling course that earns soldiers a Ranger tab. Soldiers who graduate Army Ranger school return to their conventional units and the training is separate from the 75th Ranger Regiment training.

Like other special operations occupations, Ranger positions were off-limits to women until December 2015, when Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced all occupations would be open to women.

The Marines had requested an exemption for some of its infantry occupations but, ultimately, Carter rejected any exclusions to the policy.

The 75th Ranger Regiment comprises three regular battalions and a special troops battalion. Two of the battalions are based in Georgia at Hunter Army Airfield and the regiment’s headquarters in Fort Benning, and one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Bockholt said the female soldier will arrive at the new unit in a couple of months.

cahn.dianna@stripes.com
Twitter: @DiannaCahn
 

A sign in the shape of the U.S. Army Ranger tab hangs above the training area at Fort Benning, Ga., in April, 2014.
AUSTIN BERNER/U.S. ARMY

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