Ranger School Update

Of those three women who were permitted to try a third time at Ranger School, two have made it through the mountain phase at Camp Frank D. Merrill. There remains only the swamp phase between them and graduation. If they both succeed, that will set the female pass rate at 10%, assuming three tries, with the male pass rate standing at 45%.

Though I think this experiment has roundly proven that women should continue to be excluded from Ranger School, and indeed the infantry in general, these two women are extraordinarily worthy of praise. I have nothing but the deepest respect for them and their glorious accomplishment.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yeah, that's always the hard part. You don't want to belittle their accomplishment, but you don't want to pretend the numbers are anything other than what they are.

E Hines said...

The numbers make their individual accomplishment all the stronger--and appear to demonstrate the isolated nature of what they've achieved.

Eric Hines

Matt said...

Assuming they intend to continue this policy, hopefully they're at least learning something to pass on to future female participants. Something along the lines of exercises to emphasize when preparing (potentially starting YEARS prior) and injury hazards to take particular care in avoiding.

By the way, I assume the rationale for continuing exclusion is that allowing women to apply means allocating limited Ranger training slots to participants who are statistically far less likely to succeed?

Grim said...

I don't think the issue is (or ought to be) whether or not they can succeed at the school, but what we learn from the school about how survivable they would be in a combat unit. This and the Marine Corps' IOC are showing us that even the schools are a problem. What is really at stake is whether we are capable of learning from empirical observations of this reality, or whether we're just going to have to do this because of the political environment even though it is certain to end up hurting the people we send downrange.

Matt said...

Do we have any data one way or the other on whether the lack of success women have had in passing elite training like Ranger school or IOC correlates to their performance in more average combat units? I do recall some data here or at Cass's blog regarding relative injury rates being considerably higher for women.

I think part of the issue here is one balancing military service for individual self-fulfillment versus service for the good of the country. Much is made of the "right to serve," but is this right (or one's choice over the specialty in which one serves) more important than the military's institutional need to balance fielding the best candidates at the lowest cost (including screening and selection costs) to the national treasury? The flip side is, with an all-volunteer force in a highly individualistic society, how much do you need to cater to your volunteers' desires for how they will perform their own service in order to even have enough high-quality applicants to pick from?