Category Archives: Rangers and Rangerettes

The Rangerette Publicity Machine

The fix, it turned out, was in.

The fix, it turned out, was in.

As everyone who has not been under a rock knows, the two women who have been in Ranger School for six months or so as ambassadors militant for their sex are set to graduate, By Direction of the President, this week. Since the President is coming to the graduation, there can be no question of them not passing or being graded like the real students. They are tabbed out, which requires a definition of this ancient Ranger term (well, it appeared to be of very great antiquity when we contacted it in Ranger school in October, 1982). What is “tabbed out”?

Tabbed Out

It’s an insidious attitude that some Ranger School attendees get when they are confident that they have enough patrols to graduate personally; a certain personality type, a Courtney Massengale if you will, ceases effort beyond the minimum. He’s (and up to now, they’ve all been “he”s) tabbed out.

If not before, our two women were Tabbed Out the moment the phone rang in Building 4, telling someone that the Preident was coming to their graduation. By Direction of the President, they were tabbed out. Nothing they did after that point could have prevented their graduation, probably not even dying — unlike previous deaths on the course, they’d have gotten a posthumous tab.

The Ranger Instructors are alert to this phenomenon and, where they can, administer doses of humility when required. They can’t always.

There have always been a few candidates — sons of serving generals, for instance — for whom Failure Was Not An Option, not because they had no failure in them (we have learned that martial ardor is a more heritable trait than martial ability), but because their success was decreed from On High, usually from the CO or even the Benning CG.

In this case, the men filling those positions are fully-on-board Diversity Is Our Strength social justice warriors.

There’s no Tabbed Out like Tabbed Out By Direction of the President.


Diversity is Strength!

Is diversity strength? It depends, of course. If you left out any of the three ingredients in a structural part made of carbon fiber cloth, epoxy resin, and  epoxy hardener with the latter two reacting in a typically exothermic reaction, well, you would have floppy cloth with goop on it, not a structural part. But if you added to carbon fiber, epoxy resin, and hardener an equal quantity of straw and manure (recognizing, say, the vibrant contributions of Afghan home builders), then that particular diversity would not be strength. Hence, “it depends.”

In the end, “Diversity is Strength” sounds less like a rational statement and more like a hortatory slogan, the kind so acidly skewered in Orwell’s 1984: War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Truth!

Diversity is Strength!

You almost want it to be an antiphonal call-and-response: “Diversity is Strength!” “Amen!”

No, diversity is not strength. Judicious diversity, which is not the sort pursued today, is how the addition of carbon to iron produces steel. Addition of cobalt, of tungsten, chromium or nickel in trace amounts produces all the many structural and mechanical steels that, unseen, make the world work — the real world, the one that the English majors and lawyers simply grow atop like mildew, thinking that they’re in command.

Addition of random ingredients to your melt isn’t likely to produce superior steel — diversity, in that case, is “inclusions.” To burn it down to a slogan, except for very few very defined instances, Diversity saps Strength.

The Lesson of 1974

1974 was a great year for social justice warriors. For the United States, of course, it was a year of chaos, retrenchment and decline, which may or may not be related to that. But in the Army of 1974 — an Army riven by a rocky transition from a narrow, unfair draft, by racial division, and rampant drug use — the Most Important Thing wasn’t solving any of those problems, about which leadership was in deepest denial.

It was (drumroll please) Opportunities for Women.

First, and most important to Academy graduates, at least, the Military Academy prepared to admit its first women, who would be the only members of the Class of 1980 celebrated by the press. (The press, then as now in the grip of its not-antiwar-just-on-the-other-side shame from Vietnam, wishes the Army and all in it ill, so perhaps lionization in the press is not a good marker of martial value). But what we saw was the change imparted to another venerable institution, and one that had rather more to do with victory in WWII than West Point did, to wit, jump school.

Airborne School admitted its first women in 1974. And the first women were carefully selected and prepared female officers (sound familiar?) who were subject to sex-normed “same standards” as the men. By all accounts, that first class actually did their best and met the standards, as long as you only graded them on the female curve.

The problem with carefully selecting women who can almost hang with the guys is this: you run out of freaks of nature and weight-lifting high-T lesbians pretty quickly. So for subsequent classes, the powers that be had to either accept very high female attrition or lower the standards further. In the end, they essentially dropped standards for female attendees and that led to a precipitous drop in standards at the school in general.

It started with the runs. Airborne runs were once “legendary,” as in stories told to both encourage and intimidate the young, but within a few years they were “legendary,” as in “something that took place so long in the past that all that is left is apocryphal oral tradition. At first, women who fell out of runs were yelled at and shamed but they cried and called their Congressmen, so that stopped. Within a very few years, they ran if they wanted, and didn’t run if they didn’t feel like it, and no one said anything. The Army made sure the recruiting brochure for jump school looked like a college catalog: a centrally managed race and sex mix designed to look Inclusive.

True, paratroopers coming out of the course could no longer be expected to have displayed courage, fitness, and commitment, but none of those things were necessary any longer: diversity was our strength!

By 1980, the date of the emergence of that first batch of West Point women from their cocoon on the Hudson, it was functionally impossible to fail jump school. Sure, there was still plenty of pointless hazing and harassment, and this induced people to quit, but by 1980 there were no standards. Fog a mirror, pass the course.

In that case, why have a course? The essence of military parachuting can be taught to a static-line jumper in a day, maybe a half day. But the course is what they’ve always done; for the Army, then 205 years of tradition untainted by progress, better to have a sham course than to admit the Emperor’s hairy butt was showing.

What happened in Airborne School happened across the military. At first, “women just want to compete on the same level playing field.” Then, “the standards are biased against women.” At first, “women don’t want to change the Army, they want to join it.” Then, it was, “the culture is hostile to women.”

From there it was a short step to making mechanics take down Snap-On calendars in the motor pool, because the slinky girls on the calendars, and the fact that the men liked looking at them, were kryptonite to the acidulous Sapphic sadducees of DACOWITS.

It was a short step from the first guy whose career got canc’d because he pointed out the the girls in his motor pool couldn’t lift their toolboxes, to contracts demanding impossible lighter tools, to a motor pool where a guy carries the girl’s toolbox, always, and she thinks she did it herself. Because you go, girl!

From there, it was a short step to where we are today.

The Publicity Campaign

And that brings us to today’s publicity campaign. It has been unprecedented in its breadth: it not only has reached the usual febrile triage plazas of diversity cant, but the PR agency actually got the mother of one of the Rangerettes on the Rush Limbaugh show. And it has been unprecedented in its persistence. They’ve even reached out to blogs hostile to their message, in this format:

From: Cathy Renna <>
Date: Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 2:19 PM
Subject: Expert Availability Re: First Women Graduating Army Ranger School
To: [a well known military blog]

Media Contact: Sue Fulton


Phone: 908.256.xxxx

Expert Availability Re: Women Graduating Army Ranger School

Washington, DC – Two women West Point graduates are poised to become the first women to graduate the Army’s Ranger School.

The following women West Pointers are available to discuss the impact of this historic event:

Donna McAleer, West Point ’87, author of “Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line,” member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service.

Anne MacDonald, Brig. Gen. (ret.), West Point ’80, part of the first West Point class to graduate women, the only class of ’80 woman to reach general officer rank.

Sue Fulton, West Point ’80, part of that first class, first woman graduate Chair of the West Point Board of Visitors.

Targetcue, by the way, is a GLBT advocacy firm closely tied to the administration, that works largely through a network of gay and lesbian reporters. It’s managing partner (and, it seems, chief cook and bottle washer) is Cathy Renna, who sent the above email. (We have removed details of email and phone addresses, because even militant lesbians trying to destroy the Army have a right privacy).

Renna writes:

Everybody wants their “name” in the media, but we’ll get your story told and told well. Target Cue provides premiere services for audience-targeted media outreach at all levels, from mainstream media to more audience specific outlets and social media. With decades of experience and long-term trusted relationships with and access to journalists and bloggers, your story is in good hands at Target Cue. With a full range of services that start with audience targeting and includes message development to placement of stories and opeds/blogs posts, TargetCue will work with you from beginning to end to maximize the impact of your media visibility and leverage media coverage in diverse ways.

You might be inclined to credit her for all the publicity barrage we’re seeing, but Targetcue is just one of scores if not hundreds of PR flack rookeries that have been mobilized not only to sell the public on the idea of Rangerettes, but to make it seem as if the public was always sold, and as if this whole idea originated out there in real America and not around conferences tables of careerist officers and lesbo-feminist activists. Those aren’t equivalent groups but there is a large intersection in the sets.

We’re teaching our young officers that they can have anything they want if they just throw enough of a tantrum. That will be one hell of a military to send into combat.

Of course, they won’t care. By then, they’ll be out. They’ll be “activists.”

What’s Next?

The Navy folded, and CNO Jon Greenert says SEAL standards will drop to meet the available women. (That’s the real subtext of all his bloviating. He knows who signs his paycheck). Where are they going to get SEALettes from? Maybe Cathy Renna has some in her little black book. And mad social justice leader Ray Mabus has set a 25% floor for women in the Navy and Marines — and every job therein. Guided by the wisdom of Comrade Academician Lysenko, we move forwards to the New Soviet Man Nongendered Human Being. Meanwhile, everybody’s racial classification, the bean most lovingly counted by racialist diversicrats, turns out to be remarkably fluid.

How does the Army meet these raised stakes in Diversity Poker? Well, one of the Rangerettes hasn’t been awarded the title of Best Ranger yet. That’s still open! And there’s this ugly guy with lipstick just named to some White House position. Why not make him/her/it Secretary of Defense? It’s not like the guy in the office now would be missed. Heck, there’s the Trans Barrier, and then there’s the Poly Barrier, and then there’s the NAMBLA Barrier. There’s no end to the Diversity that can be our Strength!

Meanwhile, the Army has announced that most soldiers will not be able to trade above squad level this year as the Army regresses to Depression-era end strength. Leadership emphasis is, you see, elsewhere.

Meanwhile, 10k .mil email addresses (6.8k Army) were found on the Ashley Madison hook-up web site, and  the DOD is investigating all for adultery. That will help them get to the new 80k cuts they’re talking about, and a few more to make room  (If you’re counting, 45 DHS emails, 88 Bureau of Prisons, and 10 officials in Philadelphia city government, too). So moral of story: it‘s a really good time for warriors to leave and let the West Point activist types have the Army to themselves.


Marines Fire Leader Who Challenged Women to Excel

Lt. Col. Kate Germano

Lt. Col. Kate Germano (USMC Official).

A year ago, Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano, a lean, leathery, intense woman who’d had one key assignment after the next, took charge of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion, the Marines’ East Coast female-recruit training battalion. This unit had, for decades, accepted the idea that women needn’t achieve to men’s standards. She didn’t have any illusions about what women could and couldn’t do, but she also knew that “the soft bigotry of low expectations” was not the way to make Marines out of her young women.

And so she changed things. Boy howdy, did she change things. Things that had been accepted for decades in the unit — like female Marine recruits far underperforming males in rifle qualification. Germano was on solid ground here. Any experienced trainer can tell you women can compete shot-for-shot with their male counterparts on any flat range, and the Marines have made the flat, known-distance range the foundation stone of their world-renowned reputation for riflery.

She didn’t cut failing recruits slack. She didn’t cut her officers any slack. And she didn’t cut herself any slack, either. She treated everyone the same — like adults. Professionals. Marines.

As you might expect, some recruits and Marines thrived under Germano’s set-the-standard-and-meet-the-standard leadership. And some didn’t.

And the women that didn’t were resentful.

And the resentful women, unable to face Germano and perform at Marine levels, took a passive-aggressive approach. Whispering. Conniving. And ultimately, back-stabbing.

To the delight of the women who want being a woman in the Marines to be a free ride of lower standards, Brig. Gen. Terry Williams, the CG of Parris Island, relieved Germano for cause on 30 Jun 2015. Williams cited a “hostile, unprofessional and abusive” command climate, by which he meant, Germano’s insistence on high standards and the uncomfortable spotlight she shone on those Marines who fell short of her standards — or didn’t try.

“What she did when she came is she changed the mentality of the Marines in the battalion and the recruits to not expect a historically lower performance than the male recruits at the battalion,” said a female Marine officer stationed at the depot, one of three who spoke with Marine Corps Times on condition of anonymity, for fear of professional retribution. “Almost all the categories performed better during her tenure, just by challenging the training protocol of performing separately.”

Many of the Marines in the training battalion were happy with the old, lower standards and with the old command that accepted underperforming recruits as “good enough” for women.

“I thought she proposed some good initiatives such as transparency in billet selections and improving rifle range scores,” the Marine [one of the subordinates selected for a survey meant to “get” Germano] wrote. “However, as the summer wore in, it became apparent that [Germano] thought she was fixing a broken battalion with a poor command climate.”

Women recruits of the 4th Battalion on the rifle range. Like all Marines, they engaged targets to 500 yards (460m).

Women recruits of the 4th Battalion on the rifle range. Like all Marines, they engage targets to 500 yards (460m).

Germano’s reputation suffered due to a lack of buy-in to her reform efforts from other officers in the unit, said another officer who spoke with the paper.

“Lt. Col. Germano is direct, and people have a tendency to take it personally,” she said. “If it had come from a male officer, there would have been no objection.”

Gee, that’s almost a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that there are sex-linked cognitive and behavioral differences that need to be taken into account when leading Marines, or anybody else, for that matter. Can’t have that!

Another Parris Island officer who supported Germano’s fight to address unit personnel shortfalls said the unit was better for having her as a commanding officer.

“The battalion was headed in the right direction under Lt. Col. Germano,” the officer said. “She meant well. She was very passionate for what she did and believed in.”

There is more information, although it’s rather haphazardly organized, in the story  at the Marine Corps Times. The particular thing that seemed to have been used by Germano’s subordinate officers to bring her down was her straying from the current politically dictated Party Line on sexual assault in the services.

On one occasion, the investigation found, she made comments during a sexual assault prevention brief that female Marines interpreted as victim-blaming, leading some to testify that it would make them feel less comfortable reporting a sexual assault within the command.

Blaming victims? Quel horreur! What did this horrible woman actually say — if our sensitive ears can hear the words?

Allegations that Germano took a “victim-blaming” approach to sexual assault prevention stem from a January brief to officers. Witnesses said she implied that sexual assault is “100 percent preventable” and that “by drinking, you are putting yourself in a position to be sexually assaulted.” One attendee said she would not feel comfortable reporting an assault following the brief because she felt it would not be taken seriously.

Got that? Tell the young women you’re supposed to be mentoring that they make it easy for the approximately 100% of men that are horny dogs by getting drunk and sloppy, and you’re “victim-blaming.” Hey, today’s young women Marine officers are the product of today’s university hook-up culture, where when you discover the morning after that you settled for a guy a few rungs further down the appeal market than you would have gone sober, so you call rape on him. (Unless any of them are from Columbia, where you call rape on the guy who wouldn’t sleep with you, and then make a production out of carrying a mattress around to get your 15 minutes of tramp fame).

“Stay sober, keep your wits about you” = “victim-blaming.” Lord love a duck.

In addition to crucifying her for that common-sense advice, something we would hope every father and mother tells their daughters (and sons!), Germano, we are not making this up, “reinforced gender bias and stereotypes” by telling her Marines that they needed to compete on a level playing field with the men, not set themselves a comfortable, easy, lower standard. Thus,  her relief is a big win for double standards in the USMC. (One of Germano’s “unreasonable” standards was for her Marines to break an 8-minute mile in the 3-mile run, not exactly Olympian performance. And to do more than the previous commander’s pull-up standard: zero).

The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, a cabal of professional DOD race-and-sex-quota grievance-mongers, were called in by the dissidents’ sponsors in the command to carry out a survey of the battalion — a survey taken by only 64 Marines, who self-selected for the opportunity to “get” Germano.

The new commander is already returning the unit to comfortable lower standards on runs and ruck-marches, and the new boss brings in the new pull-up minimum, same as the old minimum: zero. With Germano gone, the women that thrived under her leadership are the next round of targets for career assassination. But one legacy may survive: the recruits of the 4th may still be expected to shoot as well as, well, Marines.

The great irony here is that Germano is hardly some old-style, anti-feminist, warrior for the cismale gendernormative patriarchy (that would be us). She’s a fully PC post-sex “gender”-wise social justice warrior, a former officer aid to Secretary (“Let’s have fewer ships and name them for more inconsequential people!”) Ray Mabus. She was one of them, for crying out loud.

As she sits trying to figure out what life after the Marine Corps is going to look like, muttering, “They turned on me! I was one of them!” let her consider the fate of “one of them.”

What did become of Trotsky? Of Robespierre? The Revolution never loses its interest in you. 



On looking back at this story, we see that we quoted Hope Hodge Seck’s article in the Marine Corps Times extensively in this piece, without linking it. Her article is the source of the block-quotes inline above. We regret the oversight; it’s our policy always to link the sources we quote from inasmuch as possible.

Rangerette Tease: They’re Hangin’ In There

RangerTabIt’s not official, and they could still step on their… uh, make a serious error, but as of Thursday night it was highly probable that the three female officers remaining in Ranger School are going to pass the Camp Darby subphase of the school and move on to the second phase in the mountains at Dahlonega, Georgia. The two lieutenants and one major have finally passed the phase, after three attempts (and a considerable rest-up before their third shot). Last week, they passed the RAP Week phase (for each of them, a second time) without drama or difficulty.

On their third attempt at Camp Darby, the three women all passed one patrol. None has passed two. None has failed more than one (one or possibly two has only been graded once). With them “tabbed out” on patrols — at least as far as Darby is concerned — the course managers stopped assigning them to graded positions. This is often, but not always, done for men. The graded positions on the last couple days of the phase are going to the guys who need a Darby patrol pass to avoid recycle or dismissal, not to students who have demonstrated that they can lead a patrol — male or female alike.

None of the three women is in trouble on spot reports (negative spot reports can lead to phase and even course failure). Moreover, the instructors and observer/advisers think that these Ranger candidates are unlikely to have any trouble with peer reports, the last academic hurdle to completing the phase. Unless one of the women is injured, she will complete the phase.

There is no graduation. Instead, the soldiers get a few hours’ break — most of which will be spent chasing down equipment for the next phase — and then are transported to the Mountain Ranger Camp, a rustic hillside setting that they will spend little time in. Instead, they’ll be outdoors, doing some crude mountaineering (knot tying, rappelling, intro to technical climbing, etc.) and then running heavier and longer patrols. In the mountains they will have long movements and very difficult terrain. They will walk the contour of steep hills and struggle through tangled clearcuts at night.

Unless things have changed drastically, and weather and equipment permitting, airborne-qualified candidates will jump into a small DZ at mountain camp, and non-airborne candidates will be bused to the camp. The jumpers get five hours’ sleep before the jump for safety reasons (the legs do all guard duties). This five hours is the longest sleep a Ranger candidate can count on in the remainder of the course, at least until the next jump (probably into the culminating Florida phase).

So far, the Ranger Instructors are confident that the women have met the same standards as the men, with the single exception that Col. Fivecoat, the RTB commander, has been easier on them on recycles. Even then, they have not had treatment that is outside the range of what men have had.

Has there been… pressure? Depends on how you define it. The RIs are generally Ranger, infantry or SOF combat vets, so their idea of “pressure” doesn’t include being bossed around. Fivecoat is committed to the success of women in Ranger School, and he goes around telling folks that “the women must pass,” but he also says, “the standard must be held.” In his mind there is no contradiction. The RIs have done a pretty good job insulating the students from the looky-loos and media and giving them as normal a Ranger School experience as they can.

Tomorrow we should have the official word. Also tomorrow: here on, at 1100: how a Marine officer tried to lead women to perform up to the men’s standards — and how it ended her high-flying career.

Exit Question:

A Ranger Regiment vet has pointed out that “Rangerette” has, or at least, had, a different meaning in Scroll World. We’ve wounded his amour-propre by using the term for something else entirely, the 1000 women who said they were going to Ranger school, the 138 who actually tried out, the 19 who made it to the school… and the three lonely women who are still hanging in there.

If not “Rangerettes,” what do we call these women? At least until the day (if the day comes) when women in Ranger school are commonplace (which would, of course, require the standards to be lowered to the level of the 19, the 138, or the 1,000. While they denied any standard had changed at all).

Your suggestions for a rename for this category are welcome. Absent a really rockin’ idea, we stick with Rangerettes.

Rangerette Micro-Update

RangerTabRAP week is over. The two LTs and one MAJ have passed it for a second time. RAP week includes all the events that weed out the completely unprepared: PT test, a minimal swim test, various water events, a laughable land nav course that still produces over 10% failures, Ranger runs and a rucksack march. The women, like most of their male peers, passed these tests to standard.

Off to Darby again, where these three officers have performed well enough in the past that Brigade Commander COL David Fivecoat (an avid supporter of the women in Ranger School initiative) expects them to finally pass some patrols.

These officers have received generally positive peer reports, but none of them has passed a single graded patrol.

Ranger students must pass one patrol in each phase, at least four patrols overall, and at least half of their assigned graded patrol leadership positions. Recycles get their counter reset to zero.

An interesting thing is happening. The attrition of the men serving alongside these women is higher than it is usually in all-male classes. Higher enough to be noticeable, but not completely out of range of Ranger School experience (which is decently well documented over a longitudinal span of some 65 years). There’s not enough data yet to suggest whether this result was a one-class anomaly or whether it will be the norm with women students on board.

We may have some observations on the psychological and behavioral differences that instructors have observed, later this week.

Rangerettes are Back At It.

One of the "one time only" admittees from Class 6-15 in April, taking her PT test. Most of the women passed the PT test that day. It was downhill from there, and now we're seeing pressure to lower standards.

One of the “one time only” admittees from Class 6-15 in April, taking her PT test. Most of the women passed the PT test that day (we dunno about this gal, but her pushup form looks OK). It was downhill from there, and now we’re seeing pressure to lower standards.

On 21 June a new Ranger Class (8-15) kicked off at Fort Benning and RAP Week is on. Among the trainees are three Day One recycles from Class 7-15, all women. Two men were also offered a Day One recycle after failing the Darby phase, but declined the recycle and went either back to their units (if they came from troop units), on to the next stage of their initial training cycle (if they were newly accessioned officers and had training schools still ahead), or, if they came from Ranger Regiment, back to haul their gear across base to a non-Ranger unit.

Whatever we can say about these women, two lieutenants and a major, you can’t criticize their guts. They haven’t, however, done well leading patrols. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the ones no one seems to be considering is that leadership is not for everybody. The Army is pretty good at teaching its people to fake it till they make it, and even introverts can be effective with the simple checklist leadership taught at Ranger School.

A common beef is that, as the women don’t come from combat arms, they can’t be expected to know anything about patrolling or, say, warning orders. That’s nonsense; patrolling is necessary for any unit to secure its perimeter, and writing warning, operations, and fragmentary orders is a common skill at all officer and NCO leadership levels. One of the struggling candidates is a major, for the love of Mike, and therefore has ten years in a wartime Army, and is ambitious enough to want to pursue this badge on the theory that it will catapult her into high command. Can’t do an operations order?

Maybe this gig is not for you.


The press reaction has been about what you might expect. The Christian Science Monitor carefully explained that these women who failed are better than the men who passed, because feminism or something. The Washington Post went to one of its go-to experts on the military, Ellen Haring:

Ellen Haring, a reserve Army colonel, expressed disbelief that none of the 19 women who originally qualified to try Ranger School has succeeded. ….

Haring said that the longer that Ranger School is left open to women, the more accepted it will be in the ranks and the more likely it is that a woman will graduate. She questioned how men who do not come from a combat arms background can pass Ranger School after attending a preliminary courses at Fort Benning, but no woman has.

The Post elides a lot of Haring’s background. They say of her:

She’s a leader of No Exceptions, a campaign organized by the non-partisan Truman Project and Center for National Policy that calls for all jobs in the military to be opened to women who qualify.

The Truman Project is so non-partisan it’s named for the Democrat who rose to the Presidency by accident (and stayed there largely by wit) and is the nearest thing to a saint today’s irreligious Democrats recognize. Start a timer now, stop it when the Post writes “the nonpartisan Reagan Institute….”

And Haring’s “No Exceptions” is a group that argues for the elimination of standards so that careerist women officers — we’d say, like Haring, but she’s a Reserve officer, well over 50 years old, so what career? — can rise “proportionately” regardless of merit.

Haring herself has tried to sue herself to military advancement, a fact well known to the Post’s dishonest Dan Lamothe, but left out of Lamothe’s article. Of course, manipulating regulations and threatening and executing lawsuits are a common tactic among careerist women; these typically female passive-aggressive behaviors are more or less the opposite of markers of leadership potential.

“If you know your enemy, but don’t know yourself,” Sun Tzu wrote, you’re not going to win consistently. This absence of self-knowledge is evident in the subtext of the following paragraph by Dishonest Dan:

Sources familiar with the assessment said some of the final eight women were shocked and frustrated when they learned they didn’t pass the next part, the Darby Phase. It is known for its daunting Darby Queen obstacle course, but includes a variety of exercises in which Ranger students take turns planning and leading foot patrols through the wooded hills of Fort Benning. That’s where most, if not all, of the female students were dropped.

Ranger students are graded by both peers and Ranger instructors (RIs). The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to concerns about damaging their careers, said many of the women who made it to the Darby Phase were graded well by their fellow male Ranger students — a process known as peer reviews — but informed at the end that they had failed at least two patrols and wouldn’t be able to continue.

The anonymous sources Dan is relying on to tell his story here may or may not exist. The Post frequently makes up military news using phony “anonymous sources.” The one thing that ID’s this guff is that it always fits The Narrative™. Remember “Jessica Lynch, Amazon Warrior Woman?” That story was made up by the Post’s Dana Priest using the fiction of an anonymous source. (Lynch was unconscious during the battle where Priest had her singlehandedly slaying the Iraqi Army, then being captured).

“There’s the sense that no RI really wants to be the first one to pass a woman,” one of the sources said.

Let us fix that for you: “There’s the sense that no RI really wants to be the first one to pass a woman,” Dan Lamothe said. Note the passive, evasive construction. Hell, maybe his source is Haring but based on the Post’s usual ways of military reporting, it’s 100% anal extraction.

Male students who had women in their patrols also failed at an unusually high rate, the sources said. The average Ranger Course typically sees a few dozen soldiers wash out during the Darby Phase, but eight women and 101 men did so in the class that begin Ranger School on April 20. Thirty-five of those men failed to meet the standards to try again, but the rest were allowed to “recycle” and try it again later in May, Army officials said.

Again, Dan’s cryptic “sources” are probably primarily Dan, with a Greek chorus of some members of the Careerist Female Officer Sisterhood.

But if there is an element of truth in the claim that men with women in their squads fail at a higher rate, there is a plausible explanation (if a speculative one. Note that we, unlike Dan Lamothe, tell you when we’re speculating).

In Darby phase, all patrols are small — squad sized. Frankly, many would-be leaders have their hands full keeping track of 5 to 10 other soldiers. And one thing that comes with leadership, in Ranger school, is consequences. If Ranger Smedlap falls asleep in a security position or otherwise fails to perform, the consequences to Smedlap, who is in an ungraded follower position in a patrol led by Ranger Slobotnik, can be severe: a major minus Spot Report. Spot Reports do a number of things — they blot the Ranger candidate’s copybook, in a way that he (or she) has to soldier out of, if possible. Too many and you get dropped (two major minuses, IIRC. Dunno — we only got one Spot Report, a Major Plus). X number of minor minuses add up to a major minus (again, we seem to recall the number was two, but we could be wrong). Worse, from the candidate’s viewpoint, is that a Major Minus Spot flags all the other RIs that this candidate bears watching. One secret to success in Ranger School is to be the grey man. That possibility evaporates once you get a Spot Report, positive or negative.

But the consequences to Ranger Smedlap are secondary to the consequences of Smedlap’s screwup to Slobotnik. Slobotnik gets a no-go, unless he (or she) has done something that mitigates the potential consequences of Smedlap’s failure.

See, you can do everything right yourself, but if your subordinates fail, in Ranger School (unlike many, many places in the Army) you own it. To us, that is the most probable reason that adding females to the squad causes patrol failures, given that none of these females have really demonstrated they’re any good at this.Guts only take you so far. In the end, you have to perform.

Or you can be Ellen Haring, and sue.


One of the commenters on the Post site nails it, in light of comments we’ve already heard from Chief of Political Staff Ray Odierno:

And just like clockwork, here’s Phase II of the entirely predictable campaign to lower standards for women until they can compete, without regard to the consequences of such a policy.

Phase I, of course, is to admit women to the competition under the express condition that standards will in no way be lowered even if every female candidate fails. Phase II is, when all of the female candidates fail, immediately start pressuring everyone concerned to say that obviously the women failed because of discrimination. Phase III will be to create a loophole or different scoring system so women who fail the course are deemed to have passed anyway.

Phase IV will be sending soldiers home in body bags because members of their unit couldn’t hack it but were included anyway out of political correctness, but we never talk about Phase IV. I mean, even less than we never talk about the first three phases.


Update II

In the New York Times, a response to the snoozefest that is the WNBA:

There is one easy way to inject excitement into the sport and get these athletes more of the exposure they deserve.

Lower the rims.

The women who play college and professional basketball are amazing athletes — but they’re also undeniably shorter than their male counterparts. Both in the pros and the college ranks, the men have about seven inches on the women.

Got that? The same no-one-in-my-family-ever-served-or-would media drones who want to stuff women into the military, want standards lowered for them in sport.

Because equality.

Update III

Jonn Lilyea at This Ain’t Hell also examines the Post article, and he too remembers Haring. By the way, as you might expect for a bitchy, litigious slug underachiever who still made O6, she is an Academy grad, married to an Academy grad.

Saturday Matinee 2015 25: Darby’s Rangers (1958)

darbys rangersThe Pentagon, 1942. Staff officer William O. Darby, a West Point grad from Arkansas, is gratified that his idea for an American version of the British Commandos has been accepted by important generals. But there’s a problem: they’ve shortlisted a few men for command, not including him. So — in the movie, at least — Darby’s first battle is to win command of his brainchild.

Then, the combat begins. (Well, actually, first they have to train under the British commandos… and most of them seem to win the hearts of local Scots ladies, sometimes, to the chagrin of their husbands).

This story of the Rangers of WWII — the first American Army regular unit to bear that name since the French and Indian War, although the Rebels had had “Ranger” elements — gets an entertaining, if highly fictional, treatment in Darby’s Rangers. 

Get me out of this damned office! Garner loosely resembled Darby, and unlike Heston, was close to his age in 1942

Get me out of this damned office! Garner loosely resembled Darby, and unlike Heston, was close to his age in 1942

Acting and Production

This was James Garner’s first big-screen role — Darby was supposed to played by Moses Himself,  Charlton Heston, but Garner was promoted from a supporting character into the Darby role. He is better remembered today as a TV actor, but did a credible job here. Of the other actors, most noticeable is Jack Warner as the Yiddish-wisecracking Master Sergeant Saul Rosen, a fictional character, as is almost everyone in this production except Darby and the generals he reports to.

The director, William Wellman, is one of the greats of the mid-20th Century — he won the first Best Picture Oscar (for Wings, a 1927 silent WWI film). He was dragooned into filming Darby’s Rangers as the price of filming his personal white whale, Lafayette Escadrille (which may be the military unit with the greatest number of disappointing films made about it, actually). Wellman was actually a Lafayette Escadrille veteran, and he hated that film enough after Jack Warner monkeyed with it that he wanted his name taken off (he didn’t say that about Darby’s Rangers).

The movie was shot on a budget and it shows, with second-rate black-and-white cinematography and many sound stage scenes, mixed with archival footage, here and there.

This could have been a scene from the movie, but it's actually the real Darby's Rangers in Sicily.

This could have been a scene from the movie, but it’s actually the real Darby’s Rangers in Sicily.

When the crew did venture out of doors, let’s just say, it’s uncanny how much exteriors in Scotland, North Africa, and Italy all look like Southern California.

The one thing they did do, though, was make the sets remarkably reminiscent of what photos of the target area looked like at the time — for example, in the Life magazine photo at left.


Movie Rangers did get a better-armed and cleaner Jeep.

Movie Rangers did get a better-armed and cleaner Jeep.

Parts of the training scenes, including the slide for life and the mountaineering scenes, appear to have been filmed at the Army’s Ranger School in Ft. Benning and Dahlonega, Georgia.

Accuracy and Weapons

Since, when they shot this movie, the current arms of the US Army were the same ones used by the original Darby’s Rangers, the American weapons are mostly accurate. There are some exceptions. Sharp-eyed carbine fans will note that the Rangers have 1944-45 vintage carbines with bayonet bands, etc. in 1942 and 1943. The Tommy Guns are the correct early-war M1928s.



Weapons usage is uneven. The use of demolition charges on a Vichy French bunker (which is clearly fake, rather badly sited, and which shows no signs of life) seems phony, even before the Hollywood fireballs. Mind you, they never say the “enemy” in North Africa was the Vichy French. Conversely, a patrol that gets itself jammed up between two German outfits gets out with a weapon they might plausibly use, a direct-fired M2 or M19 60mm mortar.

Darby and Rangers (Garner, etc.) with 1911 and Garands.

Darby and Rangers (Garner, etc.) with 1911 and Garands.

Maybe we just missed it, but we didn’t see anybody with a BAR.

Less effort seems to have been taken with the Axis arms.  The “Italian sniper” who briefly detains the unit only to die a Hollywood death, is armed with a German Mauser.

When tanks appear, they’re American postwar M41 light tanks, decorated with white stars or black crosses as the script demands. That’s fairly typical of a war movie of the era.

The bottom line

Darby’s Rangers is not the greatest war movie ever; it’s not bad, but it’s not even the best William Wellman war movie.


For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • DVD page:
  • IMDB page:

  • IMFDB page:

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page:

  • Wikipedia  page:’s_Rangers_(1958_film)

Rangerettes: And Then There Were Eight Three Zero

rangerette-benjaminOfficials from the US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, from the Infantry School and the Ranger Training Brigade, wanted to have anything but a frank discussion. So they slipped the word onto the wires Friday night: Class 7-15 of the US Army Ranger School has completed the Camp Darby phase of training.

The eight women recycled into Camp Darby from Class 6-15 have not. A somewhat chaotic and disorganized Michelle Tan piece in Army Times leads with the bottom line:

After a second attempt at the first phase of Ranger School, none of the eight female students will be moving forward to the mountain phase of the course, officials from Fort Benning, Georgia, said Friday.

A total of 195 students from the class – all of them men – will move on to Dahlonega, Georgia, for the mountain phase.

Tan is a supporter of this effort, and so, while she does lead with a reporterly accounting of a key fact, she doesn’t go too deep into how and why that happened. That may be because the “Fort Benning officials” she quotes did not give her the information. The Public Affairs spin salesmen didn’t give it to us, either.

As is customary, about half of the class gets attrited in RAP Week and Darby. But for the second straight time, 100% of the women do. And this time, there was no saving the candidacy of most of them, even with the most selectively generous application of customs and rules (as had been applied at this juncture in Class 6-15).

Of the eight women who recycled into Class 7-15, exactly zero were still in training when the students completed the Camp Darby phase of training Friday. Five of them were dismissed, having never passed a patrol at all. Two of them had peer reports that betokened serious character deficiencies, in both classes (a couple more had peer problems in one class or the other, but mild peer problems). Some members corps of almost three dozen female Observer/Advisors, designed to guard against discrimination, and we’re told that external feminists have charged that male bias accounts for the two womens’ bad peers, but that seems off-base, as most of the women got peers consistent with their performance and not out of line with the peer reports that men get. What is different is the differential handling of students whose peer reports indicate leadership failure: men with similar peers were and are dismissed.

Peer reports are not a childish thing. They are a key component of leadership evaluation at Ranger School, and they are the only component that captures the student’s character and performance when the Ranger Instructors are not looking. There were people who thought an exception should be made to the peer policy, and so, for one class, it was. But only for one class; those students that could not win the respect (or at least, toleration) of their fellow students are on the way home. (It is to be stressed that most students, female as well as male, did not struggle with peer reports. Only some individuals did. It is our opinion, based on experience, that a Ranger student who earns persistently negative peer reports in multiple peer settings is at a very high risk of developing into a toxic leader).

Likewise, being able to pass one graded leadership position out of many is not easy, but it alone is not indicative of someone who’s ready to lead soldiers in an Army that remains at war, even if its social-crusading civilian leadership is blithely uninterested in the war going on and the soldiers prosecuting it. Yet there were those who wanted to retain students who had not passed one graded leadership position in many attempts in two cycles of the school. Fortunately, while the original line was not held, a fallback line was, and those students are on their way home from Ranger School. Students who passed only one graded patrol were retained.

The “officials” spun this as: students who demonstrated excellence.

Your value for the noun “excellence” may be at odds with theirs. But we would grant an officer who can pass one patrol on two shots at Darby may have potential. The evaluation board, composed of experienced (these days, combat-experienced) Ranger graduates with full access to the RIs and their files, is in the best position to judge, and an Army depends on their judgment.

Rangerette 4Let’s recap some of the history here, borrowing liberally from previous reports of ours.

Overall pass rate for men in the pipeline is 40-50%. Our pass rate for the ladies so far can be no higher than 3/138 or 2.2%, roughly 1/20th to 1/25th (4-5%) of the overall male pass rate, despite command emphasis on getting them through.

Three women – and two male students – were given the opportunity to start Ranger School all over, officials said. This is referred to as a Day One Recycle and is a normal course procedure that’s used when students struggle with one aspect of the course and excel at others, officials said.

Now, hundreds of men have been dismissed — not recycled — for equivalent and even higher performance than any of these women in Classes 6 and 7.

The other five women, who started Ranger School April 20 and were recycled back into the Darby Phase along with 101 of their male classmates on May 8, will return to their units and will not be recycled again. A total of 29 students were dropped from the course for failing to meet the standards of the Darby Phase.

That’s got to be tough, to spend a month plus at Ranger School and come back nearly as physically spent and broken as the grads (remember, they have six more weeks of this stuff to endure, although some components of the stress are heavily frontloaded). A kick in the teeth. We’ve never experienced the disappointment, but having experienced the physical demolition of a successful Ranger school experience (in the “undistinguished survivor” range), we can imagine what it’s like to endure the hardships and not graduate.

ranger_school_signThe disposition of the recycles is interesting. Most of the 101 male recycles must still be in training — even if all the students dropped at Darby in Class 7 were Class 6 recycles. Only 24 men total were dropped. That suggests that recycling a Ranger student is usually a good move, a chance to salvage 3/4 or more of a group of candidates who didn’t make the standard. Except for the women.

These students did not meet the standard for a number of reasons, including leading patrols, poor peer evaluations, too many negative spot reports, or a combination of all three.

The vast majority, however, were unable to successfully lead a patrol, officials said.

The Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade command team talked to all of the Ranger students this week, said Col. David Fivecoat, the brigade commander, in a statement.

If women were being held to the same standards as men, of course, this one-time experiment would be over. Even by its own creators’ standards, it’s a failure.

A total of 19 female and 381 male soldiers started Ranger School April 20.

The women were part of a one-time, integrated assessment of the storied two-month school. The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat arms jobs to women, and it is a first for Ranger School, which until now has been open only to men.

If you’ve been listening to SecDef Ash Carter and his merry gender-indeterminate appointee persons, there’s no whether in the question, only how and when. And the latest standard to fall in the Global War on Standards is the myth that this was a one-time assessment, and that the Army brass would pay any attention to the data.

Nope, the women didn’t meet the standard in the allotted time, so the Chief of Staff unleases the forces that can move goalposts and lower bars:

Initially thought to be a one-time assessment, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on Thursday said the Army is looking at additional assessments in the future.

“We’ll probably run a couple more pilots,” Odierno said during a breakfast meeting with reporters.

That was the sound a goalpost makes, rushing downfield. But the real punch line was the next Odierno quote:

“It’s been a real success for us, and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

Well, for some values of the word, “success,” just not any of the values of “success” as characterized by normal people.

“Success” by the Numbers

Well, If General Odierno says it’s a success, the numbers should bear him out, right? So let’s break out the numbers, subject to revision if Benning ever releases official numbers.

138 100% Volunteered, attended RTAC
118 86% Failed RTAC (pre-Ranger)
20 14% Passed RTAC
1 1% VW’d (quit) after RTAC
19 14% Present on Zero Day, Class 06-15
3 2% PT failures on Zero Day
16 12% Present on Day 1
3 2% Land-Nav Failures in RAP Week
5 4% Failures on other RAP Week events
8 6% Went to Camp Darby with 06-15
6 4% Women failed all patrols, recycled by BN board
2 1% Women failed all patrols and all peers, recycled by BDE board
0 0% Women graduating with class 06-15
8 6% Women inserts to Darby phase of class 07-15
2 1% Women failed all patrols and peers, dismissed
3 2% Women failed all patrols, dismissed
3 2% Women did not meet standards, recycled to Day Zero.
3 2% Women will start Class 07-15 on 21 Jun 15.
© 2015

Yeah, that’s a success. On the scale of New Coke, the Edsel, or the Chernobyl Power Plant.

If you’ve got the time to Read The Whole Thing™, that link’s to Tan’s Army Times report.

Our previous coverage of the Rangerette adventure is all (or should all be) under the category, Rangers and Rangerettes. Note also that we have added (by popular demand!) a Search box near the top of the right sidebar.


We originally referenced Army Times writer Michelle Lee. We had our Michelles confused. The Gannett correspondent’s name is Michelle Tan. Thanks to Michael in the comments of another post for the correction.

Rangerettes: What They’re Doing Now; Tom Kratman Called It

Rangerette 6We have been around and around on this, but while we’re waiting for the 8 miserable recycled female survivors (and some dozens of their male peers) to reflow into the Camp Darby phase of Ranger Class 7-15 after bouncing out of 6-15, we have a few other relevant things, things we should have covered previously but haven’t.

Today, Life Sucks for the Women of Class 6-15. And the Men.

For the moment, spare a thought for the unhappy recycles, who must survive the Gulag’s daily harassment (“reinforcement training”) until their inject date to 7-15 comes up.   (One suspects that the presence of the 31 Observer Advisors and whatever rump media are still following the surviving gals moderates it some, in the case of the women). One of the biggest things tormenting them is the self-doubt in every heart, and the knowledge that a second chance at a single phase is probably all you get. (There may be an exception for the women, as there have been so many exceptions made already, but we’re sure no one has told them that). And each one knows, in his or her heart, that they’ve already blown it, already failed, once.

Somewhere in each little would-be Ranger brain is a voice whispering words of failure. Success depends on their ability to suppress that voice, to strangle the little doubtnik speaking those words. That is a highly individual thing, in a class where you’re graded individually, but also graded, by your instructors and your similarly stressed peers, on your teamwork.

The Army has studied for years the candidates and graduates of this program, hoping that something in personality inventories and psychometrics can predict who will fail and who will pass. They have never really succeeded, and one of the reasons is that in each man (and now, woman), the war of self against self, of doubt against determination, is fought anew each day.

For two months.

Unless you recycle, then the battle lasts longer.


Class 6-15: Getting smoked!

Right now, the recycles are being smoked by Ranger instructors. (“Smoked” is a Ranger verb, that, like the Ranger cry “Hooah!”, has spread across the Army and on into culture. A couple years ago we had a household contractor say, “This is how we’re going to fix that, hooah?” Knew he was one of Our People. Fixing old rickety stuff on Hog Manor had him smoked).

Tom Kratman Actually Called the 6-15 Results Before it Started

We have missed some developments and some materials about the whole Rangerette thing that are still worth sharing. We’ll get in a moment to the often-cited Israeli experience (which is more mixed than either “side” in America wants to admit), but first, we have to doff berets (the real, earned kind) to Hugo-nominated Novelist Tom Kratman, who in a column at called the outcome for the women in Class 6-15 before the first one signed in to the RTB.

So now what’s going to happen? I am not sure how far along the Army is in coming up with those hopeful three-score. They’ve got their Zampolits, the female political commissars tasked with ensuring the doubleplussungood, gender-cisnormative, evilwickednaughtybadbadbad males running the school can’t be too hard on the women going through it. I have it on pretty good authority that, on being told they’d have to cut their hair very short,3 the Zampolits either became upset, or freaked out, or came totally unglued. Allegedly, too, the women were extremely interested in what types of birth control would be allowed.

As we know now, the Ranger head shave was relaxed for the women, who received about a 3/8 or 7/16 inch buzz.

One can almost sympathize. The amount of hair a male soldier finds comfortable and flattering for himself will come back in a few weeks. For women, it’s a matter of years. And the hair’s more important to them, generally, too, early rock musicals notwithstanding.

Exercise for the reader (heteronormative trigger alert, heh). If we were to go into your master bathroom, and count hair care items, what would the F/M ratio be? We’ve never tried to add it up. Hognose here owns one bottle of shampoo at a time, and might use soap for a week before remembering to buy another bottle.

I can’t imagine the Army giving a rat’s patootie about what kind of birth control the Zampolits use. If any actual female ranger students are going to worry about it I’d suggest they’ll be very, very optimistic. More on that, and related factors, later in this column.

One subject of discussion back in the dawn of time in Class 1-83, long about Florida phase, was (crudity coming) “Does anybody remember when he last had a woody?” This caused a momentary panic, and worry about whether this capability would ever return to these men, aged 19-33 with a few outliers high and low, for whom the said biological reaction was a frequent fact in daily life. You’re way, way past sexual fantasies at that point. The most common subject of discussion was what you’re going to eat afterwards. These food fantasies would be appalling to normal, well-fed Americans (our recollection follows):

“I’m going to the McDonalds drive through and order one of everything.”

“I’m gonna eat a whole lobster. Shell and all. With two pounds of butter.”

“Hey, think of this, guys…. just imagine the smell. I’m going to go to a bakery.

(Chorus): “Mmmmmmm, a bakery.

The faces light with religious fervor. If only they knew the direction of this bakery, they’s shoot a azimuth to it and prostrate themselves.

(Continued after the break).

Continue reading

Some Analysis Based on Rangerette Facts

Let’s begin with some numbers, to remind you of how this experiment is going so far. Bear in mind that these are not average women soldiers: they are among the Army’s boldest and most ambitious women. In many cases, their commanders and peers of both sexes consider them outstanding soldiers. Many of these women assess themselves as being the equals in fitness and strength of their male peers. Every one of these young ladies put herself in the arena, and that’s worth something. It doesn’t get them a Ranger tab, yet, but it gets them some respect.

Can he really whip her with one hand behind his back?

Can he really whip her with one hand behind his back?

Women by the Numbers

138: Number of women that attended the National Guard pre-ranger course, spread over many cycles. This course is normally not open to active-duty men, and only exists because the Guard believes its people need more preparation for the course. Army managers were looking for 100 women graduates from this course to feed the first co-ed Ranger iteration

20: Women that passed the course. Normally about half the men pass, but there’s a lot of variation. Cramming more women into the last couple of iterations of pre-Ranger just produced more failures, not more successes.

19: Women that started in Ranger School, after one quit after passing pre-Ranger).

16: Women that remained in after the first hour, after three failed the PT test.

8: Women that proceeded to Camp Darby, after 5 others attritted for various reasons in RAP Week (quit/injury/ruck march).

6: Women that failed Camp Darby, and were recycled by a Battalion level Board.

2: Women that failed Camp Darby, and were recycled by a Brigade level Board.

0: Women continuing in training.

8: Women in the Gulag (holding barracks) where they, along with the men recycled in Darby and RAP week, will receive additional training (and, frankly, hazing) before being reinjected in the next Ranger School class.

Comparison figures for men:

381: Men who started at Day Zero.

197: Men who quit, or failed, or were recycled in RAP Week. (66 will be recycled, the rest, 131, were binned).

184: Men continued on to Camp Darby.

115: Men completed Camp Darby and proceeded to Mountain Phase in Dahlonega, GA. 69 men failed Darby, 35 of whom the boards chose to recycle and 34 of whom were dismissed from the course.

101: men in the Gulag with the women (66+35).

How the Women Failed

The principal grading vehicle once the field part of the course begins, through Darby, Dahlonega and Eglin, is the patrol. Many students who do not come from an infantry background are new to patrolling, and they sink or swim in Darby. If you have failed all patrols in a phase, you are not supposed to go forward. (Passing requirements: 50% of graded patrol leadership positions “Go,” at least four “Go” grades total, and one “Go” minimum in each phase. The percentage requirement is cumulative, but is erased by a recycle, for that phase). Of the eight women at Camp Darby, none had a passing patrol grade (a couple were close). A lot of men were in the same boat. Absent other problems (peers, spot reports, etc.) flunking all your patrols at Darby means you get to experience Darby again with the next Ranger class — recycle. But you are considered by the battalion Board, and if you have managed to collect other derogatory information, you may be recycled to Day Zero, or ejected from the course.

The next most significant is the peer report. As we have reported, the students will often game the peer report to ensure no one in their squad is “peered out.” Unless they have a message to send about a peer’s performance… then they unleash themselves to dispose of the problem member(s). Most of the women had positive peer reports. But two of them had extremely low peer ratings. The battalion board would not pass these women, so their cases were considered by the Ranger Training Brigade Board.

The board also opted to recycle these women to the start of Darby Phase in the next class. Historically, a man who failed both patrols and peers would be returned to his source unit (or in the case of an initial-pipeline officer, moved to whatever training his branch had for him next, or to his permanent party). There have been occasional exceptions for such natural-born Rangers as General Officers’ sons or people with politically powerful individuals providing “pull,” so it’s not as if the system is completely pure, historically.

Several of the women had other issues (negative spot reports, etc.) but the primary reason none of them left Darby for Dahlonega is that none of them passed patrols.

What do these facts and numbers mean?

OK, so we know that 8 women were considered for recycle, and recycled. 69 males were considered for recycle, and slightly over half recycled (35 recycled, 34 dropped). Does this mean that that the gals have it easy? Or does the fact that they were all on the recycle bubble to start with mean that the gals have it hard? You can, and partisans will, argue either side.

The commissars suggested that patrol grading is unfair to women as they have not had the exposure to patrolling that the plurality of Ranger candidates, who are infantrymen, have had. But it is no more unfair to women than it is to men who come in from MI, the Quartermaster Corps, or any of the other combat support and service support branches of the Army. (They too flunk patrols at a higher rate than grunts). But grunts can and do flunk patrols, too. Indeed, there are some hardheaded guys who come from Ranger Battalions and managed to get recycled in every phase before finally going back with a tab. They did more Ranger School than anybody!

You can make a statistical argument that the grading is unfair to women. (After all, 100% of women did not pass Darby, and 62.5% of men who started it did). You can also make an argument that the recycling has been unfair to men. (After all, 100% of women failures got a recycle, and only 51% of men did).

We reject both of those statistical arguments. Individual Ranger students are extremely variable from one to the next, and even individuals themselves vary in their quality over time. The guys that shine in Darby may be utterly spent by the time you hit Santa Rosa Island; leaders emerge after much hardship from men you wouldn’t have expected to step up). We are willing to give the RTB and its leaders and RIs the benefit of the doubt that they are judging individuals as individuals.

As far as the questionable decision to allow people whose low peer reports are suggestive of deficient character to continue in the course, there may be good reasons for it. One reason the Army is doing this evaluation is to answer a question that everyone has an opinion about, but nobody’s gathered facts: can women do it, without lowering standards?

That women are failing patrols suggests that standards haven’t been lowered there, anyway. And the Army may be taking great care to ensure that all course dismissals are defensible with a view to objective standards, and therefore isn’t anxious to dismiss any of these women candidates for what their patrons in Congress, the Feminist Sisterhood, or the media can construe as subjective reasons. Not that facts will stop them, but some Army managers seem to have a touching, childlike belief that they will.

Some Rangerette Myths

There is a barrage of propaganda coming out of the Ranger School. There could be nothing but, with every one of the surviving female students — eight at the end of the first week — shadowed by a Corps of Commissars who broadly (no pun intended) outnumber the female Ranger candidates1, and a media scrum that nearly outnumbers all the Ranger candidates.

Rangerette 5

There have been some myths spread about this class. In the interests of further factual information, here’s some debunkistry.

Myth: women are doing better than men, percentage-wise, in this class.

Fact: They’re not, even when you don’t account for the fact that some of the 8 survivors are being propped up. Remember that these women are the distillation of a pipeline of over 130 candidates, who got extra training no active-duty men can even apply for.

Myth: the Army has made no concessions to the women.

Fact: the concessions are many, ranging from the trivial (women’s hair is cut short, but not shaved like the men) to the serious (women are given extra chances and talked out of quitting; minor negative spot reports aren’t allowed to build up against them).

Rangerette 4

Myth: the women are a cross-section of Army women.

Fact: the women are a small, self-selected cadre of ambitious careerists. It is our understanding that all are officers.

Rangerette 1

Myth: As women increase their presence in combat units, they’ll be more likely to be raped. Because men in combat arms are “predators.” This is what Defense Secretary Ash Carter told an audience of ROTC cadets recently:

Obviously, as we get women into more unaccustomed positions, maybe dangerous isolated positions, maybe positions where they are fewer in relation to the number of men, it opens up opportunities for predators

Fact: You’re joking, right? Ash Carter makes Joe Biden look like the Great Gravitas Himself. He has no military experience whatsoever, and if he ever came out of the ivory tower, when he saw his own shadow we’d have six more weeks of winter. It’s not surprising he says stupid [stuff]. He didn’t stop there, either. He also hinted to the cadets that he intends to open all positions to women when the review is complete in 2016.

Meanwhile, Carter has quietly withdrawn 1,900 soldiers, 38 Black Hawk slicks, 12 medevac Black Hawks, as 12 heavy-lift Chinooks and 28 Apache attack helicopters from Europe to the United States as part of his unilateral drawdown of US forces worldwide. Instead, smaller elements will deploy for a few months at a time. A DOD spokesman insisted that less was more:

The net result of this restructuring is that Army aviation assets in Europe will be more ready, present, and operationally flexible. This is particularly important in the current strategic environment.

Our forces in Europe will be more ready, present, and flexible, hooah! They just won’t be in Europe!

In other news from the DOD, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia.

If Ash Carter diminishes American air capability in Europe any further, he can expect Hermann Göring’s ghostly shade to manifest itself, and bestow on him the German Cross in Gold, the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, or some other high decoration.

These guys seem like harmless, amusing buffoons, until you realize that some one has plucked them out of their cozy libraries and put them in charge of complex systems they don’t understand.


  1. There are 31 female Commissars, or as they are officially called, Observer/Advisors. The course began with 19 women. Currently, there are roughly 4 OAs watching out for each woman. The number will rise as the women attrit further.