Female soldiers head to Ft. Benning to train for Ranger badge

Published: Feb. 7, 2015 at 12:11 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2015 at 12:25 AM EST
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FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - It's being called a historic moment for the U.S. Army when it comes to women and the military. Fort Benning is about to start their second integrated Ranger Training Assessment Course.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Lee Bryant received his Ranger tab from Fort Benning in 2013, and he knows firsthand what it takes to achieve this status.

"It's a good course, it a tough course. It has a lot of stress on you because of the lack of sleep and food. It's a good indicator of how you act when you are stressed in combat," said Bryant.

Women will now able to have a Ranger badge. Fort Benning just completed their first ever gender integrated Ranger Training Assessment Course January 30.

"It's a good idea, just as long as the standards don't change. It gives the opportunity for a lot of good patriots to reach their maximum potential in the Army getting their Ranger tab," said Bryant.

And according to Fort Benning, the standards won't change.

"There is no intention to change of the current standards, the standard are in place will remain the same," said Major General Scott Miller.

The first training assessment course started with 122 soldiers. Only 58 graduated to move on to the Ranger Course. Of the 58, only five were women.

Women who successfully complete Ranger School will receive a certificate and and be awarded the coveted Ranger tab. They will not, however, be assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, which is separate from Ranger School.

"They are tough courses, they are rigorous and physically demanding, the most demanding course in the United State Army," said Miller.

Miller says this is a historic opportunity. Bryant says the task is worth the hard work.

"I think it's coveted because it's a hard, hard school. They say the hardest part is getting there, but it's just a tough school," said Bryant.

General Miller says this will give women the the best training they can receive to potentially become a Ranger.

The second Integrated Ranger Training Assessment Course will start this Saturday and continue for two weeks.

According to Fort Benning, the first phase Assessment mirrors the assessment phase at Ranger School and is designed to assess a soldier's physical and mental abilities. During this phase, a student conducts a PT test, a swim test, land navigation, and a 6-mile foot march.

The second phase of RTAC, the field training exercise, is designed to assess and train soldiers on troop leading procedures and patrolling, skills which will be used extensively during the Ranger Course.

Two more RTAC will begin March 6-21 and April 3-18. The Ranger course is April 20 and is voluntary for women to enter.

The Army hopes 40 women will pass the preparatory course between now and April.

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