A congressman who is a combat veteran and Ranger graduate has asked the Pentagon’s top Army leader to produce documents related to the performance of the females who began Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia earlier this year, PEOPLE has learned.In a letter obtained exclusively by PEOPLE, Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., gave outgoing Army Secretary John McHugh until September 25 to produce documents revealing the women’s test scores, evaluations, injuries, pre-training and more. The letter was delivered to McHugh’s Pentagon office on September 15.”The training of our combat warriors is paramount to our national defense,” Russell wrote to McHugh. “In order to ensure that the Army retains its ability to defend the nation, we must ensure that our readiness is not sacrificed.”The congressman is concerned because “sources at Fort Benning are coming forward to say the Army lied about women in Ranger School, that the women got special treatment and played by different rules,” according to a Capitol Hill source with knowledge of why the letter was crafted. “These folks say one thing, the Army says another. Congress needs to know the truth, and Russell reached out to find it.”
Always good to see friend of the blog SKK published in People.
My own thoughts on the matter? Questions like this were inevitable. But comments about the women not carrying the guns have already been refuted by comments from their classmates at the press conference held immediately after graduation.
The question about recycling after phases is probably the most valid concern, but there’s room there. There are some fairly hard and fast rules at the Ranger School about how often you may recycle a phase. But the school isn’t the only party with input on the matter.
Let’s say Joe Smith has recycled each phase, and gets to Florida, and fails his patrols, and wants to recycle, and the school is willing to let him. At this point, Joe has been gone from his parent command something like five months, rather than the 61 days of the nominal course. His unit might just decide they’d rather have him back cutting grass and mopping floors than spending more time on TDY.
Obviously, that wasn’t the case with the two soldiers here. They were quite obviously hand picked (as were the other female volunteers) and it was clear that their commands would be expected to allow them as much time as needed away to either pass or fail.
Should Congress review the files? Sure. Just as long as they do so with an open mind, and not with a predetermined outcome in mind.