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Ranger School is Dead, but Not for the Reasons You Think

By John Hurth

Ranger School Dead?

Ranger School as we knew it is dead and the price paid is still to be determined.

That’s right, Ranger School is dead and it’s not the fault of the female cadets or soldiers either. The Death of Ranger School began a long time ago, when Ranger School was labeled a “leadership” school by Army officers who wanted it to be used to “punch” an officer’s ticket. You see, there’s a bigger picture here. For me it’s easy, anyone who doesn’t require the skills taught at Ranger School shouldn’t attend; whether male, female, officer, enlisted or cadet.

Let’s look at what Ranger School is designed for and what tasks are taught and performed by Ranger School students. The following text comes straight from the Ranger Departments website, specifically where they discuss the history of Ranger School.

“The Ranger Course was conceived during the Korean War and was known as the Ranger Training Command. On 10 October 1951, the Ranger Training Command was inactivated and became the Ranger Department, a branch of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Its purpose was and still is, to develop combat skills of selected officers and enlisted men by requiring them to perform effectively as small unit leaders in a realistic tactical environment, under mental and physical stress approaching that found in actual combat.

Emphasis is placed on the development of individual combat skills and abilities through the application of the principles of leadership while further developing Military skills in the planning and conduct of dismounted Infantry, Airborne, Airmobile and Amphibious independent squad and platoon-size operations. Graduates return to their units to pass on these skills.

From 1954 to the early 1970’s, the Army’s goal, though seldom achieved, was to have one Ranger qualified NCO per infantry platoon and one officer per company. In an effort to better achieve this goal, in 1954 the Army required all combat arms officers to become Ranger/Airborne qualified.”

You see, the Army failed itself, its soldiers (past and present) and the citizens of the United States. Whenever you make a school necessary to punch an officer’s ticket for promotion, you in fact degrade readiness and this is what has occurred over time. Some say that Ranger School is a “leadership” school. Well if that’s so, then why isn’t the Sergeant Majors Academy in charge of the curriculum as it is with all NCO development schools? Because it’s not just a leadership school, it’s an Infantry School. Why? Because it uses Small Unit Infantry Tactics to teach Combat Arms Soldiers how to be better Light Infantry Soldiers.

Ranger School prepares soldiers to conduct combat and reconnaissance dismounted patrols, in different environments. Does every officer and enlisted soldier need this capability? No! The soldiers who need this skill are those who will actually be performing these tasks as part of their job and the operations that they will be required to perform.

The sad thing is the Army gave way to politics, which means that if the command doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to politics and politicians, then how can they be trusted with the Army’s readiness? The Army can’t tell the country, least of all actual Rangers, that these woman weren’t given special treatment. The fact is they were and every Ranger knows they were because the community is small and we enlisted men will talk if something stinks.

So what will be interesting in the coming weeks and months is whether the Army decides to lift the exclusion for women to serve in Combat Arms MOS’s, because that’s what this whole social experiment has been about.

Lastly, I want you to think about this carefully. If the military opens up these combat arms jobs to women, will the United States Military be stronger or weaker for that decision? The reason I ask this is because our allies and enemies have a vote; our National Defense Strategy can suffer if we don’t take into consideration the cultures that we interact with. The world is mostly a male dominated society, I know some of you may not like hearing that, but it’s true. If we don’t look at the bigger picture here, we may be doing more damage to ourselves globally for the sake of equality within our own country.

Just because women in our culture have the opportunity to excel and do or become anything, doesn’t mean that allowing women in combat arms is necessarily the right thing to do from a strategic point of view. Especially when you take into consideration who they may have to interact with and where we may have to fight.

Editor-in-Chief’s Note:  John Hurth is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier who served with 1st Special Forces Group at Ft. Lewis, WA where he participated in multiple deployments overseas to include two combat tours in support of the Global War On Terror. He now uses his years of tracking knowledge as the owner and lead instructor of the TÝR Group where he and his staff conduct training on various tracking techniques.

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  • RussM

    Posting without opinion as I have no military experience  and am not educated enough on the intricacies of these issues. What are your thoughts, John?


    • WillM

         That article is immensely better than this one and serves a far better response than I could. I do agree with the author on the need to change Ranger School, however. I hope that in Special Operations at least, Ranger Regiment and Special Forces get a SOF version of Ranger School that is actually useful and not just used for street cred. I don’t give two shits if women are passing Ranger School now, it is just a school and an irrelevant one at that. If I had a penny for every coward in combat I met that had that school and talked a lot of shit in the rear I would be rich. 
            There are certainly women that can pass Ranger School to the same standard as men. There are women that I know that are better than most of the whining, now fatass Ranger School graduates that are getting butt hurt over the recent graduations. Just because Ranger School is the hardest thing many people have ever done, does not make it impossible for women or even hard compared to other endeavors such as actual combat. Women can make it. But why the hell do they need to? That is the real question and something the author brought up in the article. I don’t care if they can physically or mentally make it. I don’t want them in my team room because the team is a brotherhood and that dynamic is necessary in order to ensure mission success.

  • Timothy Krivinko

    Why the FUCK is it that women feel the NEED to invade every single male institution????

    • TroyLettieri

      Because they are insecure twats that wish they were men… or in some cases hate men.

  • Matt DC

    It’s really al the PT belts fault.

  • John Wingerd

    Good article.

  • Tony Gonzo

    I remember going to Recondo school and finding out women went there too…

  • Daniel L. Minton

    Jay Emm

  • Steven Albrecht

    Too bad.

  • Jay Emm

    Good points. I agree with them all. Thanks for the read.

  • Steven Albrecht

    Political Correctness has infected all the great institutions.

  • Aaron YR

    The Army’s unraveling isn’t just its overwhelming obsession with political issues, it’s because it’s become a political institution.
    Officers take special care to avoid any career ending mistakes, while the enlisted ranks have swollen with people who’s only quality is “I can fog a mirror”. We now have a culture that’s afraid of EO/SHARP, which behaves like a boogieman, and the soldiers who are motivated are watching good NCOs flee and good officers at their wits end with a system that sends societies biggest shitbags to their MEB meal ticket so you just don’t have to deal with them anymore.
    SOF is a different animal, yes, but a good deal of talent is walking instead of taking that route due to the ROE and political insanity, and it’s absurd marriage to the “rewarding the worst, ignoring the best” perception that comes from over-sensitivity to political correctness.
    Rant off. Obviously this matters to me.

  • Mark Herrick

    Same tired storyline. Think back to integrating the Army with African Americans. I agree politics ruins things but that shouldn’t be equated with women in combat roles.

    • Kaeseki

      Indeed it should not.  Blacks didn’t need any special handicapping to perform.  Girls do.

    • kingof9x

      Kaeseki I think you just hit the nail on the head. If the institution wants gender equality than it needs to hold everyone to an equal standard. If the institution has a handicap for a group of people based on gender, race, age, or any other human trait then the institution is still upholding inequality to that group of people.

  • Jim Rohrman

    A great article, well written and the truth! RLTW!

  • Seth Brannock

    Can the army be fixed or is it to far gone?

  • Kurt Schultz

    is it the fucking PT belts?

  • Kurt Schultz

    its because there are too many god dam officers that do absolutely nothing.

  • Aaron YR

    No joke. And too few who do everything, just like the Enlisted side. For most officers it’s about change for change’s sake, and obedience to standards that enforce the status quo in what I can only assume is an effort to destroy morale and create pointless rules for the politicians to remember when you come up for your star.

  • Alex Cisneros

    Why the FUCK is it a man feels threatened by a woman who can do the same job as good if not better than him?

    • Kaeseki

      Its because we don’t think they can do the same job as good if not better than us.  Some of us have personal experiences which reinforce this belief.

  • Paul Marshall

    what the fuck is goin on with these fuckin assholes givin in to this pos in charge ?

  • Matt Dyer

    Aaron I completely agree with you. I was airborne infantry in the 173rd. The 173rd had a advantage by being away from the big army and the political pains were not as noticeable. I PCSed to fort Carson and there were great NCOs leaving in droves as if it was a sinking ship. I as well jumped ship. I assume the rest of the army is the same; were the weak and worthless are left.

    • Brad Burson

      Ft Lewis was the same buddy. Pure insanity.

  • Timothy Krivinko

    Women in the military are held to lower standards than the men…..it is NOT about feeling threatened

  • Jordan Williams

    Is that a fucking juice box in her hand?? Shelby Snow do you see the photo?? There’s a fucking juice box!!

    • BrandonDonoho

      It’s called cera-sport, or something like that. It’s a rice based electrolyte drink. They make everyone drink them once or twice a day at certain points to help you not die. If you don’t, it’s a major minus, and potentially a board situation.  Or its grape juicy juice. You make the call.

  • Gregory Benson

    I think they way wars are now there are a lot more MOS’s that patrol using infantry skills and can benefit from Ranger school. I was never Infantry, but on two tours moved and patrolled dismounted like Infantry. As a NCO I was expected to be able to move my troops to contact and secure a position and asses threats. This was our first wars of this kind where many MOS’s were conducting what traditionally would be a infantry only mission.

  • Justin Stanley

    Pc is poison

  • Kurt Schneider

    It can be fixed, but we’re setting ourselves up for failure, just like we do after every conflict. It was in far worse shape after Vietnam.

  • Kaeseki

    I went through Quartermaster Officer Basic in 1991.  Part of the way through, we had some Captains come from PERSCOM to talk with all the folks going on active duty.  The senior officer gave us a big pep talk and encouraged us to attend as many “hooah” schools as possible, particularly Ranger School.  A classmate asked why and his response was it gave you “street cred” with the trigger pullers we’d be supporting.  Another classmate asked about branch specific follow on training like Rigger School and the Graves Registration Course.  The PERSCOM guy actually tried to discourage us from trying to sign up for those!
    That’s about the time it began to dawn on me the Army was a sorta fucked up organization…

  • BillSlagle

    To the
    author of “Ranger School is Dead, but Not for the Reasons You Think”.

    What a highly opinionated yet
    completely unsupported argument. The author merely asserts personal opinion
    without presenting supporting evidence. Repeatedly using the vague stereotyped colloquial
    phrase “to punch an office’s ticket” is not evidence and is not even an
    argument.However, it impresses as a jealous
    and narcissistic utterance suggesting harbored hostility towards better
    educated individuals such as, for example, military officers. Firstly, for improved
    edification here is a categorical correction. Secondly, please consider a specific
    1.Nearly all issues
    relative to women Rangers and other combat arms positions are tactical issues, not
    strategic. The germane strategic issue centers on whether will we have an egalitarian
    nation vs.a nation dominated by ongoing narcissist male efforts prompting continued female
    2.Your poorly and vaguely
    expressed implications that constitute your reasons why women should not be in “manly”
    combat arms assignments is utterly vacuous and reveals you are seeing this issues through the eyes of ignorant gender stereotyping.
     – I suggest you not
    offer opinions about issues that are beyond your intellectual reach and depth, unless you enjoy revealing to
    the world what a sexist ignoramus you are regarding issues of gender equality. You may want to keep the following factual concept in your mind as a mnemonic to help you achieve better and more constructive thinking; “Women are equal to men in every way – even where men are physically stronger, women can compensate with their intellect.”

    • Kaeseki

      BillSlagle Look at the end of the article.  It notes the author is a retired Special Forces officer which would make him an expert of a sorts.  Your demands of evidence makes about as much sense as having Albert Einstein tell you the Second Law of Thermodynamics and then demanding proof.  No, it is you that most provide proof or credentials.

      As to your silly White Knighting, do you realize the author doesn’t even touch on the topic?

    • RagtopRider

      BillSlagle  “Women are equal to men in every way – even where men are physically stronger, women can compensate with their intellect.”    I am now a 50 YO slightly battered DAV.  Yet I can still crush the skull of a female soldier, half my age and twice my size with their helmet in a hand to hand fight to the death and this is what combat is about.  It’s ugly, bloody, and violent. Most people don’t want to admit it.  Women can not compensate for the very real difference in muscle and bone structure differences in the sexes.  Is this even something we want our women doing, do we need them doing this.  Don’t tell me they are, or have, because those are outliers like Pvt. Lynch, who were not supposed to be on the line, but lines move.  We don’t even talk about what really went on there.
      I have been and Enlisted Man and a Commissioned Officer and I can say with confidence that 99.9% of the officer corps today values careers over all else. It values efficiency over effectiveness. It is an over-controlled, over-centralized, political lap dog. They are camouflage wearing masters of managerial techniques who know more about organizational charts and power point presentations than writing an OPORD and leading it to completion. They have lost contact with the nature of war, which is killing the enemy.
      Take every photo and film clip.  From D-Day, Iwo Jima, et al and replace those twisted and mangled bodies of our sons and brothers or the images of our stripped naked soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu and replace them with our daughters and sisters.  Because that is what you will see on CNN as this lunacy comes home to roost.  When Mr. and Mrs. USA scream out why?  Those same idiots in Washington, our morally bankrupt officer corps, and you will be saying How could this happen.

    • TroyLettieri

      BillSlagle You are obviously an officer or two you never served a day in the military. Because if you did you would be well aware of “ticket punching” in the officer corp.

    • Easy Andy

      Just spent a week on an m2 range. 80% of the women were unable to charge the weapon. Maybe they could intellect it until ît fired. They were newly minted 12bravos, can’t wait until they intellect a picket pounder.

    • Ranger78

      Intellect will not hump one hundred and twenty five pounds of equipment, ammo, food and water to the objective and back.

  • Mike_15

    It’s a means to an end… What was it, blacks had poor night vision? Yeah we seemed to have overcome that just fine. This too shall pass.
    The unfortunate thing is the intermingling of civilian and military cultures… Should we integrate women? Where and when we can, yes I believe so. Should we capitulate and do it because we’re pressured to? No, how many times have we rushed into something and it came out alright? It’s a process that needs to play itself out until it too becomes the norm. Think of it this way…. If you hage a woman going to Ranger school next year

  • Anally Probed

    It might as well be fucking Air Assault School now! Effective immediately it has lost its “wow” factor!

  • Sarah Pezzat


    • TroyLettieri

      Go bake some cookies.

  • Hopefully after the elections we will again have adults running the show, till then the DOD has to make it look like they are doing what the bumbler in chief wants, let’s give them time to righten the ship

    • Kaeseki

      z0phi3l don’t hold your breath on this!  Historically the military has NEVER tightened up standards for women after lowering them to help them get into new career fields.  I suspect the Army will cope with this just like the Canadians have; they’ll just not send them outside the wire to do real combat arms stuff.

  • Hodor

    Are you just jealous women have contributed and accomplished more in GWOT than you have? Out of touch and angry people have been saying for decades the Army and the rest of the DOD are sounding their own death knell. The DOD survived integrating women into Military Academies, Jump School, and Special Operations units. Women have been dying overseas in combat if you have not noticed either. Also, integrating women into more jobs makes us better as a country and puts us another step above everyone else. But there will always be the naysayers who will never be happy for or proud of someone else’s accomplishments. MG Miller has offered any Ranger to go through the school again to make sure the standards haven’t dropped in case you want to back up your claims.


    • TroyLettieri

      @Hodor Tool… obviously you do not know the author. And I am positive he has done far more than any woman who has served in GWOT, paid in sweat, blood, tears and time. And you missed the concept of the article.

    • Dirtymikeandtheboys

      Your so laughable it’s insane , I risked my life baby sitting women in Iraq so they didn’t get killed all of the name on integration and the author is a group dude so fuck off ,

    • @Hodor obviously you have no clue of what you speak. MG Scott Miller’s challenge was as valid and reliable as Hillary stating that she never sent or received any classified material on her email server. There is no way that DOD or the US Government would ever allow one of us retired Rangers to ever go through the course again, the liabilty would be too much. And I told SM this during one of out FB conversations the same day he made the first challenge. Many of us retired Rangers have had personal conversations with him over the farce of that class. So before you go speaking out of your third point of contact you should get your facts straight.

  • tangokiller0311

    Really?  Ya lets put females in SF I love it.  Lets destroy America and the SFcommunity for political correctness.  Hey Hodor, wake the f*** up.  This is nothing more than Oboingo destroying this country’s best from the inside out.  We dont have females in combat for a reason.  But by all means keep drinking the Kool-Aid.  Jealous? really? Not so much.  How about an application of common sense.  SF is the way SF is for a reason, but by all means lets f*** it up for so that liberal progressives get the damn female vote.  The hell with combat effectiveness.  Lets throw in some transexuals while we are at it.  Yes Ive been in combat in Iraq before you ask.  8 years active duty USMC infantry Sergeant, Purple Heart recipient and I have done ops with SF.  They are set up the way they are for a reason.  But according to you the rest of us are jealous.  Your an idiot who has obviously ever faced an AK-47 fired at you in anger. But hey, its all good, lets all worship at the altar of PC so that you and all of those like you will feel better.  Vote for Hillary 2016! Dig your own holes, Die in ’em

  • skidder79

    As a former Navy pilot and officer, I can tell you why I don’t support women in combat roles. Mainly it’s a morale based issue. As someone who has been on deployments with a mixed group (males/females) of 20 somethings, invariably they partner up OR (even worse) some of the females trade sexual favors for duty favors. When a group of guys go on deployment, they all suffer equally when it comes to the lack of sex along with hard work and lack of luxury items (for lack of a better term). This actually tends to be a bonding experience for groups of men. However, when some percentage of the guys are getting laid regularly and the others are not, this tends to drive a wedge into the group. I know this isn’t “fair” but it is fact. It’s a lot tougher on everyone when women are in the mix because you have guys fighting over women, women playing their head games with the men and each other and the unfairness of some guys getting sex and others having to go months without. I’ve seen cases where the whole unit suffers tremendous morale loss over these issues. Sorry but it just isn’t worth it and is a “readiness” problem as well.
    This doesn’t even begin the address the problems encountered in a “field” situation with lack of privacy and facilities. I can understand female army officers wanting to be taken seriously and having the same “street cred” as their male counterparts BUT this is a bad idea and I would hate to be the enlisted guy who is going to suffer for this political correctness.

  • Jack Slack

    The Kurds have thousands of women combatants fighting in their ranks, and have proven far more effective than the US-trained Iraqi army in countering ISIS.  The Vietnamese had thousands of women fighters who also proved highly effective in the anti-colonial wars against the French and Americans.

    • Beretverde

      @Jack Slack you are obviously  a delusional cherry picker. How many women would have made it out of the Chosin Reservior or Iwo Jima? Bataan Death March? PS- GI Jane was a movie!

  • 1_75RGR_MED


    look as a SOMC (Special Operation Medical Course) Ranger Medic In 1/75 who went through every phase of Ranger School twice including pre-Ranger; and Florida three times for nothing less more then BS.  Let me tell you that Ranger School DOESN’T TEACH YOU SMALL UNIT TACTICS NOR DOES IT TEACH YOU ANY ADVANCED INFANTRY SKILLS at the very best your taught the very of basic infantry skills BUT.. that being said what it does and let me say does a very good job of teach you how to live in the suck while Planning, Supervising, and Spot checking your men to get the objective completed no mater what the conditions be it no food or sleep for days. So yes it is a test of will and a huge test of can you be a leader to accomplish the mission bc part of being a leader is being a follower when you have to and doing that to your best ability no mater what you going through. being sleep deprived with limited rations, walking with a ton of shit on you back in extreme environment is nothing compared to real world go to Afghan and try to ruck up those mountains nothing compared to ranger school not even close. but as for tactics like i said at the very best they are the very basic of infantry skills your not taught how to clear city blocks with just a squad, or fast rope into an objective, as for airborne operations the only jump you do that is remotely like any military operation is the 1 jump you do to start your Field Operations in Florida So before you start blasting off saying that Ranger School is Dead,  HOW ABOUT YOU GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT AND GO THERE FIRST YOU DUMB FU#K

  • KnuckleHead84

    Ranger School is definitely a career ticket punch item for officers. Only infantry types should use those valuable slots. No tankers, artillery, engineers, military police, military intelligence, ect . If the brass thinks these non infantry officers need a taste, incorporate 10 days of sleep deprivation and heavy ruck toting into branch courses. The leadership experience is somewhat valid except it wastes a resource. Practice writing a patrol order for 20 sleepy, tired, and hungry dudes / dudettes at your own branch HQ.

  • Patriot2947

    I’m a Vietnam vet, and the first fatal mistake the military made was to put women aboard war ships.  I knew it would lead to this, and it’s only going to get worse.  I don’t care what anyone says, I would not trust a woman to back up my butt.  It’s not just the physical aspect, but even more important, it’s the mental aspect.  Men and women by nature think differently, and for me personally, THAT’S the reason to keep men with men in combat.  The camaraderie is just not the same, and never will be.

  • mcdonugh

    Excuse me if I got stuck on the “Leadership School’ title.  I understand that for the past probably 20-25 years the Army, not to mention everything from college (or pardon me, University) Masters degrees to kids athletics have developed a “checklist” that breaks down the original intention of meaning for the experience.  You have a hard time in some school districts “walking-on” as a freshman football player and kids select to play baseball all year around? when did that happen? When I was a kid (young kid, like 10 years old) you were active in various sports activities, maybe that is why later I was interested in the many facets of the military? But it was always my understanding that the leadership school title that was placed on Ranger School and similar courses was because it applied to all who participated, whether a Captain or a Specialist you were trained to all operate as leaders.  When you stood among your peers you were a leader, and I would grab you first to accomplish a task because I knew you could think on your feet.  Hopefully you were the ones instilling that same knowledge in others around you.  If that part is lost, then I think yes, we are lost……….but I don’t think so because you wrote this article.  Thanks for motivating me………it’s that leader in you.

  • hollyauto

    A soldier I know who was at the top of the PT spectrum was in the class with the first female cadets.  He along with several others did not pass the pt saying he got one less than the required number of pushups twice.  What a joke. He drove back to his duty station and was given a PT test right on the spot and did 75 after driving back after failing.  When asked at the Ranger School what they failed for a whole slew said pushups and that they all had missed by one.  Those asking just laughed.  Later another solider said he overheard them saying the females must make it no matter what. This was so wrong and nothing could be done about it.  The soldier has never failed PT or even come close to failing PT even in High School.  His JROTC instructors basically said you got screwed.

  • Beretverde

    Once upon a time Ranger and or Airborne schools were mandatory for newly commissioned RA combat arms officers.

  • MichaelMasters

    Im sorry….but i cant believe this is a true story. For 1 key point in lack of history. The Rangers were formed during WWII, not Korean war. Some1 needs to go back and re-look at thier history, Chiefs!

  • Jon G

    Michael Masters
    Please read a little closer …. He did not say the Rangers were formed in 1950
    He said “the Ranger Course was conceived in 1950” ….
    Abra los ojos …. Open the eyes …
    We all know the Rangers were at Pointe du Hoc as well as other battles in WW II …..

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