Female Rangers: An Insider Speaks on the Record

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You will recall the two recent female Ranger School graduates. Not long ago I published an essay about them and the allegations of lowered standards. I argued that evidence shows they attained THE school standards, not adjusted or lowered standards. I also said people claiming they were given special treatment had no facts, and were only offering “I don’t have any proof but I heard about it from someone so I know it’s true” to substantiate their argument. I ended my essay with,

“Lieutenant Haver and Captain Griest, congratulations. I hope to shake your hands someday. I have nothing but respect for your drive, dedication, and effort. Well done, Rangers.”

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I took a ton of crap for my stance. Some readers correctly pointed out I’m not a Ranger (which I stated at the beginning of my essay) and had no understanding of how Ranger School works (also true). Several people accused the Ranger School instructors of being boot-licking career chasers who don’t have enough integrity to admit they were ordered to lower standards, and berated me for not acknowledging it. Some readers criticized my use of photos of Rangers at Normandy and in Somalia, saying there is no connection whatsoever between the school and Ranger Regiment. As one reader put it, because I don’t have firsthand knowledge of Ranger School I was out of my lane to talk about this subject.

Fair enough. So instead of listening to me, how about we hear from someone smack-dab in the middle of the female Ranger lane?

I’ve been around the military a long time, and I know people. One of those people served with me in Afghanistan. He’s now out of the regular Army, but his wife is an Army civilian. Through my friend and his wife I was connected to someone who knows all about Ranger School, all about the female Rangers, and everything that happened behind the scenes. You should probably listen to this other soldier’s opinion, because he knows facts. Not theories, not maybes, but actual facts.

I’d like to introduce you to Sergeant Major Colin Boley. SGM Boley served fifteen years in the Ranger Regiment, from 1999 to 2014, and deployed with the Regiment fifteen times. He was awarded a Silver Star and multiple Bronze Stars for valor in combat. He also happens to be the Operations Sergeant Major of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, which runs Ranger School.

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SGM Boley won the Best Ranger Competition and served in every leadership position up to Operations Sergeant Major within the Special Operations community. He’s been the Brigade Ops Sergeant Major for eighteen months. Because of this position he knows all about how females were integrated into Ranger School, how they 552698_399811730112712_631647317_nperformed, what standard they and every other student were held to, and whether or not they graduated fair and square.

Sergeant Major Boley is far from a boot-licking career chaser. He’s got his twenty, plans on retiring in a few years, and has no plans on leaving his current assignment before retirement. “Since there’s no such thing as an E-10,” he said, “I’m not concerned with being promoted.” He has what I call a magical superpower: he can say or do what he wants, drop his papers and walk whenever he feels like it, and has no reason to hold back the truth.

It’s worth noting that SGM Boley originally didn’t like the idea of females attending Ranger School. In fact, when he first heard about the plan to allow females into class 6-15, he “thought the idea would die”. “Over the last fifteen or twenty years, there have been several attempts to get females into Ranger School,” he said. “All the previous plans were shelved. I thought the same thing would happen this time.”

This time, obviously, the idea didn’t die. SGM Boley was involved in every phase of planning for the first female Ranger students, and eventually realized it was going to happen. Even though he personally opposed the plan, he said, “It’s not my job to agree or disagree, it’s my job to make sure the Ranger School standards are upheld.” And according to SGM Boley, they were. “The females attained the same standards as the males, which are the same standards that have been in place at least since I got here a year and a half ago, and have probably been in place for a lot longer than that.”

I’m going to list a few accusations/conspiracy theories about the females at Ranger School, and let SGM Boley respond.

The females were given unfair prior training to prepare for Ranger School.

Sergeant Major Boley thinks that’s a pretty stupid accusation. “Everyone who goes to Ranger School should get extra training before they show up,” he says. “Before I went to school my team and squad leaders in the Regiment gave me extra training in land navigation and everything else. There are soldiers in the Regiment who get two years of training and preparation before going to school. The females trained for the course, but never observed the training before starting the school. Some people are saying they practiced on the Darby Queen [obstacle course] before their class started. As far as I know they didn’t, but if they did, who gives a shit? The Darby Queen isn’t a drop event anyway, and anyone can go through Darby Queen if they get prior permission through land requests. If a soldier arrives at Fort Benning to attempt the Ranger Course and doesn’t have prior trainup, his leadership failed.”

Bottom line? “Did the females get extra trainup? Yes,” SGM Boley says. “Did they get unfair trainup? No.”

The standards were lowered so the females could pass.

SGM Boley was emphatic about Ranger School standards being maintained. He clearly stated nobody was ever ordered to lower standards for the females, and contrary to a really stupid article in People Magazine, no General ever said, “A woman will graduate Ranger School.” Despite suggestions that the females should only have to pass female PT standards, the decision was made early on to hold them to Ranger standards because, as SGM Boley says, “the Ranger standard is the only standard.”

SGM Boley didn’t expect any females to make it. He thought, and still thinks, female Ranger students should have gone through a pipeline before Ranger School: infantry basic, infantry Advanced Individual Training, and then Ranger. He didn’t think it made sense to send females without prior infantry training, and unlike others, he wasn’t sure a female would even make it through RAP Week (Ranger Assessment Phase, a difficult week of physical events at the beginning of the school). But the two female graduates made it through the entire course, upholding the same standards as every other graduate.

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A General walked patrols with the females to make sure they passed.

Major General Scott Miller did indeed walk a patrol while the females were at Ranger School, and spoke at their graduation. “Major General Miller was celebrating his thirtieth anniversary of attending Ranger School,” Sergeant Major Boley said. “He was scheduled to walk the patrol and speak at graduation months before we knew females were going to be in the course. As the Operations Sergeant Major, I have to know months in advance if a VIP is coming. We knew MG Miller was coming, long before we knew females were coming.”

SGM Boley also says General Miller intentionally stayed away from the females. “He didn’t go to any event with a female student. He made sure not to, in order to avoid accusations that he was influencing anything. He probably never saw a female. And he definitely didn’t ‘grade their patrols’ like some people have been saying. He’s not an RI [Ranger Instructor], so he’s not authorized or certified to grade their patrols.”

“President Obama was scheduled to attend their graduation! That proves the females were going to graduate no matter what!”

Even though it was a phone interview, I could almost hear Sergeant Major Boley roll his eyes in disgust when I mentioned that particular conspiracy theory. “The President was never scheduled to come to the graduation if a female was to graduate,” he said. “I’m the Operations Sergeant Major and would have to know if the President is coming. A presidential visit is a big deal, and takes a lot of preparation. If he had planned on being there, I would have known about it. That story is completely false.”

This accusation seems to piss Sergeant Major Boley off more than most others, probably because it was created out of thin air, with absolutely no basis in reality, and won’t go away. SGM Boley is obviously getting tired of all the conspiracies. “I’ve tried talking sense to people who say things like that,” he says, “and it never works. There are guys who won’t believe the facts, no matter what. I’ve seen comments online like, ‘Even if there’s an investigation and all the training records say the females made it, I still won’t believe it because I know the Army is lying.’ So what’s the point of even trying to convince them? I know what happened, and I know they made it.”

The females were offered two Day 1 Recycles, which males are almost never given.

According to some critics, the two female Rangers who graduated were given two chances to start over, which males wouldn’t have received without extraordinary circumstances. “That’s ridiculous,” SGM Boley said. “Just this year we’ve had more than twenty males take Day 1 Recycles. And that’s just the ones who accepted the offer. We’ve offered Day 1 Recycles to way more soldiers than that. When a soldier doesn’t make it through a training phase, a board looks at all the factors involved and decides whether or not to give them the opportunity to start the course over. If the board believes in the soldier, thinks he’s doing his best and is physically and mentally able to succeed, he gets the chance to start over.”

This isn’t new. When Sergeant Major Boley went to Ranger School in 1997, he met a student who had been in the course almost 300 days (the course lasts 62 days if the student passes everything first try). “That guy had to have been given several chances,” SGM Boley says. “And even in the females’ class males were given the same chances. Some male students started with the females in class 6-15, and were still in the school after the females graduated with class 8-15. Maybe those males have graduated by now, but they were still there long after the females graduated. They got extra chances too. The females didn’t get any opportunities a male didn’t get.”

Ranger School has no connection to the Ranger Regiment, the honor and integrity of Regiment Rangers doesn’t extend to schoolhouse Ranger Instructors, and those instructors are lying when they say the females attained the standards.

SGM Boley acknowledged that there aren’t many Regiment veterans at the schoolhouse. “I couldn’t even give you a number of RIs who were in Regiment, but it isn’t a lot. I’d guess maybe once every phase a student encounters an RI who was in Regiment.”

So what does this mean? It means that although there aren’t many, there are in fact Regiment veterans instructing at the school, and those soldiers have a vested interest in maintaining the honor and integrity of not just the school but also of the standards held by the Regiment. Without question, Regiment veteran Sergeant Major Boley wants the standards maintained, and has a duty to uphold those standards. Comments against Ranger Instructors aren’t separate from attacks on the Regiment; “Every time someone claims we’re lying about the females,” SGM Boley says, “they’re directly attacking my integrity as well as Colonel Fivecoat’s, Command Sergeant Major Arnold and all the Ranger Instructors currently working at Ranger school.”

So many changes had to be made to allow females in Ranger School, it made the two females who graduated not worth the trouble.

This one isn’t an accusation or conspiracy theory, and many reasonable people would argue that it’s a valid criticism. Even SGM Boley had his own concerns about the presence of females; he thought they’d need so many special considerations that, as he said, “the juice wouldn’t be worth the squeeze.” In the end, however, the females needed almost no accommodations for their gender. “The only thing different for them was that they showered separately from the males,” he said. “That was it. There were practical considerations for the females, but no special considerations.”

The females aren’t really Rangers. They’re just Ranger qualified.

Again, this isn’t a conspiracy or accusation, but it’s been brought up quite a bit since the females graduated. Even Sergeant Major Boley understands this opinion. “When I was a Regiment E5 and E6, maybe even as a young E7, I would have said the same thing,” he admitted. “That’s a very common attitude in the Regiment, but that’s not the rule. There’s no regulation saying you have to be in Regiment to be a Ranger. If you graduate from the course, you’re a Ranger. I have no problem with the females calling themselves Rangers, or with anyone else calling them Rangers.”

NPR photo
NPR photo

When I wrote my first essay about the female Rangers, I held the opinion that the school had upheld the standards, and two females had honestly attained those standards. I’ve argued before that women who are capable, qualified and willing to serve in combat arms should at least be given the opportunity to attempt the training. After speaking with SGM Boley, I still feel that way. All the evidence I’ve seen – and the direct, firsthand information I just heard straight from Sergeant Major Boley’s mouth – leads me to believe Captain Kristen Griest and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver legitimately graduated from one of the Army’s toughest schools.

And that’s all Sergeant Major Boley and I are saying. The females did their best, attained the standards, and graduated from a school. That school earned them a tab, but not the tan Ranger beret. Not a platoon leader position in an infantry unit. They graduated from a school, and all the people going insane over that fact should calm down. Because it was just a school. An important school, and maybe a crucial step forward for women, but still just a school.

“The two females deserve recognition for making it through Ranger School,” Sergeant Major Boley says. “But they don’t deserve more than anyone else. One soldier who graduated with them is a cancer survivor, and not long ago was told he’d never be able to do something like this. He did it, the females did it, every other soldier who graduated did it. They all deserve praise, but not more than their classmates. Completing Ranger school is the easiest part of being a Ranger, living up to what that tab means every day of your life after is the hard part. Thus far Haver and Griest are doing just that, with class and dignity. Some of us old Rangers may want to take a page out of their book.

As far as I’m concerned, Sergeant Major Boley’s opinion is the final word on the matter. I’m a cynical old senior NCO who is frankly sick to death of the Army and counting the seconds until I retire, and I often harbor a near-homicidal hatred and distrust of officers (just kidding…sort of). If it was just some official Army spokesman colonel insisting the females graduated fairly, yeah, I’d be suspicious. But when a twenty-year Ranger Regiment combat veteran Sergeant Major with a Silver Star, who is assigned to Ranger School, tells me they made it fair and square, I believe him.

Disagree with me all you want, and call me whatever you want. People disagree with me all the time, call me all kinds of bitches and hoes, and I ain’t even mad, bro. But if you’re going to call Sergeant Major Boley a liar, you better have actual evidence to back that accusation.

Don’t have evidence? Then you should probably practice saying this:

“Lieutenant Haver and Captain Griest, congratulations. I hope to shake your hands someday. I have nothing but respect for your drive, dedication, and effort. Well done, Rangers.”

-CH

Note: this interview was conducted before the third female graduated Ranger School, and because she was still a student her performance was not discussed or addressed in this article.

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breachbangclear.com_site_images_Chris_Hernandez_Author_BreachBangClear4About the Author: Chris “Mad Duo Herndo” Hernandez (seen here on patrol in Afghanistan) may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LIGHT writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog, Iron Mike Magazine, Kit Up! and Under the Radar. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.

Chris Hernandez

Chris Hernandez may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog.


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77 thoughts on “Female Rangers: An Insider Speaks on the Record

  • November 3, 2015 at 12:59 am
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    “The females aren’t really Rangers. They’re just Ranger qualified.”

    Really? Seems to me they’re a twig and two berries short of being “qualified.”

    Not unlike the scene in Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” when the members of the People’s Front of Judea argue whether a man should have the right to have babies, even though he lacks a womb. Absent a change in the regs or undergoing addadicktome surgery, they’re neither Rangers NOR Ranger-Qualified. They’re just a couple of WACs with a merit badge.

    Reply
    • November 3, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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      I literally have no idea what that “Silence DoGood’s” comment adds to the conversation.

      Reply
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  • October 31, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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    Well first things first, kudos for the informative and detailed interview, and thanks SGM for speaking on the record.

    There’s a bunch of rumors flying around about all of this stuff and I’ll admit I’d been taken in myself by a few false pieces of info that came down the grapevine and were just accepted around here as “common knowledge” without really knowing who heard it first from where. Now if I hear more of the same bullshit I’ll be armed with the facts to correct it, and be able to point people at this interview if they demand a source (not that it will help in many cases).

    I’m still somewhat torn by the GO visit. I understand it was his thirtieth anniversary, and even if it weren’t, that these things are hard to reschedule. That aside, I’ve heard it said that the appearance of impropriety can be nearly as bad as the act itself; this looked suspicious, and whatever privileges rank has, I think he could have foregone the visit for six months or so. Just my 2¢.

    I’ve gone back and forth on the extra training. A lot of guys see this as unfair just given that it was provided centrally by higher HQ, and I can kind of get where there coming from. Around here we lack sufficient money to even attempt to fill all our V slots (half of the officers don’t get the chance if that tells you anything), let alone put someone on orders to train them up for weeks prior (all the active guys can commence laughing at the guard now) and our failure rate reflects this. The predominant feeling is along the lines of, how come they get all those resources thrown at them and we get jack shit.

    The flipside is of course that there’s always been differences in how much effort units devote to helping people prepare, I’ve heard tales where the unit didn’t offer any support, or even actively hindered them. And others where they got months off normal duty to do nothing but prepare. Now those could all be bullshit, but the point is no two people come into the course with the same set of experiences, background or, career history. Depending on everything that’s gone before, of course some will have it easier than others. For bat-boys everything they do is essentially a train-up, not to mention the dedicated time immediately before hand, and they may basically have two years of preparation for the course. Bottom line, did they receive more training than average? Maybe. Did they receive unfair training, or even just more training than anyone else attending the course? No.

    There’s also predictable complaints that the course has gotten easier, or over time was made easier for them etc.

    Well things are certainly safer than they used to be, from talking with guys who went in the 70s/80s. Does that make them easier? Hard to say, every generation seems to complain that the ones that follow have it softer. In this case there may even be some truth to it. Standards have changed steadily over time to try and get soldiers the best training in the safest way possible. Maybe not the all these changes are for the better, but doing something hard solely because it’s hard is stupid. Case in point: Eating a sack of pinecones is difficult, but will it make you better soldier?(Hint, this question is rhetorical).

    But claims like this are nothing new, I can remember hearing from some old grads before I went that they were having trouble getting anyone to come to the course because everyone was getting deployed so often and they needed to fill slots so they were just giving tabs away (they weren’t). Although my class was mostly newly minted 2LTs and guys from regiment (very few NCOs). Yet what I found remarkable when I got back to the unit was how similar our experiences were, right down to many of the exact same events (but with more foot checks). Either way it really shouldn’t matter, they met the Ranger standard as it is now established, it was not adulterated for them specifically, nor can I fathom some weird conspiracy to steadily lower the standards in the period of years leading up to the event so that no one noticed.

    “Ranger” vs “Ranger Qualified”. A minor terminology quibble, I don’t really think it matters how they or anyone for that matter refer to themselves, though admittedly we have enough former 75th guys around that I don’t call myself a ranger to avoid the trouble (Yet, our old XO who started out enlisted in the regiment but never got his tab was a ranger by virtue of completing RASP; didn’t mind really he was a good guy). What’s odd though is the SGM saying that it’s not a rule outlined in regulation. At some point it I’d heard that not only was the terminology outlined in regulation for official documentation purposes, but was also the source of completely different SQIs (U=“Actual Ranger” V=“Ranger Qualified + Rasberry Beret”) if I recall correctly the usual citation is AR 614-200, but admittedly I haven’t actually read it, so I’ll have to check back next drill to see if that’s the one claimed as the source and then read it when I’m bored to see what it really says. Sure as hell wouldn’t be the first time I’d taken for granted something everyone knew was a regulation only for it to be made up or misinterpreted BS, (you’d think I’d know better by now). Regardless of the truth it won’t stop people from getting unnecessarily worked up about it.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2015 at 3:36 pm
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    The million dollar question – why haven’t any of the RI’s or RTB support personnel spoken on this? I’m hearing from friends of RI’s that those involved in the classes with the females had to sign Nondisclosure Agreements. Not sure if it’s true, but just sharing. It would make sense since we haven’t heard anything from those directly involved. Yes, SMG Boley was the Ops SGM at ARTB, but that would be like the CEO of BP Oil knowing what goes on at a BP gas station in nowhere USA. Did the standards change for the females, probably not. But it was changed a year or maybe two before they attended. Does anyone really believe ARTB didn’t know these females were going to show up for XYZ class a year or more before they did. I doubt they just showed up and no one knew they were coming. I worked at the airborne school in 1980. We ran morning PT in two groups, a fast group and a slower group. Standards then were, fall back more than two step and you were out. Everyone in the fast group was males, slower group females with a couple of males. At that time PT was in uniform and boots. One morning after our usual PT run we were in the orderly room when a full colonel came in and asked why we ran in two groups. The CO informed him that none of the females would make the course if they ran in the fast group. The colonel asked why we needed to run so fast, what was the purpose of it. A couple of days later we were running in one group at a very slow pace. For those that think females can do what a male can ask yourself why aren’t there any females competing against males in pro football, or pro basketball. Why aren’t females fighting males in MMA. Why are sports still divided male and female. Another question to bounce around – why is it only in the military that the senior leadership goes along and makes it possible for females to integrate with combat arms, which have always been males? Do we see any of the pro sports trying to integrate females with males in football, basketball, MMA… Why not, is it because they know it won’t work and they will lose big money. So in closing, back to the million dollar question – why haven’t any of the RI’s or RTB support staff spoken on this. Was a NDA involved, If it is why?

    Reply
    • October 29, 2015 at 1:17 am
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      Old Airborne Ranger,

      You know, it’s true that the SGM can’t know everything that’s going on. But that’s also true of everyone else there. I’d guess given his position that he knows as much as any one individual there. So the real question is what evidence would you consider sufficient, else the discussion is locked into an endless loop of providing evidence that you immediately reject as insufficient.

      Frankly if you want to go to extreme skepticism, you could as easily claim the whole thing was a moon hoax type conspiracy fabricated with cameras and hush money, and no women were ever at the school to begin with, and no one can prove otherwise. Obviously that’s a ridiculous extreme, but if you insist on setting standards that can never be met or keep moving the goalposts, than any discussion is a waste of time.

      As for NDAs I’ve heard that rumor as well, I don’t know where I heard it though, it can’t be verified, and it’s best to reserve judgement until we have more information, it would certainly be concerning (although not damning) and you would have reason to know why they would be required. But the entire rumor could as easily be so much BS, and a number of the guys in their squad have gone on record saying they deserved to pass.

      Now for your other point, as to why women here if not in pro-sports.

      Full disclosure I’m not a statistician, although I have a reasonable working knowledge of mathematics.

      TL:DR version of the below. Females capable of performing at RS level are statistically unlikely but far from impossible. (As was just shown by these graduates)

      There’s about 1700 Pro-Football players in the NFL. Now if we assume that we’re inefficient in selecting good football players for whatever reason, and so many better or potentially better athletes are not in the league, then the actual number who could play are larger. Let’s say we’re grossly inefficient (I don’t think this is the case due to the fact that entry programs are everywhere and the salaries are generous enough to attract top talent) and there are actually 170000 (100 times as many) individuals that are NFL quality talent.

      Then only the top .1% of males in this country are capable of playing at the pro-level (again I think this number is actually much less). And it’s extremely unlikely that any women in this country has physical capabilities in the same range as the top .1% of males.

      Now let’s examine the army. I’ve heard the claim (probably pulled out of thin air) that only about a third of potential army recruits, can actually meet the standards to become soldiers and ship to basic. Let’s run with this for the moment on the assumption that it’s somewhere in the ballpark. Rounding down slightly to get an even number call it 32%, again in a SWAG we’ll say maybe half of that body can be Infantryman, so 16%. Historically pass/fail rate for Ranger is 50/50 so maybe 8% of the US Male population has the the inherent physical capability to train to ultimately become a Ranger School Graduate(I actually think the real number is higher). Are they many Females even at the extreme edge of the bell-curve who can match the 93% of the male population? No, but there probably are a handful. On the other hand, The number who can match a 99.9+% male is zero.

      I don’t claim any of the above numbers are close to being exact or even that Ranger school is primarily a measure of physical ability (always though mental toughness was far more important), but the basic point holds, there are a few (perhaps a very small few) who we would expect can meet the criteria.

      For more select groups CAG, SF, or the regiment itself, this may not be the case, even 3 out of 160 hand-picked candidates is quite small.

      Point Being I don’t think the sports analogy holds. Even in our more select groups we’re probably not anywhere near as efficient getting the largest proportion of the population that are capable of doing that particular job, we simply don’t pay well-enough.

      Reply
      • October 29, 2015 at 7:48 am
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        I interviewed a female infantry soldier from Denmark a ways back. She made an interesting point: “Females can’t physically make it into the big leagues. But regular infantry isn’t the big leagues, SF is.”

        Old Airborne Ranger is correct that the best female athlete isn’t the equivalent of the best male athlete. But even in Ranger School, you don’t have to be a world-class athlete; according to many Rangers I’ve spoken with, it’s not that the school is hard, it’s just that it sucks.

        I don’t think the question is whether or not females are physically equivalent to men. Obviously they’re not. The question is whether or not a tiny number of females who are statistical anomalies could graduate Ranger School. The answer to that seems to be yes.

        Reply
  • October 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm
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    Funny, in my years as an 11b, I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve heard an SGM disagree with their command and not support them. Even the SGM’s we thought sure were the hard asses and wouldn’t ever go along with anything they didn’t agree with, sure enough, they did. So I will rarely take the word of any SGM, regardless of their accomplishments. That being said, You personally know a SGM that said all this, well too many of us personally know some of the cadre and instructors there that were with those females everyday in their respective phases and they tell a very different story. I’ll leave it at that because it isn’t worth it.

    Reply
    • October 28, 2015 at 1:14 pm
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      Are your RI friends willing to speak up about it?

      Doesn’t integrity DEMAND that they speak up about it?

      Once again, I extend an invitation to interview any RI who has firsthand knowledge about standards being lowered for females. I’ll publish what they say even if I disagree with them.

      I don’t see how so many RIs allegedly know about lowered standards, yet not a single one has the courage to speak out.

      Reply
      • October 28, 2015 at 3:46 pm
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        Hi Chris, don’t you find it unusual that no one that was directly involved have spoken on this, whether for or against. I’ve been reading a lot on this subject and have yet to see anything from a RI or RTB support person. All we are reading is from those not directly involved or third hand information. Is it possible a NDA is involved? Many blog administrators have expressed your same words – “I extend an invitation to interview any RI who has firsthand knowledge.”

        Reply
        • October 29, 2015 at 12:30 am
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          All standards changed over the years. For those that have completed the Ranger Course, did you know that the swim test is no longer a critical skill. I’m not sure when it changed, but at one time students had to swim 25 yards/meters with rifle and LBE, walk off the diving board while blind folded and then swim with all equipment to the edge, and ?? (I don’t remember the last event). A lot of guys didn’t make it and were dropped. Today, it’s not a drop event.

          Reply
        • October 29, 2015 at 7:49 am
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          Good question on NDAs. I’ve heard that NDAs are always signed in every class, but that’s just rumor. I’ll see what I can find out.

          Reply
          • October 29, 2015 at 10:12 am
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            The students are still required to pass the swim test and it is a “drop event” if fail

            Reply
          • October 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm
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            Combat Water Survival Test (no longer conducted as of 2010)

            Combat Water Survival Assessment, conducted at Victory Pond (previously called the Water Confidence Test). This test consists of three events that test the Ranger student’s ability to calmly overcome any fear of heights or water. Students must calmly walk across a log suspended thirty-five feet above the pond, then transition to a rope crawl before plunging into the water. Each student must then jump into the pond and ditch their rifle and load-bearing equipment while submerged. Finally, each student climbs a ladder to the top of a seventy-foot tower and traverses down to the water on a pulley attached to a suspended cable, subsequently plunging into the pond. All of these tasks must be performed calmly without any type of safety harness. If a student fails to negotiate an obstacle (through fear, hesitation or by not completing it correctly) he or she is dropped from the course.

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        • October 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm
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          I asked SGM Boley and he said NDAs are never required for RIs. I’ve heard this accusation made a few times, or the question asked, but I don’t know of any evidence that suggests NDAs were signed. And the NDA question can turn into one of those conspiratorial, circular theories where the lack of evidence if considered proof: “No one is talking about NDAs, which proves everyone involved had to sign one.” I know you’re not saying that, but that’s something others have mentioned.

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  • October 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm
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    I served with SGM Boley when he was a PFC, SPC, and SGT after returning from Ranger School. I know he knows how hard he trained and pushed his body to prepare, let alone for best Ranger. If he says they earned it, its legitimate. One of the best soldiers I ever knew and know. Proud and honored to see where he is.

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  • October 27, 2015 at 7:42 pm
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    The Ladies had it tougher!

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/sam-russell/ranger-school-the-ladies-had-it-tougher/10206302797721555

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong [wo]man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [wo]man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends [her]self in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if [s]he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that [her] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    –TR

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  • October 27, 2015 at 11:34 am
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    What shame in leaving Regiment after 15 deployments and a Silver Star and a bunch of Bronze medals and valor device? I have asked him to watch his mouth but if it got him into a position to train his dad and I thank God. He is brilliant and skilled and made it to Sgt. Major. You haters make me smile. Jagoffs! A little bit of Pittsburgh .

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  • October 27, 2015 at 9:36 am
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    I think that if vets stopped offing themselves because they could not hack their service related traumas, I might care more what they say about “losing lives” directly related to the presence of females in combat roles. How about PTSD related suicides stop occurring in massive droves and THEN it would make more sense to place blame on deaths that haven’t even occurred yet on a female. Harping on and on about how females working side by side with males is going to lead to a lot of deaths before it has even happened is ludacris. Are there any statistics on this? To my knowledge anytime a female attempts at even the thought of testing the limits and finding out what she may be capable of there are a million men saying NO and back the hell off you are going to get people killed and you are going to cause standards to be lowered blah blah blah. I know first hand the physiological differences between males and females. A meatheady beef cake of a male is not going to be as limber and flexible as myself, and I certainly cannot life a grown man with full kit above my head and toss him either. If left to be responsible to carry a wounded male by myself to safety, I would not do it the same way as my male counterpart, but I would accomplish this nonetheless and to my own devices. The pressure on a female would be tremendous, and little respect is given to females who are willing to stop at nothing to fight with males who hate them and actually expect more from her than the the guy on his left or right. Talk about not being fair. Resenting a female for not holding a standard above your own or of your pals is beyond words. I think men are just guarding being the only hero’s to walk the earth and leave us females to making sammiches. Sorry to say there are chicks out there with brass, and you can complain all you want… Things are going to change like it or not. I am not a bra burner or femenist, I do not think women are equals. I just think women deserve a hell of a lot more respect than we are given

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    • November 1, 2015 at 8:05 am
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      Apparently you have not heard of “Joan of Arc” or “Mulan” (and there are more, but those were the first 2 that came to mind)

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      • November 13, 2015 at 10:59 am
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        So I guess it would be fair then to assume that Bergdahl guy reflects the cowardliness of all men. Maybe you are all fully capable of desertion that leads to death and should be stripped of your right to serve

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  • October 27, 2015 at 9:30 am
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    I think what it really comes down to is Ranger school is not that terribly difficult in the first place. Just pass RAP week, know infantry skills, and don’t quit. I have seen some of the dudes who pass Ranger school and they are FAR from stellar soldiers or in top physical shape. A lot of hype about Ranger school but it really is not that big of a deal.

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  • October 27, 2015 at 5:30 am
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    To question SGM Boley’s integrity on the Internet is cute. I can assure you that not one of you would do it in the face of hundreds of soldiers that have served with or for SGM Boley. SGM Boley has been a personal friend for years…and his integrity and Honesty have always been held to an even higher standard than RS….his own! You people who (with no personal knowledge) who state the contrary are ignorant at best!

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  • October 27, 2015 at 2:42 am
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    I do not know whether standards were lowered or not, whether special considerations were extended or not, whether the women passed straight up or not. But I did find it surprising, not to say disconcerting, that SGM Boley said, or that the author implies that he said, “no General ever said, ‘A woman will graduate Ranger School’.” Considering that there are around 300 generals in the Army, SGM Boley cannot possibly have monitored all conversations of 300 men in order to know this—even if an NCO were privy to conversations amongst generals.

    If you exaggerate your knowledge to make an uncategorical statement about one thing, it casts some doubt on how much knowledge you may have had about other things you also declare to be so.

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    • October 27, 2015 at 6:00 am
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      I think you’re inferences are too literal. I believe the context to be “no general ever issued an order or made a statement to RS personnel that a female WOULD graduate”. based on the entirety of the article, I think it’s pretty clear that SGM Boley was making comments based on his experience as OPS SGM, not making categorical statements about every army general. After all, a man can only speak for himself right?

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    • October 27, 2015 at 6:34 am
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      Good point….I am not privy to all conversations of GOs in the Army….but what I am privy to is the context in which the statement was made and that was is in reference to a general officer making the directive statement of “a female will graduate” which was supposedly made to the command of the ARTB which AGAIN I stand by my word and say NO GENERAL MADE SUCH A STATEMENT. thankS for allowing me to clarify.

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    • October 27, 2015 at 7:32 am
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      I apologize for not making that more clear. Yes, a General could have made that statement. However, I was referring to an explicit or implied directive to the RS staff. I didn’t even specify American Generals, so it’s possible a General in the Eritrean or Norwegian Army said that, which would make my statement untrue. 🙂

      Just kidding, and you’re right. I should have been more specific.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 10:57 pm
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    Author can you please tell me why SGM Boley is not in ranger battalion. I can tell you for sure that if you knew why it would take away all legitimatecy to this story. Please do your research before putting what you believe is a end all to the truth of how females passed ranger school. Please ask SGM Boley what happened in ranger regiment and why he is at RTB not BN.

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    • October 27, 2015 at 5:52 am
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      Gotta love the moral courage of an anonymous post…..if you must know, cause I am guessing you dont or you would have had the fortitude to enlighten us with your identity, I left allegedly for an arrest in Opelika…..please do your research or at least have the courage to inform us of who makes such bold claims….my guess is you are one of the same that has these anonymous sources.

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      • October 27, 2015 at 6:39 am
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        And to elaborate. ..the arrest for for cursing in public….I could only hope to pay my debt back to society.

        Now…your comment has not basis of argument to the subject at hand

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        • October 27, 2015 at 7:27 am
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          A Ranger was arrested for cursing in public? That’s pretty scandalous. From a Ranger I expect an arrest for something way better than that, like beating multiple hippies with a beer bottle.

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          • October 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm
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            Grow your own dick and get off his lol

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          • October 27, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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            That’s pretty funny. Gotta give credit where it’s due.

            Now try to make a valid point.

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      • October 28, 2015 at 2:09 am
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        Colin, Thank you for proving one of my points you have been a real helper. Why should it matter who I am hmm maybe that’s why all the sources are anymous. Because if the RIs come forward with the truth they will have people with power such as yourself going after them. Once again great job in proving my point and selling out.

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        • October 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm
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          Actually, “Truth”, thank you for providing an excellent illustration of what’s wrong with the claims that the females didn’t make the standards.

          You: “I know something bad, but I’m not going to say exactly what it is or reveal my identity.”

          Me: “Why not?”

          You: “See? You’re trying to retaliate against me!”

          Why would I believe the accusation of someone who won’t say exactly what happened and won’t stand up for what they say is right? The problem outsiders like me have with claims of preferential treatment is that nobody – not one single RI involved with the female RS students – has stood up and said “I have firsthand knowledge of XXX, and I’m willing to stand up and tell the world about it.” If it’s so obvious the standards were lowered for females, don’t the RIs have a responsibility to say something about it? Doesn’t integrity DEMAND they speak out?

          Once again: I invite any RI with firsthand knowledge of preferential treatment for females to contact me. I’ll publish what they have to say even if I don’t agree with it. I’ll even publish their account anonymously, as long as I can verify who they are and that they were directly involved.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 10:40 pm
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    Was gonna share this excellent write up and interview until the last comment about a near-homicidal hatred for Officers. The Army can’t be rid of you fast enough.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 10:46 pm
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      The Army only has to wait until May. 🙂

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    • November 1, 2015 at 7:58 am
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      oh yeah, Chris is your typical POS enlisted soldier, of course he doesn’t like Officers! If the Gov’t entrusted someone with their officer’s commission that means they are *SO* much better than the enlisted scum they are so heroically forced to endure!! It’s amazing Chris hasn’t been kicked out sooner!

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  • October 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm
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    You took a ton of crap because you compared Ranger school to being a Ranger. So you were ignorant and did not know the difference. As for women being smart enough to pass ranger school. No doubt they are. As for them being built physically to handle the demands. nope, nada. As for double standards on officer and some enlisted being tabbed out. Thats been happening for decades going back to Viet Nam. Anyone who says differently is flat out lying because I know from personal experinece being ordered to hand hold a VIP West Point cadet through all of his patrols. And that was over 35 years ago. Then my time in RIP was exposed with pressure on passing some students through Pre-Ranger. I declined and flunked them. So yes there are double standards and I don’t doubt for one second it happened here based on my own experiences as an enlisted and as an officer. No handshakes from me

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    • October 26, 2015 at 10:49 pm
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      Not exactly. I know the school and Regiment are different. What I took a ton of crap about was suggesting the school and Regiment had any connection whatsoever.

      It’s interesting that the presence of females in RS brings forth all these stories of failure to uphold RS standards. Some of these stories, like yours, go back decades. But there was no uproar about it until someone suggested females weren’t held to the standards.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 8:09 pm
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    I can’t speak to the standards because I wasn’t there. But, I can tell you that I’ve worked with both CSM Boleyn and MG Miller. Neither have ever given me reason to question their integrity. The talk of politics and turncoats reaches me disagreeable.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm
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    Standards have always changed and will continue to do so. There was some grumpy old PSG or 1SG when you were a pup saying the same lines. Get off yourselves and try not to embellish your history to much, there is always someone there to call you on it.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm
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    There has been a huge shift in standards. This coming from a man that attend in the 60’s, went to Regiment in the 70’s, RI’d in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 11:25 am
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    So they were graded on the male APFT standards?

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    • October 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm
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      There is no male standard for Ranger Physical assessment. It is the Ranger standard.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm
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      Yes. That has already been well established. Everyone is graded on the same PT test standard, regardless of gender or age. Everyone is graded based on the 17-21 year old male age bracket and must score at least 70% (higher than the Army standard) on each event.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm
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      Yes. That’s addressed in the article.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 10:49 am
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    Everyone is missing the point. The same standards WERE upheld by the female attendees. The big question is WHAT are the standards, and in a year WHAT is going to be the new gender-normed standard? 60+ pound ruck weight a year ago was ***40 WITH WATER*** on this particular cycle. Next year it will be 32 with a 240 as opposed to a 270 on the RPFT – a year after that? Maybe we’ll just carry teddy bears and lollipops through the fucking woods.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm
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      Those standards have been changing since long before females showed up. If standards are being watered down, I agree that’s a problem. However, my argument is that the females graduated at the current standard. Whether or not that standard is too weak is a different argument.

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  • Pingback:Female Rangers: An Insider Speaks on the Record | chrishernandezauthor

  • October 26, 2015 at 9:15 am
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    What about peer evaluations?

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  • October 26, 2015 at 6:10 am
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    First do you call personnel who attended Ranger School from other branches Rangers?

    Second do you really believe the Operations Sergeant Major of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade is going to admit that standards were lowered? That he is going to come out and admit standards were lowered on his watch. That the integrity of the Tab isn’t actually that high?

    Standards in the SOF community have been lowered in the past. Standards in the aviation community have been lowered in the past. They change every time you get a change of command, a new set of instructors rotate thru. When there is a shortage of personnel. When someone decides to diversify the force. Standards change all the time, for the better or worse.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 8:24 am
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      I couldn’t tell you what other branches call the RS grads. I can tell you that the Ops SGM at ARTB says if you graduate from the course, you’re a Ranger.

      I believe that the Rangers charged with upholding the RS standards would fight, speak out and even quit if they were forced to pass substandard students. The fact that not a single RI has spoken out leaves us only two options: either Rangers have no integrity, courage or backbone and we were wrong to ever think so highly of them, or the females passed. I think it’s way more likely that the females passed.

      And correct, the standards change. That’s not the question here. The question is, “did the females pass at the same standard as their male classmates”? As far as I can tell, the answer is yes.

      I extend an open invitation to interview any RI or student who has firsthand knowledge that the females didn’t attain the standards. I’ll publish their word as long as I can verify that they were there, even if I disagree with what they say.

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      • October 26, 2015 at 6:50 pm
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        I am not one that thinks the females did not meet the standards, but rather tossing a deeper thought question (ok you can say playing devil’s advocate).

        I think a far better question than “did they meet the standards of their classmates,” is “were their classmates cheated because standards were lowered to accommodate the females.” I dont think they were, and I am happy for these ladies.

        I do have one fear with them passing, based on the ever changing standards idea. As he stated some of the standard changes are not for the best, and this often happens when the “social engineer” types feel they have not met a quota.

        These small successes along the way, serve two purposes (for the “movement”); first, they give a “battle cry,” and second, they serve as “proof” that the “patriarchy” (in this case) were so upset that they have made standards even more difficult and that is why there havent been more successes, which (when screamed loud and long enough) often leads to the standards coming down.

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        • October 26, 2015 at 8:44 pm
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          A gradual lowering of standards to prove a social justice point is THE biggest worry with military female integration. If we don’t screw it up, we’ll have a small number of capable, competent women serving in certain combat roles. If we let the SJWs (who would never serve in the military themselves) fuck with it, we’ll have a lot of women in jobs and situations they have no business being in, and a lot of unnecessary lost lives.

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          • October 26, 2015 at 10:07 pm
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            And, we’d assume, men as well (in jobs where they have no business being, as they have been…like everyone else…for a long time). Standards are standards and soldiers are soldiers.

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          • October 27, 2015 at 8:35 am
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            It’s known that JSOC already includes women. No one else has a shortage of men trying out, or a role where adding women organically to a team would make a unit more capable.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 7:50 pm
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      Please do not call CSM Boley a liar!!! He has utmost intergrity and would never say something didn’t happen if it didn’t. He is telling the truth and all the soldiers passed because they deserved to pass. They all did what was expected of them to the standards. Nothing was lowered. Stop with the conspiracy theories. It’s getting ridiculous!! Women can do what men can do. Get used to it.

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      • October 26, 2015 at 8:51 pm
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        Women can’t do everything men can do. That’s physiology. That doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be allowed into combat roles they’re qualified for, but I highly doubt any woman could ever perform at the level of our best Tier One troops.

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  • October 26, 2015 at 3:14 am
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    Lol, there is no such thing as E10, but unless you want your career ending at RTB, you can bet your ass they will support the party line, or be the EEO in ft Polk, instead of a Division CSM. At the senior enlisted ranks the career enhancing jobs are like musical chairs, fewer, and fewer. CSM Boley did all that you say, but now he also is a political entity. Just like turncoat and General Miller. Go along, get along……….They will never admit what they did, but we know. Ranger school took a shit this year. If you choose to buy into he whole Standards Were Uphwld cry from the mountains………..I have a bridge to sell you.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 5:27 am
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      Ok what I don’t understand about you saying this. If standards were relaxed for females, then why did so few graduate? Just statistically speaking, there should have been an amount to match male numbers that drop or tab.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 8:18 am
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      SGM Boley clearly stated he plans on staying where he is until he retires.

      My question is, since it’s so obvious these females got special treatment, and every RI knows it, why does not one RI have the courage and integrity to speak out?

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    • October 26, 2015 at 7:07 pm
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      David,

      The problem with posts like yours is that you offer no evidence for your claims. You “just know” that the standards were lowered, and any evidence to the contrary is a cover-up. It’s irrational circular logic. “I know standards were lowered and covered up. Why are there no facts to support my claim? Because there was a cover-up. How do I know? Because I do.”

      That makes your thoughts and opinion totally meaningless because they are based on your imagination, not on any objective facts or evidence.

      When you have facts and evidence, come back and join the discussion. Until then, enjoy the machinations in your head.

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      • October 26, 2015 at 10:21 pm
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        Great response. I wish I had said it first.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm
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      I know sergeant major Boley, proud to have served with him when he was just a lowly grunt. He is a man of integrity that got to where he is in his career by serving with unbelievable integrity and commitment. You question his integrity?

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    • October 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm
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      Hmmm and another thing lets talk about standards real quick how can I believe a word this SGM says when he can’t even take a proper DA photo he has a crooked ass CIB and is still wearing MSG stripes as a Brigade OPS SGM!! In the future please do not comment on ranger standards when you can’t even uphold AR670-1 standards.

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      • October 29, 2015 at 7:06 am
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        John, all great points, but let me educate you alittle,

        1- AR670-1 does not cover DA Photos.

        2- yes, that CIB looks alittle crooked, was it because it was attached crooked or because there is a chest under there? IDK but good observation. it is too bad you did sit on the selection board because that photo got me promoted.

        3- i am guessing since you didnt cite the REG that covers DA Photo you may not know the standard…i am here to help you out.

        – being i was frocked out of the academy, it is not an official “promotion” so for all intensive purposes a person could be wearing SGM rank but still be “on paper” a MSG. NOW that i am promoted as my sequence number did come up….i have 60 days to update my photo. thank you you much for reminding me. i have 2.5 weeks to accomplish this.

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  • October 25, 2015 at 9:49 pm
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    They Deserve to be Rangers, thy did exactly the same Training as the Males! When will Unhappy Folks stop Turning everything into a Negative, to feel more important then the Two Woman who went to this very Hard Training, bet the complainers would not even have made it to finish Basic Training! Thank you for your Service Ladies and I for one am extemly proud of your Accomplishment!

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  • October 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm
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    As far as I’m concerned, if you earned it, you earned it. Sergeant Major Boley’s comments are the equivalent of the microphone drop and walk-off. Well done, Lieutenant Haver and Captain Griest.

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    • October 28, 2015 at 1:59 am
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      As a expirenced member of the socom community SGM Boley should know one of the golden rules of never accepting second source information. So I ask you when did you certify as a RI and how many walks have you been on as a grader since becoming SGM. If you have not certified as a walker and walked than you are simply sitting at brigade behind your cozy desk and coming up with this. IF YOU WANT TO BE THE EXAMPLE THAN LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

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    • October 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm
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      SGM Boley is a straight Sell out. I’m serving at the RTB now at 4TH and not once have I seen this senior NCO come out except for graduation and actually mentor or guide anyone…as far as I’m concerned he’s only interested in his bike gang. Additionally, I actually seen his racist remarks on Facebook when that female that works at BDE wore a Tan Beret…like she had a choice to wear it. Ironically 3 weeks later he was moved from regiment to ARTB.

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      • October 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm
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        More of the same….if you “saw” the alledged remark then by all means post proof…..and I find it ironic that if what you claim I said was about someone in BDE why would they put me there. Standing by for proof of your bold statement. I am guessing you will come back with “I don’t have it because the government covered it up” but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

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        • October 29, 2015 at 12:57 am
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          Why do you try and blur the lines with everything u say for example you put alleged arrest when talking to another person, and than you confirmed you where arrested on your next post. Also when did you certify as a Ranger Instructor and how many graded patrols have you done?? Funny how you won’t respond to that one.

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          • October 29, 2015 at 11:22 am
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            well Jimmy, i NEVER said i was certified as a Ranger Instructor and never claimed or stated anything WRT to patrols…so i am not really sure where you are going with this….

            on the other hand, i addressed all areas i had firsthand knowledge (see article) never anything referenced a patrol. i / we in BDE lean on the training and professionalism of the CERTIFIED Ranger instructor to ensure the student is receives the grade they deserved. so again not sure where you are going with that either…

            NOW to address your “alledged vs confirmed” if you go back and read my statement i clearly typed “I left allegedly for an arrest in Opelika” meaning that was what the command stated was the reason it would be best that i leave….and again not sure what that has to do with the subject at hand.

            if you have something to add to the conversation, please do. that is what this is here for.

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          • November 30, 2015 at 10:26 pm
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            I had the honor to serve under SGM Boley’s leadership and I’m telling you that if he said it happened then it happened. I actually remember him saying a few times how he didn’t like the idea of women in ranger school, so if he is saying that they made it I believe him. I followed him into a couple hundred missions and I will attest to the fact that he is an honorable man and there is no way in hell he would ever say something because someone else wanted him to. I honestly didn’t think women would make it through either, but if this Ranger says they did, then they did. I can attribute many late nights to the fact that he definitely does not let standards slide. Stop letting your predetermined bias cloud your mind from actually listing to reason. Maybe if you don’t believe him you should enlist and get involved in RTB so you can make sure yourself that standards are maintained. If you are one of those salty enlisted types and you disagree maybe you should have worked your way over to RTB and made a difference yourself. Point being, it is real easy to be critical over the internet especially because you were never in that position. Stop being a sideline critic and do something to fix it yourself. Until you have done that, you really have no right to judge anyone on the matter.

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