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19 August 2015


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Let's not kid ourselves - the fix was in.

The Twisted Genius


I'm suspicious about why they were recycled twice, but I can't say the fix was definitely in. If they were medical/injury recycles, that is no evidence of a fix. I worked in the Ranger Department between IOAC and SFOC. Even back then, well defined standards were applied strictly and fairly, even under great pressure to ensure foreign students passed. The course is tough, but far from impossible for a woman to pass. I and many of my classmates passed with no prior preparation or coaching with only two weeks notice at the end of our IOBC.

Patrick Bahzad

Think it's a bit suspicious they were allowed to recycled TWICE.

Usually, picking up an injury twice during the same phase of a physical evaluation process is ground for dismissal as a potential candidate in most comparable courses. This could point to certain "structural" frailties that even the best conditioning cannot make up for.

Would you feel comfortable handing his airborne patch to someone who twisted or broke his ankle twice upon landing ?

Will Reks


Well said. I'm actually relieved as the novelty factor and mainstream media attention will be alleviated to some extent now that a couple of females have passed the course.

Will Reks


No, but its not uncommon for males to recycle a phase at Ranger School. I don't know that medical was the reason here. It seems they were given every opportunity to succeed.

no one

I wonder if the two women are still physically fit after completing the course. They may be suffering from joint and back issues that will have them on disability. Are they still good to go? Typically, women can't handle that kind of physical punishment as well as men. It's just physiology.

The Twisted Genius


When I went through, I remember there being a student that medically recycled at least three times if not four. A lot of these medical recycle decisions are made against the student's wishes. Many of them just want to gut it through and not have to go through that crap a second time. A friend in my SFOC course broke his tailbone on his first jump and just kept quiet about it. He made it through in serious pain. We could always tell when he landed in subsequent jumps by the blood curdling scream that would echo through the night air.

Having said that, I would still like to hear the deliberations about these particular recycles.

robt willmann

I heard on the radio yesterday a person saying that a time period was extended for the two women from 60 to 120 days, or something like that, but no detail was given. That might have been referring to "recycling" them back through in order to pass.

I am assuming that when it is said they were recycled twice, it means they went through the course three times: the initial time, and then they took it two more times. Or does it mean that they took the course twice? Or more than three times?

Is it a "course", as in one program, or is it made up of several separate courses, such that someone might go back and take a separate course more than once? It sounds as if it is made up of several parts.

Patrick Bahzad

Agree about carrying through with an injury. Know the feeling: stiff upper lipp and STFU rather than asking for medical exemption and recycling.
It's also an exercise in mental resilience, which in this case was clearly failed (should it be confirmed that it was a medical recycle in both cases).

Patrick Bahzad

Have to add, in all gender fairness, that a male student who gets recycled 3-4 times for medical reasons and still pulls through should not have been there in the first place.

The Twisted Genius

robt willmann,

These two were recycled in the Camp Darby phase at Fort Benning, the first of three phases. The second phase is at Camp Merrill in the Dahlonega Mountains and the third phase is at Camp Rudder at Eglin AFB in Florida. It is all one course with three phases.


William R. Cumming

NO RANGER HERE. IMO the Army short leadership but exactly how many Army Flag Ranks are Ranger tabbed?

The Twisted Genius


If one asks for medical recycle, that is the same as quitting and being dropped from the course. No one asks to be recycled, one can only accept a dictated recycle decision or voluntarily drop from the course.

The Twisted Genius


You make a good point here.

Patrick Bahzad

Sure thing, but sometimes, just asking to see a medic/doctor is basically the same as saying "please let me go home, and let me have another go".
You simply don't do that. You go for as long as you're not told to step out of the ranks.
Or were they given a recycle and had to start from scratch ? I suspect not.


no one

Good point, I was teaching at WhooPoo when the first women came in. A lot of them were badly injured by the normal stress of cadet life, especially things like running in boots on asphalt. It was found necessary to give the women a different PT/PE regime because the great majority were unable to do the male program. pl



In re army leaders w/ranger tabs - many. It is a leadership course not a tactical course except as a setting. pl

The Twisted Genius


An interesting question for which I don't have an answer. It's probably high among combat arms and especially Infantry general officers.


Forgive the intrusion into this discussion, but the SST RSS feed is broken with a parsing error.


Yes, there are those troubling biological physical differences between male and female. But as so often is the case, ideology ignores cold hard reality.

The Twisted Genius

no one,

They'll probably recover from this, but will feel the damage when they're in their 60s and beyond. But this is one reason why they should not be assigned to combat units. The lifestyle beats the shit out of your body and it will be worse for women.

David Habakkuk

Patrick Bahzad,

Slightly offtopic, but coming back to it.

A few days ago I came across a lecture in which Dominic Lieven set out some of the central theses of his 2010 study 'Russia Against Napoleon'.

(See http://russia-insider.com/en/history/superb-lecture-russias-defeat-napoleon/ri9245 )

He and his younger brother Anatol have an interesting background: Baltic German servants of the Tsars on the one side, Catholic Irish servants of the Raj on the other.

So, perhaps unsurprisingly, his study was a rebuttal of the 'nationalist' reading of the conflict between Alexander I and Napoleon by the Russian nobleman Tolstoy.

It was also, I thought, to the point in a whole range of respects. Among them, Lieven noted that the way to commit career suicide for a graduate student was to specialise in military history, and that this is bonkers. As with current politics, in understanding history the technical military dimension is commonly critical, and if you can't deal with the reasons why people won or lost battles, or expected to win or lose battles, you will get an awful lot wrong.

He also argued that Tolstoy's insistence on the unimportance of individuals was complete BS. One reason the Russians won was that they establish an intelligence superiority which was as a great, or greater, than that the British established over Nazi Germany in 1939-45 (my comparison, not his.)

Accordingly, Alexander and his advisors – both German and Russian – were able to turn Napoleon's enthusiasm for 'blitzkrieg' against him.

What was also of very great interest to me was his discussion of the problems involved in doing this. A key problem, according to Lieven, was that Russian armies were – as so many armies are – prepared by training and culture for the offensive. To make it possible for people so conditioned to retreat without breaking was a formidable problem, compounding the problems that retreating armies often break.

In explaining how this was overcome, Lieven stressed two elements. One was the immense moral courage of Barclay de Tolly, whom Tolstoy derides, but who is one of Lieven's – and my – great heroes. To stick by the defensive strategy, when people are accusing you of being not really loyal – Barclay was a Baltic German bourgeois, Scottish in ethnic origin, Lutheran in religion, German in culture – takes a different kind of guts from the willingness to go out and be shot (although he also displayed that, in full measure, at Borodino as elsewhere.)

But Lieven also talked about the way that an army composed of conscripts who had to serve for twenty-five years – if they lived that long – behaved. Such evidence as there is, he argued, suggests that, for the conscripts, the world that mattered was that of their regiments and their messes.

They actually had – by contrast to later Russian armies – very strong NCOs. And although Russian nationalism was an important factor, the cohesion of the regiments was critical in ensuring that Barclay's strategy could be implemented. They could take a lot of punishment without starting to run.

Curiously enough, this 'meshed' with something a former British 'squaddie' told me not long ago: that in the British Army, one fights for one's squad. (He clearly held the officers in contempt, and gave the impression that if he could have shot one or two of them and got away with it, he would happily have done so.)

As a person utterly devoid of military experience, I am not in a position to make an informed judgement about the pros and cons of having women in different military units. However, my uninformed hunch would be that the cohesiveness of such units has to do with forms of loyalty, even love, of a kind, between men. To introduce women into such situations without actually having an intelligent – which means non-PC – discussion of the how these forms of loyalty are liable to be affected seems to me bonkers.

Babak Makkinejad


It seems to me that Euro-Americans, like Muslims, have an un-healthy obsession with the status of women; which is almost a total opposite of theirs.

I wonder if Adam obsessed with treating Eve "Equally"?

Or did he spend his time cogitating on the finer nuances between "equality", "equity", and "complementarity"?

Babak Makkinejad

Patrick Bahzad:

Are French women - or their Feminist sisters - clamor to join FL?

Or the Commandos?

Do you know?

Or is this another Anglo-American thingy?



Bird COLs and SMAGs getting their hands held through the course was a thing even back in 2002. I doubt it's gotten better.

I'm sure on those peer reviews, there was definitely "guidance" given. Not directed at you, but some of the people going on about how "Ranger integrity" means that this 100% on the level have apparently been lobotmized to forget about CPL Pat Tillman.

I think it's a lot of sh-t, but seeing as how this country is barreling towards tyranny, probably the best thing for those of us that appreciate liberty is that the USG do everything it can to dilute the effacy of it's fighting forces in the name of social justice.

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