This Could Get Ugly: Not a Single Woman Passed the Ranger Course
Jun 4, 2015
RUSH: How about this headline from The Daily Caller: “Not a Single Woman Passed the Ranger Course.” Yeah, this is gonna be a problem. “The Army stated Friday that not even one woman passed the requirements for the next phase of Ranger School. This means that out of the total of eight women left in the grueling, two-month long course at Fort Benning, Georgia, five are set to drop out, USA Today reports.
“The remaining three will have the opportunity to repeat from the beginning near the end of June.” They’ll be able to do over, start again. “Nineteen women were brought in to Ranger School for the first time as part of a Pentagon effort to integrate women into all combat roles. During the first phase, 11 failed. All were offered another attempt.”
They kept failing.
Not one woman has passed the Ranger course.
This could get ugly.
RUSH: “The Army stated Friday that not even one woman passed the requirements for the next phase of Ranger School.” Rangers… Most of you probably know. For some of you who do not know, Rangers are Special Forces. You’ve got Rangers, you’ve got the Navy SEALs, you’ve got Delta Force, and probably a bunch that we don’t know about. It was the Rangers, by the way, that rappelled up Pointe du Hoc on D-Day at Omaha Beach, just down from Omaha Beach.
But it was the Rangers that climbed practically straight up 200 feet while the Germans were shooting straight down on ’em, and it was a stronghold that had to be taken if the D-Day invasion was going to have any chance at success. It could not be reached by paratroopers, and they couldn’t take the Germans out from the sea — the English Channel — or even on the beach. It had to be hand-to-hand combat.
They had to take over those encampments up there, and the Rangers just kept coming. It was one of the… Well, I’ll tell you, Reagan delivered one of his greatest speeches ever at the 40th anniversary of D-Day right there at the top of Pointe du Hoc, with the surviving Rangers, the Rangers that were still alive who had participated in the invasion. If the speech had a title, it would be called, “These are the Boys of Pointe du Hoc.” I had to see it. So Kathryn and I, a couple of D-Day anniversaries ago…
It was June a couple years ago that we made a day trip up to Normandy and specifically Pointe du Hoc. I had been there a previous time and I was unable for some reason find Pointe du Hoc. I was intent on getting back there, and it was unbelievable. When you look from the German vantage point down, the cliffs are straight up, and here came the Army Rangers. You can’t… You’re standing there, and you try to turn back the hands of time and imagine yourself in the middle of that, and I couldn’t.
I got close. But that’s who the Army Rangers are, and they do a lot more than that, obviously. Ranger school is tough, like all Special Forces school is tough. SEAL training is… It’s all next to impossible, but for a really small number of people. Now, the pressure is on since no women passed the Ranger course, to lower the standards. We’ve done it in police departments all over the country. We’ve done it in fire departments all over the country, and we have done it in certain areas of the Armed Forces.
But one area of the Armed Forces we have not relaxed the standards is Special Forces. SEALs, the Rangers, Delta. I mean, there are some people even today that won’t even acknowledge Delta exists. But it’s right there if you know where to look at Fort Bragg. I have seen it. I’ve been to Ranger school. I was there one afternoon. Sergeant Major Ivanov gave me my tour. It was a day in June, and it was hot and muggy, and I asked a bunch of stupid questions of Sergeant Major Ivanov.
Well, they were stupid simply because they were entirely uninformed and naive. I had to ask them. I had questions I didn’t know the answers to. It turns out that Sergeant Major Ivanov had participated in the liberation of an enemy installation in El Salvador or Ecuador some months previous. It had not happened that far ago. It was fairly recent, and the action that the Special Forces group took whatever it was… I’m going back now to the early nineties, maybe even late eighties.
Whatever it was was highly controversial, and the Army, the military was really getting hit in the Drive-By Media. The reasons escape me, but there were specific reasons as well as just the generic reasons why the media would be critical of the military. I remember asking… I did not know that Sergeant Major Ivanov had been part of the Ranger force that had liberated — or the Special Forces force that had liberated — whatever it was that had liberated — El Salvador.
I’m having trouble remembering what the specific media criticism was and what the event was but I remember asking him a question and I wish I could remember it, ’cause he looked at me and his eyes flared and then he grabbed me by the sleeve. He said, “Follow me.” We stormed out of his tent or his command post and we took a little stroll to where a bunch of soldiers were eating lunch, and some of them were taking a knee next to a tree. He said, “I want you to go up and ask any of those soldiers, right now, why they’re here. You go ask ’em.”
I said, “Sergeant Major, I’ve just… You know, I’m on your side here. The media is hitting you guys, and I thought what they said about you was really unfair…” He said, “You go ask ’em! You ask ’em right now.” This was a tour. The Army was giving me a tour of the place. “You ask them why are they here.” So I dutifully obeyed the command, and I found this strapping, handsome young guy of 19 or 20 who was just worn out. It was midday. He was just worn out, eating a little bit of lunch under the shade of a tree.
Sergeant Major Ivanov is not standing by my side. He’s off to the side. I said, “I have been ordered to ask you why you are here.” I later found out these guys thought I was some senator from Washington being escorted around, and this guy (and everybody I asked that day, by the way) said, “I’m here because this is where you come in the US military to be the best you can be.” It was Ranger school. He said, “This is where you come to be the best you can be, and I want to find out if I have what it takes.”
So I asked five or six of ’em on orders from Sergeant Major Ivanov, and they all said roughly the same thing, and we went back to his command, and he said, “See? See?” I said, “Sergeant Major…” I really wish could remember the question, folks, that I asked him. He took it the wrong way, and later the press liaison took me aside. He said, “Look, you gotta understand: The Sergeant Major Ivanov was part of that operation El Salvador.” I said, “Oh, okay. So he might have taken my question as personal criticism.”
“It’s possible, but I don’t think so,” said the liaison. Anyway, I asked Sergeant Major Ivanov, “These guys are eating lunch. How many calories a day do you feed these guys?” He said, “They have minimum 6,000 calories a day. They couldn’t get through the day if they didn’t eat that much.” That’s how gruelling it is. I said, “You know, it’s really, really stiflingly hot and humid. Do you guys ever delay training until it gets cooler?” That really ticked him off.
“What do you mean, delay training? Have you ever heard of a war being delayed because it’s hot?” I really didn’t stand much of a chance with Sergeant Major Ivanov (chuckling), because he was committed. I’ve since run into him a couple of times since then. He’s a great guy. But I’m telling you, it was an eye opening thing, and when I saw this story, I was reminded of all the areas in our culture where we have relaxed standards so that minorities of any category can have a shot at it, an affirmative action-type shot at it.
One of the commanding officers in charge of Ranger school has openly said, “I’m actually fairly adamant about not changing the physical standards.” General Raymond Oderno “lauded the women in the course,” but he said they are “not changing the physical standards.” They are not gonna lessen them. They are not gonna make it easier to be certified in Ranger school, which is gonna be met with some controversy. Now, over at the Navy and the SEAL program, it looks like it may differ, because Oderno’s “view isn’t consistent throughout the military.
“Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is hoping to aggressively boost recruitment of women into the service. Mabus said he’ll reevaluate training standards once women enter the SEAL pipeline,” because he wants female SEALs. He wants women in the SEALs program, and he’s intimated here that he will lower the standards, the requirements, in order to get some women into the program. “At a recent speech, Mabus revealed several reforms to increase the recruitment of women up to 25% of the force, including changing physical fitness standards and the way body fat is measured. Only about 3% of the Army is capable of qualifying as a Ranger.”
That’s before they go to the school. Only three percent. By the way, if you want to be a Ranger — I learned this from Sergeant Major Ivanov — just because you want to doesn’t mean you automatically get a shot. I mean, you have to have a baseline of qualifications before you even are allowed to try to attempt to pass the Ranger school. “Only about 3 percent of the Army is capable of qualifying as a Ranger. Other Rangers think the military should lower standards to accommodate women because itÂ’s ‘equitable and sensible.'”
But that’s not a dominant view yet. And one of the reasons so many of us still really cherish and are devoted to the military is precisely because their standards do matter, and they are not arbitrarily lowering the requirements for excellence and superiority simply to fit the social mores of the day. But the pressure is on.
Now, with this story, not a single woman passed the Ranger course, in a lot of places, particularly the Drive-By Media, the Democrat Party, it’s gonna be unacceptable. It’s gonna be a great example of discrimination that must not stand. I can hear it now. “Who are they to say, who are they to say that a woman can’t be a Ranger? I know women that, if they put their mind to it, could anything they wanted to, who are they to say?”
It’s gonna start like that. As it has in every police department, every fire department, and any number of other places. The strength requirements have been lessened, the physical performance standards — well, they’ve had to be. Men and women are different. There was no way that women were gonna be qualified in certain departments unless they did change the standards. And it’s not a criticism of women; it’s acknowledgement men and women are different in a host of ways. I mean, Caitlyn Jenner might be able to pass Ranger school, but I don’t know — well, Nancy Grace says that Caitlyn Jenner may not be a woman yet.
RUSH: Here’s Dave in Raleigh, North Carolina. Glad you waited, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, thanks for taking my call. You’re a great American.
RUSH: I appreciate your call, sir.
CALLER: And my compliments to Mr. Snerdley, or should I say Staff Sergeant Snerdley.
RUSH: Staff Sergeant Snerdley. Whatever.
CALLER: Hey, in reference your topic regarding women and the Rangers. I’m a former United States Marine Corps officer, Rush, and I’ve gotta tell you the same issue is confronting the United States Marine Corps with IOC, which is the Infantry Officer Course.
CALLER: They’re trying to run the females through, and they just can’t make it, and, you know, there’s a lot of men that can’t make this course as well. It’s very rigorous. It’s essentially hazing. It’s very intense. It’s designed to weed people out. So I’ve got to say, then, unless standards are dramatically relaxed or reduced, I just don’t see how the females are gonna make it.
RUSH: Okay, I need to go back to something you said earlier because you chose terminology that while I’m sure you didn’t mean it in a provocative way, it’s going to be taken that way. You said, “And obviously the women can’t take it.” What does that mean? Before you even described it as hazing you said and obviously women can’t take it. What does that mean?
CALLER: Well, what I meant to say was it’s not only the women, but the men, a lot of the men can’t take it as well. So it’s a very rigorous curriculum. It’s essentially hazing. It’s designed to weed out the average and the weak from the strong.
RUSH: Would you go so far as to say that if it happened on Main Street on a Saturday night some of it might be criminal, the way people are treated?
CALLER: I would say it could, in today’s — Rush, absolutely.
RUSH: I mean, hazing is a good way to describe it. You know, Dave, I’m not sure how many people know. We don’t get to see movies on what SEAL training is or Delta or Ranger school. We think we know what it is, and there are some, you know, allusions to it, but I think in our culture today if the wrong civil rights, human rights groups saw some of the training, they’d try to shut it down as cruel and inhumane.
CALLER: Well, and Rush, that’s why I waited one hour and four minutes, because I’m compelled to discuss this topic with you, but it’s necessary. It’s necessary to separate the weak from the chow, and that’s why we have the high standards currently in the Marine Corps and the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
RUSH: Right. No, I understand. I get it. What goes on at these schools, it’s such a stark contrast to now even the toughest aspects of American culture generically. You let the wrong people find out specifically what’s happening in some of this training, and I guarantee you that the hand wringers out there would be trying to shut it down as cruel and inhumane. I mean, tell me this, Dave. Is waterboard exposure and training part of the process?
CALLER: Waterboarding I’ve never experienced, but I know it’s part of the SERE training, which is Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape.
CALLER: Which is something all the air crews go through.
RUSH: Right. So we subject our recruits to waterboarding, the same thing a bunch of left-wing lawyers are trying to shut down Guantanamo Bay over. Yeah, he said that obviously the women can’t take it, which is a provocative thing to say, but he didn’t follow it up. Most men can’t either. Not even come close. That’s how unique these people are today. I mean, the people that go through Ranger school and complete it and Delta and the SEALs, they really are the closest thing we have to super men in this country.
I mean, look at Pat Tillman, who played for the Arizona Cardinals. 9/11 happens and he wants to go to Ranger school. And everybody thought, “Well, he’s gonna be a lock, I mean, football, I mean, that’s training like you can’t believe, that’s toughness,” and it is. But he was not a lock. Now, he made it, obviously, and, sadly, was killed in a friendly fire incident. But it’s really rigorous, and to hear the Navy secretary talk about relaxing standards so that he could up the percentage of female recruits in the Navy, but specifically the SEAL program, that’s not good, just on the surface. Anyway, Dave I appreciate the call very much.
RUSH: Sally in Maryland. I’m glad you waited. Great to have you here. Hi.
CALLER: Thank you for letting me join your program.
RUSH: Yeah. You bet. Of course.
CALLER: I am a very proud parent of one of the women that tried out for the Ranger class.
RUSH: A-ha! Excellent.
CALLER: (giggles) Now, there are 160 women that were accepted to try out, and what that means is that they have a pretraining, a two-week pretraining, and you have to pass that pretraining before you can walk on to the actual Ranger class. Of the 160, 19 made it.
RUSH: Made it to qualify for training?
CALLER: That’s true, to walk on to the Ranger class.
RUSH: To the Ranger school. Okay.
RUSH: And then what happened? Was your daughter one of them?
CALLER: She was not. Now, she tried twice. She tried to go through twice. These girls do not want to have the standards changed.
RUSH: Now, that I believe. I totally believe that. They want to make it as is, correct?
CALLER: Correct. They are athletic, they are patriotic, and, boy, are they determined.
RUSH: So is there a reason, a specific reason that you can explain to people why the women that didn’t make it didn’t make it? How grueling it is? What? What were the stumbling blocks?
CALLER: The stumbling block was that this is a beta class, and the women that were chosen, as you explained before, had to go through a rigorous application process. They were not given a lot of notice prior to trying out for the Ranger class. It’s not the fault of the Army. It’s just because it’s the beta class. Most of the men have at least a year’s advanced notice that they’re gonna try out.
RUSH: When you say beta, you mean this was the first women’s class that was given access to the school?
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: Right. Okay.
CALLER: So they didn’t have a lot of time to prepare themselves for the standards, unlike the men, who would have had many more months to get themselves ready.
RUSH: So does that mean that like your daughter, for example, may not have known everything she needed to know simply because she didn’t have time to learn it?
CALLER: I think it’s more that you’ve gotta get yourself physically ready.
RUSH: Why did she want to do this?
CALLER: (laughs) The same thing reason that the men want to do it!
RUSH: Well, now, the men that I had a chance to do it said they wanted to do it… They are already in the Army. They are already serving in different branch. “This is where you go to become the best you can be in the Army,” they said to me.
CALLER: Well, the girls are no different.
RUSH: So is your daughter military?
CALLER: Yes, she is. She’s in the Army.
RUSH: And so she just…? She wants the pinnacle?
CALLER: She does.
RUSH: How did she deal with not making it?
CALLER: Initially it was difficult, but she’s determined, she’s athletic, and she’s gonna try again.
RUSH: And does not want the standards lowered. Did she tell you what the hardest thing was, or did she even talk about it that way? I’m trying to understand what it is. I know it’s two months. I know it’s grueling. I know very few specifics, though.
CALLER: They have to pass a very rigorous test, athletic test, before they can walk in. They’re very demanding on having those push-ups be perfect, those pull-ups be perfect, sit-ups exactly to the standards that they want. I don’t think that a lot of these girls understood those particular standards.
RUSH: Now, that’s interesting. Why?
CALLER: I can’t answer that.
RUSH: Hmm. That is interesting, ’cause you’re not saying… I know you’re not saying the women expected to be able to get by with just doing the number. Not the specific, exact technique, just the number. I mean, they had to know that the standards are really high here.
CALLER: They did, but I don’t think that there was good information before she walked in as to exactly how they wanted her to do a pull-up. Your legs cannot swing. It has to be dead. It has to be a dead pull-up. She didn’t know that.
RUSH: Dead, vertical, straight pull-ups.
CALLER: Simple things, right? (chuckles)
RUSH: Now, I don’t know why, but that’s interesting. I wonder if there’s just societal conditioning, places that she’d been before. Anyway, I’m glad you called. This stuff is fascinating to me, and I’m really glad that you’re in the audience and got through today. I appreciate it, Sally. We’ve gotta go, though. We’re out of precious, busy broadcast time. Back in just a second.