Female ranger screening in Hawaii builds stronger leaders

By Staff Sgt. Tramel S. Garrett, 25th Infantry DivisionDecember 4, 2014

Female Ranger Screening
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Female Ranger Screening
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Amanda Carrasco, 2nd Battalion, 27 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, crosses the finish line during the 25th Infantry Division Pre-Ranger Female Screening, in Hawaii. The ten-day assessment was intended to screen and select candidates ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Dec. 3, 2014) -- The air is thick and the heat unforgiving as a small group of female Soldiers cross the finish line during a 12-mile road march. This is not a typical road march. This is the final graded assignment of the first 12-day Pre-Ranger Female Screening hosted by the 25th Infantry Division's Lightning Academy/Jungle Operations Training Center.

"This ten-day assessment was intended to screen and select candidates for attendance at RTAC (Ranger Training Assessment Course), the Army's premier Pre-Ranger course located at Fort Benning, Georgia," said Capt. Thomas Dybicz, 25th ID Lightning Academy cadre.

The Army has searched far and wide for female Ranger candidates. According to an Army News Service article, interested female Soldiers had until October 2014, to apply for possible enrollment. A few in Hawaii accepted the challenge, and could possible pave the way for women in the future.

"It's a good challenge and definitely a good way for me to broaden my horizons, to learn more for my Soldiers," said 1st Lt. Sara Roger, fire support officer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "It will give them a better training experience."

Although the ultimate goal is attending a future Ranger Course, the standard remains the same for all students.

"They did the same events as the male course. We mirrored the classes at Fort Benning, so Soldiers have a good understanding on what it takes to pass these events," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Welch, Pre-Ranger instructor.

The course began with a physical fitness test, which included 49 pushups in two minutes, 59 sit-ups in two minutes, a five-mile run in 40 minutes and, to top if off, six pull-ups.

"My biggest challenge was doing a physically challenging event right after a physically challenging event," said Sgt. Brittany Bradford, military intelligence, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 21th Infantry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "It was like running a marathon, and then running it again the next day."

The physical activity did not stop after the fitness test; the group would have to complete a Combat Water Survival Assessment consisting of equipment removal and 49-foot swim in full combat gear.

Many of the candidates credit the course to improving their tactical skills and leadership capabilities.

"I see the potential of the leadership capabilities that I've learned in the past 10 days," explained Bradford, a native of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "This is worth it, and I hope they continue on with this, because this would be a great opportunity to integrate and improve leadership all around."

"I learned a lot about myself, and it has definitely made me a better leader," said Sgt. Amanda Carrasco, 2nd Battalion, 27 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. "I learned I could push myself harder, and a lot of it is just mental, and now I know I'm physically prepared."

The Soldiers worked together as a team to get through all of the obstacles and synchronized themselves in order to make this evaluation a success.

"You're not going to get through this class or Ranger school by yourself," said Welch, a Franklin, North Carolina native. "You will need help from your Ranger buddies. It not something you can do on your own, and that's part of the learning process."

Roger is waiting for the opportunity for a future Ranger course and had some advice for female Soldiers who want attend the course.

"I feel that they are Soldiers and if they feel that they perform as well as their counterparts to their left and right then by all means go for it," said Roger, a native of El Paso, Texas. "Don't let anyone ever hold you back."

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