The military is looking for ‘hyperfit’ women who can pass its toughest physical and mental courses
| Fox News – Who are the “hyperfit” women of the military, capable of its most arduous physical and mental courses, and what makes them so competitive?
Army medical researchers have aimed to uncover answers in a just-launched voluntary study.
During early debate on the move to open all combat jobs to women, military leaders raised questions about whether women were up to the jobs or if putting them on the front lines would make units less capable.
The Marine Corps sought an exemption to keep some combat jobs closed for precisely that reason, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter overruled it.
More women successfully completing tough Army Ranger training
Women, however, have increasingly made it through the nine-week Army Ranger course, and the numbers of those trying out for other special operations jobs are slowly inching up.
The courses have encompassed a number of phases and have run from about nine weeks to a year or two for the most elite commando jobs.
They have involved a wide array of grueling physical fitness tests, combat water survival, day and night land navigation, long road marches carrying heavy packs, extended patrols through various climates and extensive mental, psychological and leadership testing.
In the nearly four years since the Pentagon announced it was opening all combat jobs to women, at least 30 have earned the Army Ranger tab, two have graduated Marine infantry school and three have passed the grueling initial assessment phase for Green Beret training.
“We’re really interested in those elite women that are the first to make it through physically demanding training,” said Holly McClung, a nutritional physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Massachusetts.
“The real point of the study is to characterize this unique cohort of women that has made it through these traditionally male trainings.”
1st female enlisted soldier to be an Army Ranger shares her story: ‘Failure’s not an option’
By: Ron Barnett, November 2, 2018
The Greenville (S.C.) News via AP – Amanda Kelley didn’t set out to become the first female enlisted soldier to pass the incredibly rigorous Army Ranger course.
For Staff Sgt. Kelley, that was just another step along the path toward her bigger goal — to become sergeant major of the Army.
Not a sergeant major in the Army. The sergeant major of the Army.
And purely by the coincidence of her gender, if it happens, she would be the first female to attain that office, the highest position enlisted personnel can hold.
But let’s back up a little bit.
Ranger School. Fort Benning, Georgia. A 62-day gauntlet-run that two out of three who try fail.
You don’t just get qualified to be a Ranger on a whim. Rangers have to be ready to embark upon dangerous special ops missions at a moment’s notice. These are the soldiers who go busting down doors with guns a-blazing deep in enemy territory, softening up the resistance for the regular troops.
I caught up with Kelley by phone from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, after plowing through about 14 layers of bureaucracy to track her down. She’s actually stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.
One thing I learned very quickly from her: The test you have to pass to become a Ranger is the same for everybody. (That included shaving her head, just like the guys).
“I have a lot of people ask me how does it feel as a female going through Ranger school? I don’t know, because I’m not a male. I can’t compare,” she said.
“But I can tell you what it’s like as a soldier going through. And honestly, it’s the same for male and female …” Read more.