This Isn’t Just Your Father’s Ranger School Anymore

(Photo: Sgt. Sara Wakai/Army)

This Isn’t Just Your Father’s Ranger School Anymore (Someday It Might Be Your Mother’s)

The Ranger Tab, a mythical piece of military decoration. Anyone in the service seems to care just a little more about what the wearer has to say, as he is usually regarded as a stud of sorts (although we’ve all seen the tabbed Major who can’t run a mile anymore to save his life). Some privates will even swear they’ve seen a tabbed Specialist get away with telling off a non-tabbed NCO.

If you want one of your own, there’s only one place to get it- Ranger School

When your father went through Ranger School there was probably still a Desert Phase. When you went through, you probably did so with 400 or so other men. If you graduate with the newest class to receive the Ranger Tab, you’ll be standing along side the first women to graduate the school.

After months of widespread public criticism of the Army’s decision to open one of the military’s most prestigious leadership schools to females, two of the starting 17 have completed Darby, Mountain and Swamp Phase. Last year about 4,000 candidates showed up to Ft. Benning, Georgia to try and earn their tabs, with only about 40% succeeding.

The 61-day course is divided into three phases- Darby, Mountain and Swamp. Only about 10% of a Ranger class completes the course without being recycled. In this class (having begun in April) 360 students recycled at least once, including all 17 females.

So what does this mean for the military now that women have not only been admitted into Ranger School, but some have actually passed? Well, at the moment not much; while the school has been opened to women many military occupational specialties and positions still remained closed to females such as infantry, cavalry, service in the 75th Ranger Regiment and other SOF units. That said, let’s keep in mind that many women have already earned their CABs serving on FET teams, as helicopter and as combat medics, among other jobs.

So long as the women put through these military schools pass the same standards as everyone else, they’ve earned their tab. Some of us may not like it, and some of us may feel threatened by it but at the end of the day they went out and got it done, and that’s really what the military is all about. If you get up every day, put on your uniform and do your job (and do it well), you’re good with us, male or female.  

shop.pngAbout the author: Andrew Farquharson is an Iraq Campaign veteran and an ex-cavalry scout currently living the dream in Newport, Rhode Island as a college student. Aside from writing for 11Bravos his hobbies include mountain climbing, shooting guns and convincing women they should date him. Comments or hate mail can be sent to or, follow me on Instagram @Lord_Farquharson