An Oklahoma congressman and combat veteran has demanded that the Secretary of the Army produce paperwork documenting the performance of the women who recently graduated Ranger School.
Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., a retired Army lieutenant colonel with deep roots in the infantry and Fort Benning, sent the letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Sept. 15, and the Ledger-Enquirer obtained it late Tuesday from Russell’s office.
Among the documents he requested are patrol grade sheets, spot reports, phase evaluation reports and sick call reports “with Ranger Instructors’ comments for each and every phase to include every recycled phase and class.”
He also requested peer evaluations and “a complete breakdown of each female candidate’s recycle history and dates for each phase.”
The request from Russell comes nearly four weeks after Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver became the first women to graduate from the Army’s most demanding combat training school, which was established in 1951.
A third female soldier is currently in the final phase in Florida and could graduate next month.
Russell, an infantry battalion commander, was chief of tactics at U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning in 2005 and retired a year later. He is Ranger qualified.
“Our office recently received information from some people with the Ranger School who alleged they were not held to the same standards,” Daniel Susskind, Russell’s communications director, said late Tuesday. “We asked for the records to make sure that all of the people who passed the course deserved to pass it.”
Susskind said Russell was asking for information for all of the students, not just the women. But the letter to McHugh specifically asks for information on “the female graduates and those female candidates that entered Ranger School May 1.” The class in question started April 19 with 19 female candidates.
Throughout the entire process, Army officials — including Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning; Col. David G. Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade; and Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Arnold of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade — have maintained the standards were not lowered.