The Pentagon v. People Magazine on Female Army Rangers

People Magazine claims women were helped through their training and tests; the Pentagon says that is fiction.

We’ve written about the army rangers and women before on this blog, and I suspect we will be doing so again.

People Magazine has claimed, “Was It Fixed? Army General Told Subordinates: ‘A Woman Will Graduate Ranger School,’ Sources Say.”

Way back in January, long before the first women attended the Army’s elite Ranger School – one of the most grueling military courses in the world – officials at the highest levels of the Army had already decided failure was not an option, sources tell PEOPLE.

“A woman will graduate Ranger School,” a general told shocked subordinates this year while preparing for the first females to attend a “gender integrated assessment” of the grueling combat leadership course starting April 20, sources tell PEOPLE. “At least one will get through.”

That directive set the tone for what was to follow, sources say.

“It had a ripple effect” at Fort Benning, where Ranger School is based, says a source with knowledge of events at the sprawling Georgia Army post. “Even though this was supposed to be just an assessment, everyone knew. The results were planned in advance.” 

The People Magazine article goes on claiming that “multiple sources” described women being permitted to go through tests as many times as they needed to do so to pass (whereas, men were disqualified if they failed the test). These and other special favors helped two women “make it” into the Army Rangers.

The Pentagon, however, says that the claims reported by People Magazine are “pure fiction.” As the Leger-Enquirer reports,

In a release sent late Friday, Brig. Gen. Malcolm B. Frost, Chief of Public Affairs for the U.S. Army, called into question the article and reporter, Susan Keating.

“The latest attack on the integrity of the United States Army by People magazine’s Susan Keating is more than inaccurate, it is pure fiction,” Frost wrote. “Ms. Keating continues to question the tremendous achievement of the first two women to pass the Army’s elite Ranger School. In her latest article, she makes a number of very serious allegations, which are flat out wrong.”

The most serious of the claims in the article is that women were allowed to repeat a Ranger training class until they passed, while men were held to a strict pass/fail standard.

“That is false,” Frost wrote.

So that is where we are stuck. We have anonymous sources versus the Pentagon’s Public Affairs office. Hopefully, at some point, the truth of the matter can be confirmed by multiple witnesses.