Preparations are already underway for the integrated Ranger School class in April, and officials are looking at everything from accommodations to personal hygiene.
The Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade has updated its packing list for students, said Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the brigade, which runs Ranger School.
"We had to add bras to the packing list," he said. "Those are the gender-specific things we're working through."
This is a first for the storied Ranger School, which until now has been open only to men.
The packing list updated Monday contains several items female students must bring with them, on top of the standard items such as uniforms, ear plugs and eye protection.
They include feminine wipes, sports bras, cotton underwear, pads or tampons, and a female urinary diversion device, or FUDD. With use of a FUDD, a female soldier in the field can urinate more discreetly while standing, and also with minimal undressing.
The packing list also advises female students who use birth control to start the regimen at least 90 days before training begins.
In addition, many of the barracks used by Ranger School students are old and have only one latrine, so changes have to be made to accommodate both male and female soldiers.
"We have to separate the sexes by time for when they use the showers or latrines," Fivecoat said.
The brigade also is relying on soldiers such as Sgt. 1st Class Tiffany Easter, who was selected to serve as an observer/adviser during the assessment.
After a tough week of training last fall, the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade chose 31 women — 20 noncommissioned officers and 11 officers — to serve as observer/advisers. Due to natural attrition, there are now 25 observer/advisers — 17 NCOs and eight officers.
These soldiers will work alongside the Ranger instructors and serve as extra eyes and ears and as a sounding board for the all-male cadre. The women will not evaluate or grade Ranger School students.
Easter, a military police soldier from Fort Stewart, Georgia, previously served on a cultural support team supporting special operations troops in Afghanistan.
"I've worked with Rangers before, and I just felt that, at this point, I would serve better as an O/A and use my experiences," Easter said.
The observer/advisers are tasked with giving the all-male Ranger School cadre feedback, Easter said.
"Some of the issues could be just a lot of the Ranger instructors have never worked with females before, so they're not sure how to handle certain issues, like personal hygiene issues," she said. "Or just the treatment of them, to ensure they treat them the same as a male student."