All eight female Ranger School students are being recycled and will not move forward this weekend to the mountain phase of the two-month course, officials from Fort Benning, Georgia, said.
The female soldiers, along with 101 male soldiers, will be recycled back into the Darby phase after failing to meet requirements, officials announced Friday. The next Darby phase begins Thursday at Fort Benning.
In all, 115 Ranger students, all of them male, successfully met the requirements to move forward to Dahlonega, Georgia, on Saturday for the beginning of mountain phase.
On average, more than 37 percent of Ranger School graduates recycle at least one phase of the school. The Darby recycle rate is about 15 percent.
The soldiers being recycled "failed to meet the standards of the Darby phase of Ranger School for a variety of reasons," said Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, which runs Ranger School. This could include patrols, peer evaluations, spot reports, or a combination of the three, he said.
"The vast majority, however, failed several opportunities as a squad leader or team leader to lead a patrol successfully," Fivecoat said.
All of the recycled students have been checked by medics to make sure they don't have serious injuries, he said.
These soldiers will return "having learned a great deal about themselves and small unit tactics, patrolling, leadership and team work," officials said in a statement. "No changes have been made to the deliberate evaluation process used to determine which students are dropped, recycled or allowed to move forward to the next phase."
"I had the opportunity to visit the Ranger students yesterday and was impressed that whether going forward to the mountains or recycling the Darby phase, they were motivated to continue training and focused on successfully completing the Ranger Course," said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, in a statement. "They're a strong group of soldiers who are working their way through the U.S. Army's most physically and mentally demanding course."
A total of 19 female and 381 male soldiers started Ranger School on April 20.
The women are part of a one-time, integrated assessment of the storied school. The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat-arms jobs to women, and it is a first for Ranger School, which until now has been open only to men.
At the end of RAP week, eight women and 184 men remained in the Ranger course.
RAP, which stands for Ranger Assessment Phase, spans the first four days of Ranger School. During this time, soldiers are evaluated in a series of punishing physical events, including a physical fitness test, a swim test and a land navigation test. Students also must complete a 12-mile foot march wearing a 35-pound rucksack in under three hours.
On average, about 45 percent of Ranger School students will graduate. As many as 60 percent of all Ranger School failures will occur in the first four days during of RAP week.
In fiscal 2014, PT test failures made up the largest number of Ranger School failures. About two-thirds of those who complete RAP week will eventually pass the Darby phase and move on to the mountain phase, according to data on the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade website.
Twenty women qualified to attend the integrated Ranger School assessment after successfully completing the Army National Guard Ranger Training Assessment Course.
To prepare for the April assessment, the Army required female candidates to attend the two-week RTAC, setting aside seats for female candidates in each iteration of the course between January and April.
RTAC has historically been a strong indicator of whether a candidate will be successful at Ranger School. Data has shown that more than half of the soldiers who complete RTAC will successfully complete Ranger School.
Women who successfully complete Ranger School will receive a certificate and be awarded the coveted Ranger tab. They will not, however, be assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, which is separate from Ranger School.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.