The women, who were offered Day One Recycles, passed the Ranger Physical Assessment on Monday, said Col. William Butler, deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School.

A total of 364 students, including the three women, started training Monday, said Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, which runs Ranger School.

The three female and 273 male students met the standards of the Ranger Physical Assessment, Fivecoat said.

The famously punishing first four days of Ranger School are known as the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week.

It includes a physical fitness test consisting of 49 pushups, 59 sit-ups, a 5-mile run in under 40 minutes, and 6 chin-ups; a swim test; a land navigation test; and a 12-mile foot march in under 3 hours.

On average, about 45 percent of Ranger School students will graduate. As many as 60 percent of all Ranger School failures will occur during RAP week.

The three female soldiers are on their third attempt to make it through the two-month course.

The women were given the opportunity to start Ranger School all over after twice failing to pass the first phase of the school, also known as the Darby Phase. They did not have to repeat RAP week the first time they were recycled.

"They earned it," Fivecoat said last week. "The overall performance of the three … was very high. All three were close to making it through the Darby Phase. Let's not forget, they were given a Day One Recycle, which means they get a chance to start all over again, and that includes RAP week. That is a daunting task for anyone, male or female."

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.

Nineteen female and 381 male soldiers started Ranger School on April 20. Eight of them made it through RAP week.

None of the eight women made it past the Darby Phase on the first try and were recycled, along with 101 of their male classmates, on May 8.

After the second attempt at the Darby Phase, three female and two male students on May 29 were given the option of a Day One Recycle, which is a normal course procedure that's used when students struggle with one aspect of the course and excel at others, said officials at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The two male students declined to recycle, officials said.

The remaining five women returned to their units and were not recycled again. A total of 29 students were dropped from the course for failing to meet the standards of the Darby Phase.

These students did not meet the standard for a number of reasons, including leading patrols, poor peer evaluations, too many negative spot reports, or a combination of all three.

Ranger School students who make it through RAP week move on to the Darby Phase, which is fifteen days of intensive squad training and operations in a field environment at Fort Benning.

On average, more than 37 percent of Ranger School graduates recycle at least one phase of the school. 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.

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.

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