GOP lawmaker questions test scores of female Army Rangers

A House Republican is investigating the test scores and supporting documentation for the two women who last month became the first female graduates of the Army's elite Ranger School.

Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), a Ranger graduate who served in Iraq, sent a letter to outgoing Army Secretary John McHugh last week asking for documents on the two graduates' test scores, injuries, evaluations and other materials, according to People magazine.


"The training of our combat warriors is paramount to our national defense," Russell wrote to McHugh, according to the magazine. "In order to ensure that the Army retains its ability to defend the nation, we must ensure that our readiness is not sacrificed."

A source on Capitol Hill told People that the lawmaker was concerned because "sources at Fort Benning are coming forward to say the Army lied about women in Ranger School, that the women got special treatment and played by different rules."

Ranger instructors who said they were told to keep silent reportedly gave Russell's office examples of ways in which the women received special treatment, such as carrying less weight than the men and not taking their turn carrying heavy weaponry, People reported. 

Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver, both 1st lieutenants, became the first women to successfully complete the grueling program when they graduated from the school Aug. 21. An Army representative insisted that the two completed the program on their on merit.

"There was no pressure from anyone to lower any standards — the standards remained the same and the Soldiers that graduated with their Ranger tabs on August 21, 2015 in Ranger Class 8-15 accomplished the very same demanding standards of Ranger School as previous classes," the Army's Lt. Col. Garrett wrote in a statement to People.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee honored the female Ranger School graduates last week, and a group of female senators introduced a resolution commending them.

The Army announced early this month that it would officially open up its Ranger School to all qualified candidates, a step toward  having women potentially serving in Ranger units. 

The Pentagon is preparing to open up all combat positions to women by Jan. 1, barring any specific exceptions requested by the services and approved by the Defense Department.