When I went through Ranger school, I went down for heat stroke once (and would have been kicked out if the RI had been able to find a thermometer to stick up my ass), had my hands swell so badly that the skin split, developed cellulitis, had flies drink from the open sores on any exposed skin, and got poison ivy so bad that my uniform became crusted and stuck to my raw skin.
And I was one of the lucky "just over half" of all Rangers who left Ranger school with a tab, and 60 percent of those of us lucky enough to earn it had to take a recycle to do so. A lot of folks have pointed to the 60 percent "go" rate for women attending Sapper school as proof and justification that women are only being held back by our sexist policies. I'm happy for them, but still after a decade of Sapper School throwing out Sapper Tab wearing females, the number has finally pushed over the 50 person mark.
Here on my blog I can say what I think, and I think that the Washington Times got it right. The following quote from here http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/30/army-may-train-women-for-rigor-of-front-lines/?page=all Seems to sum it all up pretty succinctly.
In tests of aerobic capacity, the records show, only 74 of 8,385 ROTC women attained the level of the lowest 16 percent of men.There are women out there who would be exceptional Infantry leaders if given the opportunity. There just aren't enough of them to make a difference, and opening the ranks to allow them in would let in a lot people we really don't want in the Infantry.
“No training system can close this gap,” he said. “The reason men and women cannot truly be trained together is not a matter of attitude. It is physical.
And the real kicker is that there will always be a huge need for smart people, male and female, to do the in depth analysis and staff work that make the Infantry successful on the battlefield. When I was an NCO I truly thought that NCOs were the backbone of the Army, and it is true that when you need to transition from plan to action the role of the NCO is utterly critical. But if you want a better plan, make your smart people planners.
Now Army Infantry Officer Basic Course (or Infantry Basic Officer Leader's Course depending on which acronym you care to use) is not particularly strenuous for men, and it isn't a hard course to pass. In fact I dare say that the basic branch training SHOULD be opened to female officers for their professional development if they desire (that way if they HAD to lead troops in combat they could have the same confidence in their training that their male counterparts enjoy). But at the end of the day, it stands to reason that there just aren't enough women to justify the pain on everyone to open up the combat arms to female Soldiers.