Late last week, it appeared that the Army had lowered the standard for the 12-mile foot march in the first co-ed class of Ranger School.

Army officials from Fort Benning, Ga., put out a statement that eight female candidates had competed the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week, which included a 12-mile march with a 35-pound rucksack, rifle and fighting load carrier vest. did a story last November from an interview with Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Benning, that Ranger students had to carry a ruck weighing approximately 43 pounds on the march which has to be completed in under three hours.

I noticed the eight-pound discrepancy and so did a reader, who emailed me about it.

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"U.S. Army Soldiers participate in close arm combatives during the Ranger Course on Ft. Benning, GA., April 20, 2015. Soldiers attend Ranger school to learn additional leadership and small unit technical and tactical skills in a physically and mentally demanding, combat stimulated environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nikayla Shodeen/Released Pending Review)"

U.S. Army officials announced today that eight out of 16 female soldiers who started the first co-ed class of Ranger School have made it through the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week.

Only 57 more days to go. Check out the story here.

Whether you like this effort or not, these females deserve a lot of credit for taking on this challenge. There are a whole lot of people out there who want to see them fail. They may not make it, but at least they have had the guts to try.

The Army released a video of the first week. Check out it.



U.S. Army testers recently evaluated a new type of hand grenade that allows soldiers to connect up to three sections of explosive for a more powerful blast.

The Scalable Offensive Hand Grenade offers conventional soldiers a new capability. Unlike the standard fragmentation grenade, this design offers mainly a blast effect that can be doubled or tripled to suit the job. It has also been fielded to U.S. Special Operations Command since 2010.

Army officials tested it during a recent live-fire portion of the service’s annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.

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The U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group has worked out a way to calibrate a standard-issue, infrared illuminator/laser aiming device to 091026-A-3108M-004help combat troops effectively track and shoot sprinting enemy forces at night more effectively than ever before. ran a story today that looks at the AWG’s effort to develop a training designed to help soldiers, Marines and Special Operations Forces become more efficient at engaging moving targets, both in the day and at night.

Part of the effort involves a new style of robotic targets, made by the Australian-based firm, Marathon Targets. The four-wheeled targets are topped with life-like mannequins and move at speeds of more than eight miles per hour. They can be programmed to change directions quickly and move for cover like many of the enemy seen in Afghanistan.

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The Army and Marine Corps want to make rifle qualifications and marksmanship training more realistic.

This is a subject that associate editor Matthew Cox has covered for us in the past. In fact, Cox was at last month’s moving targets demonstration that the Marine Corps hosted at Quantico Marine Base, Va.

Above is a video that was party shot from that demonstration. It also has a few of the key players on the Marine side talking about the importance of the project and where it is going. [click to continue…]



The U.S. Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga., will showcase its latest individual and squad kit later this month during an open house at the McKenna Military Operations in Urban Terrain training area.

The Sept. 24 event will feature the Man Portable Line Charge. The MPLC is a lightweight; portable; rocket launched explosive line mplc charge which can be employed in 30 seconds.

The system is designed to assist small tactical units in conducting clearing operations in urban terrain and complex, mined or trip-wired environments. This technology is very similar to the tracked vehicle or towed trailer version which is used to provide minefield clearing capabilities for larger maneuver forces, according to a Benning press release.

The open house, hosted by the Maneuver Battle Lab, will also feature the following technologies:

— Lightweight Small Arms Technology — Cased Telescoped Lightweight Machine Gun
— Individual Assault Munitions
— Squad Common Optic
— XM210 IR Hand Held Signal Parachute Flare
— XM MK3A3 Concussion Grenade
— Pen Flare
— Small Arms Signature Reduction/Flash Suppressor
— Modular Universal Battery Charger
— M4A1 Carbine



Congress has directed the Pentagon to look into fielding female-specific kit ranging from rucksacks to body armor to field urination devices.

Lawmakers are concerned that the services haven’t done enough to ensure that individual combat equipment is designed to fit the female body properly despite the increased role women have played in dismounted ground combat over the past decade.

The increased interest in this issue comes on the heels of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision in January to lift the ban prohibiting women from serving in combat arms units such as infantry and Special Forces.

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