On Tuesday the Ranger Training Brigade on Ft. Benning held an informal ceremony and party to thank and say goodbye to all the female Observers and Advisors that have been there since November 2014. Each O/A was given a plaque and a piece of pink Ranger tab cake.
The purpose of the O/As was to ensure that female Ranger students were provided a fair and equitable experience during Ranger training. The RTB reported that eighteen females were originally selected to be O/As. How these O/As were selected and prepared for this role is not widely known, but would be interesting to know, given that none of them, of course, had Ranger tabs. Over $1 million was spent by the Army on their TDY.
The striking thing about this photo is the pink icing, which was a bad idea, given all the controversy surrounding this issue of female Rangers. It is amazing that given all the people who must have been in the loop on this ceremony, officers and NCOs, that someone did not say, “Hold on. Pink icing? Are you nuts?”
Pink icing, or pink anything, simply stokes the fires of those who decry the feminization of the Ranger Regiment, and of the U.S. military in general. So, pink, even pink cake icing, especially in such a ceremony, should be, and should have been, avoided. One should be able to assume that any U.S. Army officer or NCO would be able to figure that out on their own.
Incidentally, the woman on the right in the photo, who appears to be the off-duty bearer of the cake, is an Army captain.
This photo, especially the cake, implies a level of flippancy, even ignorance, of the current Ranger School situation, that is troubling to say the least. Either the female O/A’s were not briefed on being mindful of there actions or they did not understand those instructions. Another possibility is that some think that, now that two women have Ranger tabs, the battle is won, the issue is behind us, and there is no longer any reason to be prudent in their actions.