Ex-Army instructor joins critics of female Ranger training

A former Army Ranger instructor said on Tuesday that he has been in contact with the office of an Oklahoma congressman who is questioning if the women who passed Ranger School last month got special treatment.

Michael “Bubba” Moore, who has declined to say where he lives, said he talked to an aide in the office of Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., about two weeks ago and put the office in contact with people “on the ground” in the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning.

“I don’t have an agenda. I don’t have a goal. I don’t have an instinct except for I want the facts to be out there,” Moore said during a telephone interview. “... Don’t tell me that you didn’t set these chicks up for success. I don’t care if you set them up for success, but you didn’t do it for a lot of dudes.”

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer from Connecticut, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an attack helicopter pilot from Texas, became the first two women to complete the Army’s most demanding combat leadership course on Aug. 21.

Russell, a Ranger-qualified retired Army lieutenant colonel with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh on Sept. 15, requesting patrol grade sheets, spot reports, phase evaluation reports and sick call reports, all “with Ranger Instructors’ comments for each and every phase to include every recycled phase and class.”

Russell also requested peer evaluations and “a complete breakdown of each female candidate’s recycle history and dates for each phase.”

Russell’s office declined to comment until the Army has provided the records requested and those are evaluated, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Moore said he has not talked to the congressman.

“He’s on his path, which is different from mine,” Moore said. “I am on my own little tangent. I only know what I know are the facts.”

Moore said he has talked to “Cody” in Russell’s office. In his letter to McHugh, Russell said the secretary could contact him or Cody Hoefer, who is listed as a defense and military policy adviser to the congressman. Hoefer served with Russell in Iraq in 2003 when Russell was commander of the 4th Infantry Division’s 22nd Infantry Regiment.

The key leaders with oversight of Ranger School — Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence; Col David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade; and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Arnold — have maintained throughout the process that no standards were lowered to allow women to pass.

A number of Ranger instructors at the brigade’s battalions at Fort Benning and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida have also insisted no favors were given to the female soldiers. Students who passed the course with Griest and Haver and met the media the day before graduation said the women did the same things the men in the class did.

One of Moore’s criticisms of the school was that three women — Griest, Haver and one who is still in the school — were offered the chance to start the course over after twice failing the first patrol phase at Camp Darby on Fort Benning. The Army has termed it a “Day 1 recycle.”

“Historically, giving Day 1 recycles is so rare it is like the second coming of Jesus,” Moore said.

Army officials have denied this throughout the summer and pointed out that two men were given the same offer on May 29 and declined.

“If you fail it twice for patrols, that means you are an idiot,” Moore said. “You are not getting it. Why would I take this idiot and put them with 15 other dudes and go, ‘Hey, maybe we should do this?’ What do you know? You failed twice before. You are not setting the Ranger student up for success.”

Moore, 47, retired last year after 21 years of military service, nearly 17 of those at Fort Benning. He was in the 75th Ranger Regiment when he completed Ranger School in August 1991. Moore spent about eight years in the regiment before becoming a Ranger instructor at the 4th Ranger Training Battalion at Fort Benning. He left the Army and came back in “2003 or 2004” with the National Guard’s pre-Ranger training program.

Moore, who said he served one combat tour in Iraq, has been a vocal critic of women in Ranger School since the process that led to 19 women entering the school on April 19.

“It is compromised,” Moore said.

The congressman is also on the record as being against women in the school. He was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article that published the day the women graduated from Ranger School, saying that women often lacked the strength and agility to fight and survive in harsh conditions.

“I’m opposed to lowering the fitness standards for women just to score political points,” Russell told the newspaper. “There are some things they simply cannot do. I know I run the risk of being called a chauvinist pig by saying that.”