POLITICS

West Point Women Hit Back At Congressman Questioning Female Ranger Graduates

Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) should show his own military records.
Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) wants to see the records of the first two female graduates of Army Ranger School. 
Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) wants to see the records of the first two female graduates of Army Ranger School. 

A group of female West Point graduates are pushing to see Rep. Steve Russell's (R-Okla.) military records after he expressed skepticism about the achievements of the first two women to graduate from the Army's grueling Ranger School.

Russell, also a graduate of Ranger School, recently asked the Army to hand over the records of Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver in order to check that they were not given favorable treatment and that they truly "deserved to pass."

"Our office recently received information from some people with the Ranger School who alleged they were not held to the same standards," Russell's communications director, Daniel Susskind, told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. "We asked for the records to make sure that all of the people who passed the course deserved to pass it."

Sue Fulton, one of the first women to graduate from West Point, said she thinks Russell should have to prove himself if he's challenging the achievements of Griest and Haver. As Stars and Stripes reported, Fulton filed a Freedom of Information Act request Thursday to view the congressman's Ranger School records on behalf of an informal group of fellow West Point graduates. 

Fulton called Russell out on Twitter, saying, "Let's see YOUR Ranger School records, Congressman."  

“He, like too many older men, have biases about what women are capable of,” Fulton told Stars and Stripes. 

Susskind told the Ledger-Enquirer that Russell asked for records of the entire Ranger School graduating class, not only the women. His letter to the Army specifically requests the records of the "female graduates and those female candidates that entered Ranger School." 

Russell, who served in the Army for 21 years, defended his request on Facebook Wednesday, writing that the "records request on the recent Ranger classes that included females is to investigate serious allegations that are being made by members of the military. ... I asked for the records to determine the nature of the allegations." 

The records request on the recent Ranger classes that included females is to investigate serious allegations that are...

Posted by Congressman Steve Russell on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Susskind told The Huffington Post that Russell won't comment further until he receives the records and reviews them.

Griest and Haver graduated on Aug. 21 with 94 male classmates. 

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