FORT BENNING, Ga. — Seven women who have successfully completed RAP week at Ranger School are questioning the inclusion of a new requirement in the “crawl” training phase, specifically a “pickle jar opening” test.
“The standards for crawl are brutal,” said Capt. Sarah Titus, who passed RAP on her first try. “We know that, and we are ready. But a fucking pickle jar? That’s just bullshit."
RAP Week, the initial “Ranger Assessment Phase,” sees washout rates up to 30 percent. The Crawl or “Darby” Phase of Ranger School is widely considered the most physically demanding phase.
Col. David G. Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, disagrees with Titus.
“The Army has been reevaluating the Ranger School requirements for some time,” Fivecoat said. “We have been absolutely clear that we will not lower standards just so women can pass. But we are also modifying, dropping or adding requirements to ensure we test what is most relevant to effective fighting and leadership.”
“As an experiment,” he added with a facial twitch he later denied was a wink. "Pickles are an easy way to get water and salt in the field. 'Open a jar, save a life!'"
The Pickle Jar Opening Test reportedly requires students to open four separate pickle jars of varying size in under five minutes. The jars have been tightened with 286 ft-lbs of torque. The largest jar has a lid diameter of 155 mm. Breaking the jar is not permitted.
“None of us want standards lowered, either," Titus told reporters. "We want to be treated exactly the same as the men. That’s for sure. But who the fuck carries glass anything into the field?”
Fellow Darby Phase student Lt. Monica Morales was reprimanded for attempting to use a Norpro Silicone Jar Opener.
"That's cheating, Morales!" test supervisor Capt. George Lovelace yelled. "We don't send you into the field with tools to clean your weapon, do we? Okay, bad example. Actually, we send you out with about 150 pounds of tools to use."
"But not on this test!" Lovelace screamed.
“It’s a stupid test,” Morales said. “I nailed the first three, but the last one was too wide. My tiny hands let me clean and strip a gun faster than anybody else here. But now I might wash out? For pickles?”
Sgt. Kevin McCarty was the only member of Morales' squad to successfully open the 155 mm jar, but according to Morales, he only succeeded "because I loosened it."