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Future female Rangers apply here

Lakewood gym to rollout course for prospective female Rangers

Green Beret and fitness trainer Marcus Domingue at his gym, Inveniam Athletics. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

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Former Green Beret Marcus Domingue, owner of Lakewood cross-fit gym, Inveniam Athletics, has a life story that reads like a manual in manliness. The seasoned combat veteran at first glance seems to be an unlikely champion of women's empowerment. But this year he plans to launch a special program at his gym for female soldiers intending to train for Ranger School and combat arms.

Hailing from Alabama, he originally joined the Marines straight out of high school. After deploying twice, he got out in 2008 and started working at a motorcycle shop in San Diego.

But when several friends died after he got out he decided to return to the battlefield. In 2010, he joined the Army and became a Green Beret - a job that took him to the Philippines, Vietnam and Iraq. He returned from Kurdistan in spring 2015 after advising Peshmerga troops in the war against ISIS before finally coming home and opening his gym.

The admission of women into combat job fields, as well as the first women to graduate Ranger School as part of a pilot program last year, has been a source of heated debate.

"Once they said that females can go to Ranger School and that it's going to be open from here on out, the way I looked at it was if I was still in and they were going through, I'd want the best of the best, and I don't want them to be ill prepared," Domingue explained. "If they show up at my team, I want them to be able to do the same exact thing that I can ... (but) I don't think there's a lot of people who want to take the time to help prepare women to do something like that."

"There's definitely a spot for them in every part of the organization," he said. "We won't know exactly how well they're going to fit in until we put them there ... I think that's going to be trial and error."

"I don't see the difference between having a male or female Ranger," he added. But he does acknowledge that men and women are innately different. And it's something his program won't shy away from - something he believes will differentiate the program from others.

"Physiologically women are different, so they're going to need more upper body strength work than what men are going to need, and women are going to be able to work at higher intensities and higher volumes than what men can do," he explained. "So there's physiologically a difference between how a man and a woman should train; their bodies are completely different than ours, so that's how our program is going to be different than any others in that it's going to be made for women."

Many commentators and some military combat leaders have expressed frustration and anger about the inclusion of female troops in combat units. But Domingue pointed out that many women have already been in combat overseas while attached to combat units, and will continue to be.

"Get with the times. This is the way that it's going. Most of the world has already integrated women into their infantry or special operations, so we're just lagging behind the rest of the world," Domingue said. "The ball's already rolling ... (so) you might want to start supporting them and finding the best ones that you can instead of just trying to keep everyone else down."

Ultimately, he said it should be about upholding high standards and ensuring the best soldier gets the job regardless of gender. He points to the Netherlands as a potential model. "They've had their special operations open to women. None of them have made it through the selection course because they've upheld the standards, which I think needs to happen - the standards can't drop," he said. "But if they can make it through, you know, I'm 100% for that."

Inveniam Athletics, 3875 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood, 253.370.8605

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