Trading arrogance for maturity, NU’s first female Ranger makes history.
BY JANE DUNBAR
The Norwich Record | Fall 2018
Last year, Rebekah “Rose” Bernheim became only the 10th woman to complete Army Ranger School, a distinction she earned on Dec. 8, 2017.
Bernheim, her squad's sole female, says she was treated like any other male Ranger candidate.
“No one cared about my gender or physiological capabilities," she says. “They cared that I did the work.”
Born into a high-achieving military family, the 5-foot-3 inch, 135-pound dynamo was always driven to excel. “I grew up with a chip on my shoulder and something to prove,” she says. At Norwich, Bernheim majored in studies in war and peace and distinguished herself as a student, athlete, and future military officer.
She graduated summa cum laude and played for the Cadets’ Division I women’s rugby 15s and 7s teams, where she helped win six national championships and was twice voted MVP. As an Army ROTC cadet, she graduated first in her program and in the top 10 percent of cadets nationally, earning honors as a distinguished military graduate.
Before Ranger School, however, Bernheim’s unrelenting drive to prove herself to others as a 2nd Lt.—that “chip”—nearly scuttled her chance of success. During a preliminary Ranger Training Assessment Course in 2015, Bernheim was unsatisfied that her peer-review scores, while passing, were relatively low.
“That was an indicator for me to take time to learn about the Army and mature more before I attempted Ranger School,” she says.
As Bernheim grew more self-aware and mature, she gained an important insight—that motivation isn’t enough.
“That chip on my shoulder fooled me into thinking that I should, and could, accomplish everything by myself,” she says. “(But) Ranger School is a team effort, and leaders look out for their team.”
There, Bernheim proved to her instructors and peers that not only could she carry her own weight, but also take care of her soldiers. Doing so, she earned her Ranger tab and a place in Norwich history.
A military intelligence officer in the 1st Cavalry Division, Bernheim is completing the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. She is married to fellow NU alumnus, Army Capt. Katie Hathaway ’12, who is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and is the first woman to command an active-duty tank company.