- How likely is it to get a seat for Ranger School being in the Army National Guard?
- 1LT Emily Lilly — First Female National Guard Ranger School Graduate
- Fear of missing out?
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- Meet the First Female Army National Guard Solider to Graduate from Army Ranger School
- Ranger School Has Several Things Students Can Prepare For
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- What Being An Army Ranger Taught Me About Getting Strong Using Only Bodyweight Exercises
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- Are Bodyweight Exercises Better for Building Strength Than Barbell Exercises?
- 1) Remove a Limb (Or Two)
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- U.S. Army Rangers
- Ranger School
How likely is it to get a seat for Ranger School being in the Army National Guard?
I hate to tell you this but as a 42A you have about as likely of a chance as getting as you are becoming an professional baseball player.
I went to Ranger School while in the National Guard. I am currently sending one of my squad leaders next month. We also have five slots next year. But we are a Infantry company in a Combined Arms Battalion in a Brigade Combat team. Ranger is for combat arms primarily. If you wanted to go to Ranger you should have looked at infantry.
You are in a support MOS. There is no need for a 42A to be Ranger Qualified. As stated else where all of the slots in a unit are coded with an MOS. My mos has a “G” code in it. It denotes being Ranger Qualified. So in that case I went to Ranger school. It is that way in a lot of slots in an infantry company.
If you really want make a run for this you should look at reclassing to 11B and going to the 32nd BCT in your state. Because your state has a BCT in it if your state was going to send anyone to Ranger School it would be a soldier from the 32nd. They could use the skills better. It would also be some time. I can see you are young. Ranger school is a leadership course. I would wait a while and part your time in first.
Keep in mind. First, the reason why you want the school. I didn’t go to get a Ranger Tab. If you really want one you could go and just buy one. I wanted to be a better leader and Ranger. Also, basic is a horrible gauge for Ranger. I have deployed twice to Iraq and thought a year in Iraq was easier than Ranger school.
1LT Emily Lilly — First Female National Guard Ranger School Graduate
“My mantra was, ‘I’m not leaving here until they kick me out.’”
This mindset helped push 1LT Emily Lilly, platoon leader with Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, West Virginia Army National Guard, to become the first female National Guard graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
No stranger to historic firsts, 1LT Lilly was also the first female in the Army National Guard to enter into a combat MOS as an armor officer. When she joined the West Virginia Army National Guard in 2013, 1LT Lilly had not an inkling of the history-making achievements she would accomplish in just a few short years.
1LT Emily Lilly, a platoon leader with Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment and the first female Soldier in the Army National Guard to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School aims her weapon on a trail at Yeager Air National Guard Base in Charleston, W.Va. National Guard Bureau photo by Luke Sohl
She joined the Guard at 33 years old after working 10 years in retail – all the while wanting a more rewarding career.
“With two small children at home, I wanted something that would make them a bit prouder of what I was doing,” explained 1LT Lilly. “I started looking at other options that were more community service-oriented. I saw that the National Guard had some postings out there, and I thought I’d like to go out on disaster relief efforts so that sparked my interest.”
Joining the Army National Guard in her 30s, 1LT Lilly expected the transition to be tough on her physically. However, she quickly realized that she was more capable than she had imagined.
“Initially when I joined, I thought that everything in the military was going to be very tough for me because I was older,” said 1LT Lilly. “I was 33 when I joined and 34 at Basic Training. Once I went through my training I was like, ‘wow – I’m doing things I never thought I’d be able to do and I’m doing them well.’”
Her journey to Ranger School began in August 2014, when the pilot program allowing women to join Ranger School was launched. She was fascinated by the new opportunity, but initially wasn’t sure if she was the right fit for the program.
1LT Emily Lilly. National Guard Bureau photo by Luke Sohl
“At the time I thought, ‘that’s really cool, but that’s way above my level,’” she recalled.
Still – always willing to take on a new challenge – 1LT Lilly joined the Ranger PT program and soon found that, contrary to her original thought, it was not at all above her level.
“I got in their PT program and the instructors said, ‘you know, you could probably do this,’” said 1LT Lilly. “They wanted me to go at that time, but due to funding requirements through the State, there was no way for me to go during the test program.”
Missing out on the pilot program did not stop 1LT Lilly from continuing to physically and mentally prepare herself for possibly attending Ranger School in the future. She followed the Ranger School trail program closely and sought out as much information as possible. Wanting to ensure she would meet the minimum physical standards for the Ranger course, over a span of three years, 1LT Lilly completely changed her training regimen. 1LT Lilly trained six days a week for a total of 20 hours each week to prepare herself for Ranger School. Three days a week included an hour and a half of upper body-focused strength training, followed by a 5–8 mile run. Two days out of the week she would ruck for about 6 miles carrying 45–60 pounds. On the last training day of the week she would complete a longer ruck of 10–12 miles and would focus on changing elevations. 1LT Lilly also took time to go to the Arms Room in the Glen Jean Armory to practice the proper assembling and disassembling of weapons and radios – repeatedly watching tutorial videos to ensure she got it right. On the tactical level, she tirelessly studied the Ranger School 20 Boards, which spell out what is expected of a Ranger patrol.
She kept a close eye on the progress of those in the program and found herself excited for the women who made it through.
“When two women finally made it through, they were in their mid-20s and I thought, ‘that’s awesome that these younger women are doing this,’ but I didn’t know if physically I could do it,” 1LT Lilly commented.
It wasn’t until 1LT Lilly saw a graduate with attributes that resembled her own that she could fully picture herself succeeding in the program.
1LT Emily Lilly climbs the Weaver on an obstacle course near Yeager Air National Guard Base. National Guard Bureau photo by Luke Sohl
“I heard about this 37-year-old major who had two children and who was still in there fighting through and getting re-cycled,” said 1LT Lilly. “When she graduated I said, ‘you know what – maybe I can do this too.’”
After three years of training, 1LT Lilly entered Ranger School at 38 years old. In 2017, Ranger School had a 67 percent failure rate among its participants, but that did not intimidate 1LT Lilly who said she felt prepared and capable when finally entering Ranger School.
“I won’t say that I thought I’d make it through, but I thought I had just as much a shot as anyone who was prepared going into the course,” she said. “A lot of schools get built up as being incredibly difficult – which they are – but a lot times, if you break it down to one day at a time, it’s doable.”
Ranger School is renown as one of the toughest training courses a Soldier can experience. The 62-day course includes three phases: Benning, Mountain and Swamp, which focus on squad operations, platoon operations and advanced development of small unit tactics, respectively. Each phase tests a Soldier’s combat arms-related skills and pushes their limits – both physically and mentally. Ranger School was not without its challenges for 1LT Lilly, but she said overall she enjoyed the experience.
“Mountains was absolutely horrible for me. There were times when I thought I was going to die up on those mountains,” 1LT Lilly laughed. “But I used mental strength and willpower, and that got me through. Other than that, I honestly had a lot of fun doing certain parts of it. I loved the swamps. I would do the swamps all year.”
1LT Lilly emphasized the importance of mental stamina in succeeding in the grueling Ranger course. While she previously had been apprehensive about her age, she learned that her 38 years of life experience proved to be an asset.
1LT Lilly noted, “I’ve been through tough things . I’ve been through being fired from a job. I know that life goes on and you can bounce back from difficult situations. The things that they do to try to mentally mess with you didn’t faze me. I just said, ‘I’m going to keep going until I graduate or they tell me that I’m not welcome here anymore.’”
After five demanding months, 1LT Lilly graduated from the program and earned the coveted Ranger tab on April 27, 2018.
“I feel fulfillment in knowing that I was able to complete the course, and relief in knowing that I never have to go back,” she said jokingly.
While she is the first female National Guard Soldier to graduate from the Ranger School, 1LT Lilly said she is humbled to be an addition to a list of strong women from all branches of military service who have also accomplished the feat.
“I know almost all of the women who are Ranger tabbed, so I’m just another woman who was able to successfully make it through,” she reflected. “ I learned that I’m capable of a lot more than I ever thought possible. If someone told me that I was going to carry 100 pounds over a mountain, I would have said, ‘no way!’ But I did it. And I survived to live to tell about it.”
1LT Emily Lilly kneels down to allow her children to pin the coveted Ranger Tab to her uniform following the Ranger School graduation ceremony April 27, 2018, at Fort Benning, Ga. West Virginia National Guard photo by A1C Caleb Vance
After the years of training and mental endurance it took to accomplish her goal, 1LT Lilly encourages others to strive to achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they may appear.
“It’s only impossible if you think it is,” said 1LT Lilly. “If a goal or a dream is important to you – whether it’s Ranger School, commissioning or 300 on the APFT – whatever it is, it’s just a matter of how serious you are going to be about your training and you have to be committed to that preparation.”
1LT Lilly has become a trailblazer in a rewarding career. She has achieved her goal not only of completing Ranger School, but more importantly, of being part of a profession that would make her children proud.
“My kids motivate me,” 1LT Lilly said. “I’m motivated by wanting to create a better world for them. I want them to grow up feeling like they can achieve anything. I want them to see that no dream is too big and that hard work will take them to where they want to go.”
By Staff Writer Tatyana White-Jenkins
Fear of missing out?
The first enlisted female National Guard soldiers recently graduated the rigorous Army Ranger School, joining the ranks of a handful of officer and enlisted female graduates.
Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley and Sgt. Danielle Faber, with the South Carolina Army National Guard and Pennsylvania Army National Guard, respectively, completed the school on Dec. 13.
“My mindset going into this was to leave 100 percent on the table and never have a regret or look back and say, ‘I should have pushed harder or I should have done something different,’” said Smiley in a Guard statement. “My mindset today is that I did just that. I gave 100 percent. I did everything that I could, and now here I am.”
First female Ranger grads open up about the aftermath and joining the infantry
Capts. Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest talk about their lives since becoming the first women to graduate Ranger school.
Meghann Myers March 13, 2018
Two female Army officers were the first to make it through the school in 2015, when Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver succeeded. In 2018, Army Guard 1st Lt. Emily Lilly graduated as the first female Guard officer.
The first female enlisted graduate was Staff Sgt. Amanda Kelley, also in 2018, according to the statement.
Smiley said that it wasn’t a matter of she and the other graduates, “charting a course” to complete the school but instead that women had not previously been allowed to attempt the school due to the ban on women in combat arms.
“There’s many women out there who are completely capable of doing it,” said Smiley. “Do it. … Put in the hard work, put in the dedication to accomplish the goal.”
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The pair can attest to the effort, and setbacks, that come with attempting the grueling training.
Faber started working toward the goal in 2016, when she first attempted the Pennsylvania Ranger/Sapper state assessment program but was not selected. The sergeant tried again in 2018 and was selected.
“Train hard for it,” said Farber. “Come into it knowing you’re going to be doing things that every other male that comes through here has to do. Don’t come through here and expect any sort of special treatment because it won’t happen.”
The first female enlisted soldier to graduate Ranger School, Kelley, said in an Army statement in August that spent five months preparing and studying while deployed in Iraq.
Since the first female officers graduated in 2015, more than 30 female soldiers have earned the Ranger tab.
“Soldiers need to understand that sometimes things you had planned change,” she said. “So just be open-minded to new things and don’t be scared to go after things that seem impossible. Because nothing’s impossible if somebody’s done it before you.”
Since 2016, more than 1,200 female soldiers have entered combat career fields such as field artillery, armor and infantry, according to the Army statement.
Other firsts have come recently for previously closed fields such at Navy SEALs and Marine Reconnaissance.
In November Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth was the first female Marine to graduate the 12-week Basic Reconnaissance Course and in September 2017 1st Lt. Marina A. Hierl was the first woman to graduate the Marine Infantry Officer Course.
A briefing earlier this month by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services showed that there are 60 percent more women serving in previously all-male Marine units than in the previous year.
For the Corps, that meant 613 Marines and sailors in those units. As of August, 89 female Marines had earned formerly gender-restricted Military Occupational Specialties, raising that total to 231, according to the briefing.
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In the regular Army, there’s one school that stands out from all the others. One school that guarantees you an audience with your boss on favorable terms, that immediately establishes you as a person worthy of respect. A school with no ranks, no preferential treatment, no “double standards,” where everyone is subject to the same terrifying ordeal: Ranger School. Fifty percent wash-out rate. Two months of pain, torture, humiliation, sleep deprivation and hunger for the 20-25% of the candidates who make it through without recycling. More months for everyone else.
I was one of the lucky few who got through without recycling — “first time go” — and I’m happy to share insights into the process, including how to effectively prepare for each phase. It wasn’t always easy. I almost received a serious observation report, or “SOR,” on the Darby obstacle course, which would have automatically dropped me from Ranger School; was voted one of the three most expendable people in my platoon during Forest Phase, placing me in danger of recycling or getting kicked out; recycled knots in Mountain; and almost received an SOR again on the final night raid at Santa Rosa Island when I charged and took an enemy position single-handedly. But I learned from each of my mistakes, observed the failures of others, and managed to make it through alive and in one piece.
Over the next four installments, I will share recollections and advice on how to make it through the school and take one’s tab. As the details of the tests and challenges change over time, readers should not take this as an exhaustive how-to manual; rather, as a flexible framework around which to construct a physical and psychological profile that will maximize your chances of surviving contact with the enemy — in this case, Ranger instructors.
Related: Surviving Pararescueman Indoc is easier than you think ”
There are plenty of excellent resources that detail how the physical preparation for Ranger School. I did little work outside attending the Infantry Officer Basic Course, which has a different name now, but the same basic purpose: preparing infantry officers to lead infantrymen in combat at the team, squad, and platoon level.
U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
The course was sufficient to prepare me to ace the Ranger PT test. Today that includes 49 perfect push-ups, 59 perfect sit-ups, six chin-ups, and a five-mile run in under 40 minutes. There is a rudimentary swim test that you must pass as well, which resembles the test you undergo in basic training, Officer Candidate School and IOBC. Furthermore, IOBC involved regular ruck marches of varying lengths with heavy packs and at speed — another critical component of preparing for Ranger School. Physical suitability for Ranger School is an absolute must, a baseline. I know of no weak Rangers. If you cannot endure the physical challenge of Ranger School, you will fail. People with inadequate intellectual and emotional resources might squeak by with their tabs, but those with weak legs, knees, ankles or shoulders will not.
If you possess the physical capability to meet or exceed those minimum standards, you will have a good chance of passing Ranger School.
I found it useful to imagine myself failing and succeeding. Becoming comfortable with the idea that I could recycle a phase, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Meanwhile, absolutely owning the truth that I was a Ranger who deserved to wear the tab. Various motivational speakers talk about the importance of visualizing victory, and you must do that — I also found it useful to visualize defeat, to comfort myself that the worst-case scenario was not unpalatable. Emotionally, in war, this becomes a key part of enduring defeat or loss and still moving forward toward victory, and Ranger School is a good place to begin honing that skill.
The next most important way to prepare for Ranger School is a candid assessment of your flaws and weaknesses. Ranger School will expose your flaws to everyone, and if you aren’t aware of them yourself, the thirtieth consecutive hour without sleep, starving, during a leadership evaluation on an ambush line is not the moment you want to discover that, for example, you’re impatient. Confronting weakness is difficult, but allows you to become familiar with mechanisms necessary to compensate for those shortcomings. Ultimately, that’s not only important for Ranger School, it’s part of being a good leader and a functional adult. I encountered many leaders outside Ranger School who displayed little or no self-awareness, and while it wasn’t pleasant to work for them or be around them, this did not prevent them from taking their Ranger tabs or leading soldiers in combat.
U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Michael Spandau
The final way to prepare for Ranger School, which is the least important, is intellectual. Read the types of tests you will need to pass. Familiarize yourself with call for fire missions, radio protocol, land navigation, and the theory behind small unit tactics — you don’t want to have to learn any of these tasks while struggling to stay awake in a Ranger School classroom. The good news is that everything in the Army infantry was designed for someone far less clever than yourself, and tested under the most distressing circumstances imaginable. Others have mastered these tasks, and with effort, you may, too. Just do it before arriving.
If you’re physically fit, intellectually prepared, and emotionally steady, it will be simple to pass the first challenges and tests in Ranger School, the Ranger Assessment Phase. After passing those trials, you’re ready to make the 12-mile ruck from Camp Rogers to Camp Darby and into the Forest Phase of Ranger School. This is where the real challenge begins.
Meet the First Female Army National Guard Solider to Graduate from Army Ranger School
Photos: U.S. Army
When I was growing up, my parents set some pretty high expectations for all five of us children: We all had to learn a foreign language, play a musical instrument, and play a sport. When it came to picking a sport, swimming was my go-to. I started when I was just 7 years old. And by the time I was 12, I was competing year-round and working hard to (someday) make nationals. I never quite made it to that point-and even though I was recruited to swim for a couple of colleges, I ended up getting an academic scholarship instead.
Fitness remained an important part of my life through college, when I joined the Army, and up until I had my children at 29 and 30. As with most moms, my health took a backseat for those first couple of years. But when my son turned 2, I began training to join the Army National Guard-a federal military reserve force of the United States. As you can imagine, there are several physical fitness standards you have to meet to make the Guard, so that served as the push I needed to get back into shape. (Related: What Is the Military Diet? Everything to Know About This Strange 3-Day Diet Plan)
Even after I passed training and became a First Lieutenant, I continued to push myself physically by running 10Ks and half marathons and working on strength training-heavy lifting, in particular. Then, in 2014, the Army Ranger School opened its doors to women for the first time in its 63-year history.
For those who might not be familiar with Army Ranger School, it’s considered the premier infantry leadership school in the U.S. Army. The program lasts between 62 days and five to six months and tries to replicate real-life combat as closely as possible. It’s built to stretch your mental and physical limits. About 67 percent of people who attend the training don’t even pass.
That stat in itself was enough to make me think there was no way I had what it takes to qualify. But in 2016, when the opportunity presented itself for me to try out for this school, I knew I had to give it a shot-even if my chances of making it all the way through were slim.
Training for Army Ranger School
To get into the training program, I knew two things for sure: I had to work on my endurance and really build up my strength. To see how much work I had ahead of me, I signed up for my first marathon without training. I managed to finish in 3 hours and 25 minutes, but my coach made it clear: That wasn’t going to be enough. So I started powerlifting. At this point, I was comfortable bench pressing heavy weights, but for the first time I started learning the mechanics of squatting and deadlifting-and immediately fell in love with it. (Related: This Woman Swapped Cheerleading for Powerlifting and Found Her Strongest Self Ever)
I eventually went on to compete and even broke some American records. But in order to make Army Ranger School, I needed to be both strong and agile. So over a five-month period, I cross-trained-running long distances and powerlifting multiple times a week. At the end of those five months, I put my skills to one final test: I was going to run a full marathon and then compete in a powerlifting meet six days later. I ended up finishing the marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes and was able to squat 275 pounds, bench 198 pounds, and deadlift 360-something pounds at the powerlifting meet. At that point, I knew I was ready for the Army Ranger School physical test.
What It Took to Get Into the Program
To even get into the program, there’s a certain physical standard you need to meet. A weeklong exam determines whether you’re physically capable to start the program, testing your abilities both on land and in water.
To start, you need to complete 49 pushups and 59 sit-ups (that meet military standards) in under two minutes each. You then have to complete a five-mile run in under 40 minutes and do six chin-ups that are up to standard. Once you’re past that, you move on to a combat water survival event. On top of swimming 15m (about 50ft) in full uniform, you’re expected to complete obstacles in the water where your risk for injury is high.
After that, you have to complete a 12-mile hike-wearing a 50-pound pack-in under three hours. And, of course, these grueling physical tasks are made worse since you’re functioning on minimal sleep and food. All the while, you’re expected to communicate and work alongside other people who are equally as exhausted as you are. Even more than being physically demanding, it really challenges your mental stamina. (Feeling inspired? Try This Military-Inspired TRX Workout)
I was one of four or five women to make it past the first week and start the actual program. For the next five months, I worked to graduate from all three phases of Ranger School, starting with the Fort Benning Phase, then the Mountain Phase, and ending with the Florida Phase. Each one is designed to build upon your skills and prep you for real-life combat.
The Grueling Reality of Ranger School
Physically, the Mountain Phase was the most difficult. I went through it in the winter, which meant carrying a heavier pack to cope with the harsh weather. There were times when I was hauling 125 pounds up a mountain, in the snow, or in the mud, while it was 10 degrees outside. That wears on you, especially when you’re only eating 2,500 calories a day, but burning a heck of a lot more. (Check out these science-backed ways to push through workout fatigue.)
I was also often the only woman in each of the phases. So I’d operate in a swamp for 10 days at a time and never laid eyes on another woman. You just have to become one of the guys. After a while, it doesn’t even matter. Everyone is assessing each other based on what you bring to the table. It’s not about whether you’re an officer, whether you’ve been in the Army for 20 years, or whether you’re enlisted. It’s all about what you can do to help. As long as you’re contributing, no one seems to care if you’re a man or woman, young or old.
By the time I reached the final phase, they had us operating at a platoon-level environment, working with other platoons, and testing our ability to lead people through swamps, code operations, and airborne operations, which included jumping out of helicopters and airplanes. So there are a lot of different moving parts, and we were expected to operate in those conditions to the military standard with very little sleep.
Being in the Army National Guard, I had very limited resources to train for these simulation tests. Other people in the training with me came from areas in the Army that gave them more leverage than I had. All I had to go off of was the physical training I had put myself through and my years of experience. (Related: How Mindful Running Can Help You Get Past Mental Roadblocks)
Five months into the program (and just two months shy of my 39th birthday) I graduated and became the first woman from the Army National Guard to become an Army Ranger-something that’s still hard for me to believe at times.
There were so many times I thought I was going to quit. But there was a phrase I carried with me through it all: “You didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” It served as a reminder that it was not the end until I finished what I went there to do.
My Next Conquest
Completing Ranger School changed my life in more ways than one. My decision-making abilities and thought process shifted in a way that people in my current unit have noticed. Now, people tell me I have a strong, commanding presence with my soldiers, and I feel like I’ve really grown in my ability to lead. It made me realize that the training was a lot more than just walking through swamps and lifting a bunch of heavy weights.
When you push your body to such extremes, it makes you realize that you’re capable of doing so much more than you think. And that applies to everyone, regardless of whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. Whether trying to get into Army Ranger School or training to run your first 5K, remember not to ever settle for the minimum. You can always take one more step even if you feel like you can’t. It’s all about what you’re willing to put your mind to.
- By Emily Lilly as told to Faith Brar
Ranger School Has Several Things Students Can Prepare For
And others you can’t
I recently was talking to a few old friends who had either been members of the Ranger Battalions of the 75th Ranger Regiment, or attended Ranger School as a member of the Special Operations community and we got into a discussion about the ways Ranger students can be prepared for the rigors of the Ranger course and others that they can’t.
We’ve been in contact with some of the potential Rangers who are in the pipeline and hopefully they can find this useful as they embark on their career with some of the best light infantry troops in the world.
To a man, the vets from the Ranger Regiment made it clear that any student coming from the Ranger Battalion to Ranger School is extremely well prepared for anything that comes their way. The Battalions won’t send any Ranger student that isn’t ready.
They did point out, however, that some of the tactics that the Battalions are using now in the GWOT differ slightly from how the patrols are graded in Ranger School. And that may be a post for another time as perhaps the school may be in line for some modifications if Rangers are actually conducting patrols a bit differently now.
So what are the biggest areas that a Ranger student should be well-versed in on Day 1.
Troop Leading Procedures:
Every Ranger student must become intimately familiar with understanding Troop Leading Procedures and the issuing of Warning Orders and Operations Orders (OPORD), as well as Fragmentary Orders (FRAGO).
There are eight steps in the Troop Leading Procedures (TLP) guide that Army leaders and Rangers are expected to know.
Step 1. Receive the Mission
Step 2. Issue a warning order
Step 3. Make a tentative plan
Step 4. Start necessary movement
Step 5. Reconnoiter
Step 6. Complete the plan
Step 7. Issue the complete order
Step 8. Supervise
The Ranger will receive the mission in the form of an OPORD or a FRAGO and will issue a Warning Order as quickly as possible given the information that he has at the time. He’ll analyze quickly the mission using METT (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, and Time) and begin his plan.
They’ll make a tentative plan, reconnoiter if time allows, complete his plan, issue the OPORD and then supervise his unit thru the mission completion. The leader will conduct rehearsals, inspections and cover several tasks which include:
Actions on the objective.
Assaulting a trench, bunker, or building.
Actions at the assault position.
Breaching obstacles (mine and wire).
Using special weapons or demolitions.
Actions on unexpected enemy contact.
Small Unit Tactics:
The bread and butter for Ranger school. The Ranger Instructors (RIs) will teach the students everything they’ll need to know and take it from the absolute bottom, the duties and responsibilities of a basic rifleman right up to planning operations that involve airborne operations or small boat insertions.
However, since the Ranger student will be tired, hungry and under stress, it is always advisable that the student be intimately familiar with all of these and make things as stress-free as possible.
Know the Ranger handbook especially the chapters 1-2 as well as 6-7-8. Which deals with movement, operations, patrols, and battle drills.
Rucking, Rucking, and More Rucking:
The big pain pill becomes an even bigger issue for some students who aren’t used to carrying it all the time. That issue will be fixed and quickly in Ranger School. While there won’t be the constant ruck PT of the SFQC or the many gates of ruck marches in Selection, Rangers will carry their ruck everywhere.
During each of the phases, (Benning, Mountain, Desert, Eglin) the students will have an approximate 10-12 day field phase with non-stop patrols ongoing in each. Students will be wearing a rucksack from 15-18 hours a day minimum, some days it could be as long as 20.
It is just one of the other added stressors that are built-in to the course. If students are not used to carrying a ruck before they get there….it won’t be a pleasant experience. And it isn’t even for well-versed troops.
PT Standards… Believe it or Not:
What? Nope, that isn’t a typo. Many of the students who fail out of or are pushed back in Ranger School never get passed the PT Test. The Rangers call it the Ranger Physical Assessment (RAP) and it consists of the normal Army 3-Event PT Test with pull-ups as well as a five-mile run in 40 minutes or less instead of the standard 2-miler included.
Believe it or not, more people fail the RAP than anything else. How can someone go to attend Ranger School and not pass the standards to even enter? It is a head scratcher but students should have no doubt as to what constitutes a proper push-up and pull-ups that have to be completed from a dead hang.
Also included in the RAP is a land navigation test that isn’t close to what you’ll encounter at SFAS but for students who aren’t well versed in it, it takes its share of failures nonetheless. Once again, preparation is the cure for all of it.
Two things that the Ranger students can’t prepare for per se are the sleep deprivation and hunger.
We’ve all heard the countless stories of students sleepwalking and falling asleep standing up and losing contact during patrol movement because a Ranger student has “zoned out” during the course…they’re all true. Well, 99 percent are.
Students are guaranteed to have no more than four hours of sleep a night in Ranger School and when those students are being graded as a Patrol Leader, he will frequently get none.
There is no way to actually prepare for it, although if you’d had practice in this before, you can and should use small tricks of the trade that you’ve learned to help you through it. But there is zero preparation factor here.
The other tales we’ve all heard about Ranger School is the hunger. Each Ranger student gets two MREs a day to eat and together they add up to about 2500 calories per day. If taken into context at home on a “normal” day, it would be more than enough.
However, in Ranger School operating on little to no sleep carrying a heavy rucksack for 15 to 20 hours a day, it is far too little. It is common for Ranger students to lose 15-20 pounds by the end of the course at graduation.
One of our guys who attended Ranger School from the unit we’d send motivational letters with hamburger wrappers from McDonald’s. He told us later, it broke up the tension and he would get a big laugh from it, but he also added, he still licked the wrapper to see if there was any flavor left in there.
Hopefully, for the young troops heading to Ranger training/Ranger Regiment, you’ll find these tips to be useful. It is a tremendous small leader’s course, among the very best in the world.
Another time a Marine dared Underwood to do Turkish getups with a 25-pound dumbbell for an hour. He accepted, of course. They stopped counting when he passed 100.
Heintz and Noble work constantly to make the Rangers mentally tougher, emphasizing the big picture as well as in-the-moment strategies. The Rangers are moving away from goal-setting and instead focusing on “being.” He encourages men to check in with themselves daily. “Are you the person you want to be? How are you working toward that? What is stopping you from being that person?” Heintz says this kind of motivation, when paired with having to “kill bad guys,” is more powerful than trying to hit a new weight number on the bench press. It’s about forging a sense of purpose and a warrior mindset.
1st Sgt. Christopher Masters, 36, deployed 16 times, advises each of his men to find their own source of strength. “It can be your family, your country, your collective experiences,” he says. “Additionally, you draw inspiration from the relationships with your team. You don’t want to let anyone down.” Many men wear stainless-steel bracelets with the name, rank, and date a fellow team member was killed in action.
Masters says the younger Rangers, who grew up in an age of information saturation, struggle most when faced with ambiguity, when information is not complete. Generation Me also tends to have a confidence that crumbles when put to the hammer. That’s why the training emphasizes mastering how to handle volatility, and conditions the men to adapt rapidly to change. “No matter how well you prepare, you must deal with uncertainty when you deploy,” Masters says. “The enemy has a vote.”
Rangers do various exercises that build self-awareness, critical to the ability to change gears mentally. For example, in high-stress situations that require calm decisions, Rangers use diaphragmatic breathing—inhaling deeply through the nose for a four count and then exhaling on a four count.
Heintz’s office at the gym doubles as a library. He hands specific books to guys in the spirit of coaches like Phil Jackson. His favorites include Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales, On Killing by Lt. Col. David Grossman (ret.), The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz, and Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. Quotes are posted on the walls, with talking points underneath. Here are some (and the takeaway for you).
Fix your face! By deliberately changing your facial expressions, you can control your emotions, shift your focus, and increase or decrease your intensity. If there is a job to do and you’re struggling, fix your face.
Boldly into darkness. Exceptional performance starts with belief. Confidence is that belief. Like any skill, confidence is built, earned, forged. Do something every day that scares you. (For example, if you can power clean 245 pounds, try 255 next time. )
Own it. Why you are not performing at your best is irrelevant. Don’t judge yourself. Excuses are instinctive and distracting. Own who you are and stare into the abyss and say, “Okay, now what?”
Heintz, who has a quote for every situation, shares two more that resonate with the men: “Acknowledge that vulnerability allows you to improve” and “You’re not defined by your experiences but by what you learn from them.” It’s tough being a Ranger in an era of emoticons and likes. “The men I work with would say their work doesn’t inherently produce consistent feelings of happiness that our culture has come to expect at all times,” Heintz says. “The work Rangers do is not happy, though it can be fulfilling. I tell them, ‘It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. It’s okay not to feel awesome all the time.’ ”
One guy who is feeling awesome—and exhausted—is Horsager. He’s held on to his lead, completing the competition in just over six hours. He’s endured a 30-plus-mile movement with 55 pounds of gear and blasted through two obstacle courses. Now he owns bragging rights for the regiment. But he’s matter-of-fact about his win. “I focused on what I needed to do,” he says. “I knew it was going to be nonstop pain until the finish.” Then he quotes legendary runner Steve Prefontaine. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Editor’s note: The 75th Ranger Regiment team of Capt. Michael Rose and Master Sgt. Josh Horsager has won the 2017 Best Ranger Competition held April 7 to 9. Rose and Horsager beat out 52 other two-person teams from all branches of the armed forces to win the three-day endurance and skills competition.
The Ranger Workout
A 60-minute hybrid strength, power, and stamina session.
Anaerobic Capacity Drill
VersaClimber: 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off
Foam-rolling and ice tub
The Rangers do a biweekly fitness challenge. Winners are posted in the gym. Get some!
Bench-press your body weight: 30 reps
35-pound plate pinch (both hands): 3 minutes, 26 seconds
1,000-meter row: 3 minutes, 3 seconds
1 mile on an Assault bike: 1 minute, 53 seconds
Grip crush hold, 70 pounds: 13 minutes, 9 seconds
Handstand pushups: 30 reps
Ben Court Ben Court is the Executive Editor of Men’s Health.
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Advanced physical training assures physical and mental endurance and the stamina required for obtaining basic Ranger characteristics; commitment, confidence and physical and mental toughness. Additionally, the student executes demolitions training and airborne refresher training. Airborne Soldiers will exit from a high performance aircraft and conduct tactical assembly area procedures. “
The most important pre-training exercise to do prior to Ranger school is walking fast in your boots with at least 50 pounds of weight on your back. You will do this everyday you are at Ranger School. Running at least 5 miles, 3-4 times a week and swimming in uniform 2-3 times a week is recommended as well. Pack on a 5-10 pounds of body weight prior to going so you have a little to lose when you are consuming fewer calories a day.
The second part of First Phase use obstacle courses and long ruck marches as a major part of the physical fitness requirements. However, the fundamentals of patrolling and small unit tactics is the focus of this part of the Benning Phase. These graded field exercises include ambush and reconnaissance patrols, close quarters combat, airborne operations, and air assault operations. The Ranger student must then demonstrate his expertise through a series of cadre and student led tactical patrol operations.
The second phase, or Mountain phase last 20 days and nights and teaches operating in small units while sustaining himself and his subordinates in the adverse conditions of the mountains. The rugged terrain, hunger, and sleep deprivation are the biggest causes of emotional stress that the student encounters. He will eat, sleep and operate in these conditions for 3 weeks, usually eating no more than 2 MREs a day (Meals Ready to Eat).
The Third phase, or Florida phase, teaches small boat operations, ship to shore operations, stream crossing techniques, and skills needed to survive and operate in a jungle and swamp environment. This phase lasts 16 days and nights and tests the patrolling and leadership techniques of every Ranger.
Ranger School is a grueling school due to the long hours of walking with your gear, sleeping in the field and eating 1-2 meals less a day than normal. Many students lose 20-30 pounds in the 56 day school. But the school teaches the Ranger he can overcome insurmountable challenges while under simulated combat conditions. Ranger school has honed the professional skills and techniques necessary to conduct small unit operations. And of course, you can wear the well deserved Ranger Tab on your shoulder.
If you would like to buy the Ranger Workout that has worked for several clients of the StewSmith.com PT Club please go directly to theArmy Ranger / SF Workout
Testimonial – see more
Your US Army Ranger PT program is absolutely fantastic. I am on week 9 of the 10 weeks. I have been keeping track of my progress. I posted the following improvements from pre-week 1 to current:
Pushups – 50 to 90 in 2 minutes
Pullups – 15 to 27
Crunches – 110 to 140 in 2 minutes
My two mile time dropped from 16 min,30 sec to 13m 54s. (This 2 mile time was in 96 F heat).
It is easy to see why these programs help people with their PT performances. The ruck marches are evil but I like them. It is amazing how quick 30-50 lbs can wear you down.
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What Being An Army Ranger Taught Me About Getting Strong Using Only Bodyweight Exercises
SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t write this article.
The closest I’ve ever been to calling myself a “ranger” was when I used to watch Walker, Texas Ranger growing up and pretend to roundhouse kick unsuspecting (and imaginary) bad guys in the face.
Oh, and there was that one time I dressed up as the Green Power Ranger for Halloween.1
I am not, nor have I ever been, an Army Ranger.
I did stay up past midnight the other night, though. That’s kinda badass.
A big “thank you” to ACTUAL Army Ranger, Tom Coffey, for pinch-writing for me today as I make my way to Los Angeles this weekend to present.
Copyright: supernam / 123RF Stock Photo
Fate whispered to the warrior ‘you cannot withstand this storm.’ The warrior whispered back, ‘I am the storm.’
For thousands of years, before comfortable fitness centers dotted every corner, the world’s greatest warriors relied on a steady dose of bodyweight exercises—from building high levels of superhuman strength, to increasing cardiovascular conditioning, and even developing mental toughness bodyweight exercises accomplished it all.
In the rest of this article I want to briefly share with you what my experience as an Army Ranger taught me about getting strong, using only my body.
Life as an Army Ranger
The life of an Army Ranger is quite busy.
Between endless training and extended “business trips” to lands far away there is often more to do than hours in the day. Yet the job requires a certain level of what we’ll call “real world strength.”
Let me give you an example of what I mean: I weighed about 250 pounds in full military gear (+80 pounds above my bodyweight). Do you think you could also throw on 80 pounds of your own gear, pick me up, throw me over your shoulder, and sprint full out for 100 or 200 yards?
That’s what I’m referring to when I say real world strength.
But, no matter what elite military unit you’re talking about there is always a high premium placed on being functionally strong. Admittedly, as much as possible my Ranger buddies and I tried to workout in an actual gym. However, life liked to throw us curve balls and often times we were in situations with no iron around at all.
But not having access to a gym simply wasn’t an excuse to not workout and get weak. So, how did my Ranger buddies and I keep getting stronger when we didn’t always have access to a gym?
The answer: using the best only gym we had available—our body.
Are Bodyweight Exercises Better for Building Strength Than Barbell Exercises?
Ok, before we dive headfirst into this rabbit hole I know someone is going to ask if bodyweight exercises are better for building strength than barbell exercises.
The word “strength” can mean a lot of different things. And, depending on who you ask you’ll likely get a lot of different answers.
Listen, if you want to get strong AF there’s no arguing that picking heavy shit up and hoisting it over your head is the way to go. Unless you’re humongous, green, and your name is Hulk, you very likely won’t be joining the 1,500 pound club by using bodyweight exercises.
While you probably definitely won’t build world class powerlifting strength with bodyweight exercise, they do offer tremendous value in building real world strength.
Bodyweight exercises strengthen the body and allow you to express that strength in ways which the barbell can’t.
They can humble even the most experienced of lifters.
I’ve seen, with my own two ocular receptors, guys who can easily squat four wheels crumble like dust when attempting a simple pistol squat (one legged squat).
How is that even possible?
Ok dude I get it, but how do you build strength using only your bodyweight?
I’m glad you asked.
And, I’m making the assumption here that you’re stranded on a desert island with no gym equipment in sight. This is only to hammer home the point that you literally need zero equipment to make this stuff work.
Obviously, if you start adding gym equipment back in the mix your strength building options skyrocket.
But, that’s easy.
If you learn how to manipulate your body for strength building purposes you become bulletproof. You can literally get strong from anywhere in the world.
Pretty cool, right?
Anyway, below are four ways you can turn lowly bodyweight exercises into serious strength builders.
Did someone order a serving of humble pie?
NOTE: I chose to demonstrate each of these ideas using the pushup. However, you can apply these principles to any number of bodyweight exercises.
1) Remove a Limb (Or Two)
Removing a limb (or two) creates a very unstable environment. Instability causes your muscles to tense harder, and tension is good for building strength. That’s just good science.
Also Useful For:
– Pistol squats
– Single leg hip bridges
– BW romanian deadlifts
– Free standing handstand pushups…if you dare.
NOTE FROM TG: For those watching Tom perform a 1-arm, 1-leg pushup and thinking to themselves “that’s a whole lotta nope,” I’d encourage you to check out THIS article by Nick Tumminello on how to progress towards it.
2) Remove a Limb, Slow Down the Rep, and Add Pauses
Speaking of tension, another great way to increase it is by slowing down your repetitions. This is also known as time under tension (TUT). Pausing at certain points in the rep ensures that you kill all momentum.
Again, this makes the exercise much harder because you have to be stay tense and in control through the entire rep.
There is an inherent difference between taking 30 seconds to perform 1 pushup vs. cranking out 30 pushups. Try a 30 second (or 60 second) pushup and you’ll see what I mean.
Also Useful For:
– Frog holds
– Human flag hold
– Single arm/leg planks
To be explosive you must be powerful. And power is more or less strength expressed over a very short time. Paradoxically, you must first be strong before you can be powerful. Explosive bodyweight exercises are great for training you to express the strength you’ve built.
Also Useful For:
– Jump squats
– Jump lunges
– Muscle ups
4) The Kitchen Sink Approach
Have you ever opened the drawers under your sink only to find soap bottles, cleaners, yellow gloves, old sponges, bleach bottles, leaky pipes…etc.
I mean, it’s chaos.
The kitchen sink approach is our version of controlled chaos by combining many different strength building elements together. In the video below the spiderman pushup involves using slow reps, removing a limb, dynamic movement, abdominal bracing, and re-distributing weight.
Pro Tip: Make sure that if you’re doing Spiderman pushups in a field with fire ant hills that you don’t unknowingly place your hand directly on top of one. I did this once, and can safely say I’d rather get stabbed by a Nazgul (like twice) than ever do that again.
Desert Island Strength Building Workouts
Ok, now you know how to use bodyweight exercises for strength building. So, my challenge to you is try it.
Below are examples of two ways you can spin basic bodyweight exercises into tough little workouts. And the best part, you can literally do these anywhere, anytime—no equipment needed.
Sample Routine 1- “Destroyer of Legs and Core”
Three rounds of:
5 pistol squats, per leg → Pause for 1 second at the bottom of every rep
8 single leg hip bridges, per leg → After the 8th rep hold the top of the bridge for 8 seconds (ouchy)
Five rounds of:
15 air squats
20 walking lunges steps
8 jump squats
8 jump lunges
Three rounds of:
20 second plank w/ left arm lifted
20 second plank w/ right arm lifted
30 second hollow hold
Sample routine 2- “Pushups Seem Harder Today”
Three rounds of:
3 explosive pushups→ focus on being fast off the ground
Three rounds of:
2 single arm/single leg pushups, per side
Four rounds of:
1 thirty second pushup w/ a leg lifted → take 10 seconds to lower, pause above the ground for 10 seconds, take 10 seconds to raise
*On sets 1 & 3 keep your left leg off the ground
*On sets 2 & 4 keep your right leg off the ground
Building strength is certainly a noble and worthy pursuit of one’s time. Yes, you’ll make the fastest gains when you have access to all the bells and whistles of a fully equipped gym.
However, when life throws you the inevitable curveball and you don’t have access to the iron, it’s an invaluable skill to be able to bust out a strength workout anywhere, anytime.
I appreciate your time, and I hope you enjoyed the read.
About the Author
Tom Coffey is a former Army Ranger, certified nutrition coach, and currently pursuing a master’s degree in Exercise Science.
Due to his last name, he is on a lifelong quest to brew the absolute “perfect” cup of coffee. You can follow Tom’s quest for coffee brewing perfection, or just read more of his other work, over at his blog: https://tomcoffeyfitness.com
Three women and 78 men have washed out of Ranger School after Monday morning’s physical fitness test.
Monday was the first day of a one-time integrated assessment at the Army’s famously punishing Ranger School.
The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat arms jobs to women, and it is a first for Ranger School, which until now has been was open only to men.
On Monday morning, 399 soldiers began the course, said Gary Jones, a spokesman for Fort Benning, Georgia, where the first phase of Ranger School takes place.
Of those soldiers, 19 were women.
A total of 81 soldiers did not pass the PT test— 78 were men, three were women.
That leaves 16 female soldiers still in training, Jones said.
The two-month Ranger School begins with the Ranger Physical Assessment. Students must do 49 pushups in two minutes, 59 situps in two minutes, complete a five-mile run in 40 minutes or less, and do six chin-ups.
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In fiscal 2014, PT test failures made up the largest number of Ranger School failures.
On average, about 45 percent of Ranger School students will graduate. As many as 60 percent of all Ranger School failures will occur in the first four days during the Ranger Assessment Phase, commonly known as RAP week.
Twenty women qualified to attend the integrated Ranger School assessment after successfully completing the Army National Guard Ranger Training Assessment Course.
To prepare for the April assessment, the Army required female candidates to attend the two-week RTAC, setting aside seats for female candidates in each iteration of the course between January and April.
RTAC has historically been a strong indicator of whether a candidate will be successful at Ranger School. Data has shown that more than half of the soldiers who complete RTAC will successfully complete Ranger School.
Women who successfully complete Ranger School will receive a certificate and be awarded the coveted Ranger tab. They will not, however, be assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, which is separate from Ranger School.
U.S. Army Rangers
Ranger School is one of the toughest training courses for which a Soldier can volunteer. Army Rangers are experts in leading Soldiers on difficult missions – and to do this, they need rigorous training. For more than two months, Ranger students train to exhaustion, pushing the limits of their minds and bodies.
The purpose of the Army’s Ranger course is to prepare these Army volunteers – both officers and enlisted Soldiers – in combat arms related functional skills. The Rangers’ primary mission is to engage in close combat and direct-fire battles.
The Ranger Course was conceived during the Korean War and was known as the Ranger Training Command. The Ranger Training Command was inactivated and became the Ranger Department, a branch of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., Oct. 10, 1951. Its purpose was, and still is, to develop combat skills of selected officers and enlisted men. This requires them to perform effectively as small-unit leaders in a realistic, tactical environment, and under mental and physical stress; approaches that are found in actual combat. Emphasis is placed on the development of individual combat skills and abilities through the application of the principles of leadership, while further developing military skills in the planning and conduct of dismounted infantry, airborne, airmobile, amphibious independent squad, and platoon-size operations. Graduates return to their units to pass on these skills.
From 1954 to the early 1970’s, the Army’s goal, though seldom achieved, was to have one Ranger qualified non-commissioned officer per infantry platoon and one officer per company. In an effort to better achieve this goal, in 1954, the Army required all combat arms officers to become Ranger/Airborne qualified.
The benning phase of Ranger School is designed to assess a Soldier’s physical stamina, mental toughness, and establishes the tactical fundamentals required for follow-on phases of Ranger School. During this 21-day phase, Ranger instructors, coach, teach, and mentor each student to sustain himself, his subordinates, maintain his mission essential equipment, and accomplish the mission under difficult field training conditions. Each Soldier that volunteers for Ranger training has proven themselves as a leader in their sending unit and arrives in top physical condition. However, only 50 percent of Ranger students will complete this first phase.
This phase is conducted in two parts: The Ranger assessment phase, commonly referred to as “RAP week,” and the patrolling phase, commonly referred to as “Darby phase.” RAP week begins with the Ranger physical assessment, known as RPA, requiring 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, 5-mile run in 40:00 minutes or better, and six chin-ups. Following the RPA, students conduct the combat water survival assessment at Victory Pond, land navigation refresher training, and finish the day with a brigade in-brief.
Day two begins at 3:30 a.m. with the night and day land navigation test. Following land navigation, Rangers are tested on common Soldier skills such as weapons and communication training. The second day finishes with a 2.1 mile two-man buddy run in Army combat uniform, known as ACU, un-bloused combat boots, Camelback, carrying an M4, wearing a headlamp, and no headgear. The buddy run culminates on Malvesti Confidence Course, which contains the infamous “worm pit.” The fourth and final day of RAP week consists of instruction on proper assembly and security of equipment, and culminates with the 12-mile foot march with each student carrying an average load of 35 pounds, without water.
After RAP week, only two-thirds of the class will continue to the patrol phase. This phase begins with fast paced instruction on troop leading procedures, principles of patrolling, demolitions, field craft, and basic battle drills focused towards squad ambush and reconnaissance missions. Before students begin practical application on what they have learned, they will negotiate the Darby Queen Obstacle course, consisting of 20 obstacles stretched over one mile of uneven hilly terrain. Upon completion of the Darby Queen, students conduct three days of non-graded, squad-level patrols, one of which is entirely cadre led. After the last non-graded patrol day, students conduct two days of graded patrols, one airborne operation, and four more days of graded patrols before moving on to the mountain phase of Ranger School.
In order to move forward, each student must demonstrate their ability to plan, prepare, resource, and execute a combat patrol as a squad leader or team leader. Students must prove this to the Ranger instructors and more importantly to their peers as the final hurdle to moving forward is the peer evaluation. Only Soldiers who give 100 percent of themselves to their peers and squad will be likely candidates to continue forward to the mountain phase, and ultimately earn their Ranger Tab.
During the mountain phase at Camp Frank D. Merrill in the northern Georgia mountains, students receive instruction on military mountaineering tasks, mobility training, as well as techniques for employing a platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment. They further develop their ability to command and control platoon-size patrols through planning, preparing, and executing a variety of combat patrol missions. The Ranger students continue to learn how to sustain himself and his subordinates in the adverse conditions of the mountains. The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the emotional stress that the student encounters afford him the opportunity to gauge his own capabilities and limitations as well as that of his peers.
Ranger students receive four days of training on military mountaineering. During the first two days at the lower mountaineering; Ranger students learn about knots, belays, anchor points, rope management and the basic fundamentals of climbing and rappelling. Mountaineering training culminates with a two-day exercise at Yonah Mountain, applying the skills learned during lower mountaineering. Students conduct one day of climbing and rappelling over exposed, high-angle terrain. The second day, squads perform mobility training to move their personnel, equipment, and simulated casualties through severely restrictive terrain using fixed ropes and hauling systems.
Following mountaineering, students conduct four days of combat techniques training. During this training, students receive classes and perform practical exercises on movement to contact, patrol base, Troop Leading Procedures, Operations Orders, known as OPORD, combative, ambush and raid.
Students then perform ten days of patrolling during two field training exercises. Combat patrol missions are directed against a conventionally equipped threat force in a low intensity conflict scenario. These patrol missions are conducted both day and night and include Air Assault operations and extensive cross country movements through mountainous terrain. The Ranger students execute patrol missions requiring the use of their mountaineering skills. Platoon missions include movements to contact, vehicle and personnel ambushes, and raids on communication and mortar sites. Students also conduct river crossings and scale steeply sloped mountain. The stamina and commitment of the Ranger student is stressed to the maximum. At any time, he may be selected to lead tired, hungry, physically expended students to accomplish yet another combat patrol mission.
At the conclusion of the mountain phase, students move by bus or parachute assault into the third and final Phase of Ranger training, conducted at Camp Rudder, near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
This phase focuses on the continued development of the Ranger student’s combat arms functional skills. Students receive instruction on waterborne operations, small boat movements, and stream crossings upon arrival. Practical exercises in extended platoon-level operations executed in a coastal swamp environment test the students’ ability to operate effectively under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress. This training further develops the students’ ability to plan and lead small-units during independent and coordinated airborne, air assault, small boat, and dismounted combat patrol operations in a low-intensity combat environment against a well-trained, sophisticated enemy.
The Florida Phase continues small-unit tactical training through a progressive, realistic, contemporary operating environment. Students conduct ten days of patrolling during two field training exercises. The field training exercises are fast paced, highly stressful, and challenging exercises in which the students are evaluated on their ability to apply small-unit tactics and techniques during the execution of raids, ambushes, movements to contact, and urban assaults to accomplish their assigned missions.
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