The Army rangers are one of the most elite U.S. military groups. The term “ranger” has been used in a military context since the 1600s, but the Army rangers as we know them today were officially created and activated in 1942, during WWII. But what does it take to become a ranger? What do they really do?
For the past 67 years, Ranger School has taken potential rangers through the most rigorous program available in the Army. The program is split into 3 phases, “Benning,” “Mountain,” and “Florida,” and lasts 61 days in total. The students are put through intense conditions, often sleeping only 4 hours a night and eating 1 to 2 meals fewer a day than they’re used to. Let’s take a closer look at what rangers have to do to earn the ranger tab.
The first phase of the course lasts 21 days and is split into two parts – ranger assessment and patrol. During these 21 days, students are taught how to sustain themselves and accomplish their missions under strenuous circumstances. The students must first pass an assessment that requires them to do 59 sit-ups, 49 push-ups, 6 chin-ups, and a 40-minute (or faster) 5-mile run. And that’s only the beginning. If they pass the assessment, they will continue on to survival assessments, buddy runs, and the infamous “worm pit.” While in the patrol stage of the Benning phase, each student takes the lead in preparing, planning, resourcing, and executing a combat patrol. Only 50 percent of students complete the Benning phase successfully.
After completing the Benning phase, ranger students then travel to the mountains in Georgia to complete tasks in mountaineering and mobility training. Students endure extreme fatigue, hunger, rugged mountain terrain, and adverse weather conditions. They learn the basics of climbing and rappelling and then put their learning to the test. Leading combat patrols is also a major component of this phase. By this point, the soldiers have been stretched to their limits for weeks and now they must lead and motivate their fellow soldiers through additional patrol missions.
For the third and final phase of this ranger course, students are either transported by parachute or bus to Camp Rudder in Florida. Here the soldiers continue to put their learning to use and train heavily in combat arms. They must learn to accomplish missions while in a completely different terrain: swamp. Many of their operations here are waterborne, and the students must face a well-trained enemy before continuing on to more patrolling.
The Role of Army Rangers in Combat Today
All rangers live by the Ranger Creed in accomplishing every task and mission. Their primary operations include those of airfield seizure, emergency crisis response, air assault, direct action, intelligence and counterintelligence, hostage rescue, and counter terrorism. Army rangers have been involved in several major U.S. military operations over the past few decades, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. It is no surprise that rangers were among the first units to deploy to Afghanistan with the start of the War on Terror as their motto is “Rangers Lead the Way.”
So far, 3 women have graduated from Ranger School, and only 1 has gone on to complete the requirements and assessment process to become part of the 75th Ranger Regiment. The minimum requirements to become a ranger in the regiment include a 5-mile run in 40 minutes or less, a 12-mile march in under 3 hours while carrying a 35-pound pack, and an Army Physical Fitness Test score of 240. Completing Ranger School and the regiment’s assessment process is an extremely difficult feat, but these women have proven that they belong in the special forces of the U.S. military.
Honors and Releases
Through their service, Army rangers have been awarded several honors, including 4 Meritorious Unit Commendations, 9 Valorous Unit Awards, and 6 Presidential Unit Citations.
On the flip side of the coin, it is possible to be released from the ranger regiment at any time. When a ranger does not meet set standards (there are many reasons why someone would not meet standards, including disciplinary issues and a lack of motivation), he or she is RFS’d, or “Released For Standards.” When medical issues prevent them from performing missions, they are RFM’s, or “Relieved For Medical reasons.” Rangers are held to the highest standards of performance.
Lead the Way
At Low VA Rates, we honor the incredible training and dedication it takes to become an Army ranger. We have nothing but the highest respect for every member of the military, and that’s why we lead the way in helping veterans and active-duty military members achieve affordable VA home loans. To read more about the U.S. military special forces or to learn how Low VA Rates can help you call us now at 855-223-0705.