Army Ranger School-An Overview

The United States Army Ranger School is “not the for weak or fainthearted” and those who graduate the 62-day course become part of a legacy of courage, daring and outstanding leadership.  The US Army Ranger has been a critical element on the battlefield from the American Revolution through today’s modern conflicts, most notably remembered for their heroics spearheading most of the invasions of Europe and Northern Africa including the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  The US Army Ranger is the essential embodiment of leadership and BE, KNOW, DO, but to become an Army Ranger is no easy task. Volunteering for Ranger School says you care about your career and it will increase your promotion chances.  Here is an overview of the US Army Ranger School. 

Ranger School is 62 days of training to exhaustion, pushing the limits of your mind and body.  It’s also showing you have the ability to take instruction, deal with demanding situations and adversity and continue to excel.  Ranger School is some of the Army’s hardest training in high-stress, boot-camp-from-hell situations: roughly 20 hours daily of grueling physical training and rucking, with food and sleep deprivation.  You’ll operate in rugged mountain conditions and conduct amphibious assault and survival training in swamp and jungle environments.  The purpose of Ranger training is to develop combat and leadership skills under the kinds of physically and mentally challenging conditions Soldiers often experience in actual combat.  Those who endure the training are true leaders, in and out of combat. 

The first segment of training, or Benning Phase, is known as the Ranger Assessment Phase.  It is extremely demanding on your body and mind.  Your stamina and physical and mental toughness will be tested.  In fact, 61% of all failures occur in the first 3-days of Ranger School.  

Mountain Phase is 21 days and nights in the rugged mountains.  There Rangers conduct small-unit combat operations, including ambushes and raids, under extremely adverse natural conditions and high emotional stress, with little food and sleep.

Finally, Florida Phase is a 16 day phase where you will continue patrolling and using survival skills in a jungle and swamp environment under high-stress mental and physical conditions and conduct amphibious, small boat and swamp-crossing operations in an intense combat environment.  

To attend Ranger School, you must be an E-4 or above, and of course a volunteer.  Pre-Ranger training is mandatory for National Guard Soldiers and is held at the National Guard’s Warrior Training Center (WTC).  There, candidates are put through tough physical fitness tests, road marches, land navigation and assault courses.  The overall graduation rate of Ranger School is 50%.  Think you have what it takes?  Get with your Training NCO and start training!

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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9 thoughts on “Army Ranger School-An Overview”

  1. I have always been in awe of the brave people that are willing to endure Army Ranger School for the bettering of their career. It sounds so immensely grueling not only physically but emotionally. I can just imagine in those first few days as you watch so many of your colleagues quitting, wondering if you really do have what it takes. But I’m sure that is also an immense motivation to keep going and stick it out. Army Rangers definitely have so much to be proud of.

  2. You’ve got to have thick skin and a lot of heart to be an Army Ranger. The graduation rate is 50% for a reason. I think some underestimate the physical, mental and emotional toll it takes. I think it’s good that the graduation rate is so low. It means that much more to those who do make it through. It proves that they are indeed the BEST OF THE BEST!

  3. I give a huge thumbs up to any soldier willing to volunteer for ranger school. As my basic training was in Ft Benning, I regularly interacted with and watched those who were enduring the hardships of army ranger school. It takes not only a physical well being, but a mental and emotional one too.

    I would highly recommend all leaders to strongly consider Ranger training. It can help you now, as well as later in life too.

    Rangers Lead The Way!

  4. I agree, Chuck. There are not too many senior NCOs and Officers within the Combat Arms branch who don’t have a tab. Conversely, I have also seen some very superior leaders out there who don’t have a tab. The way I see it, the tab doesn’t make the leader…but, it can’t hurt, right? I think if you have the aptitude to be a leader, then Ranger school is a great professional development tool…but, if you are going to prove how much of a “hard-ass” you are, then you’re just another Soldier with a tab. I akin it to those who go to college, have the diploma, but can’t apply anything they have learned…

    1. I agree that the Ranger Tab doesn’t necessarily make anyone a better leader. But it does prove they have the skill and mental toughness to make it through the course. And that’s worth something. As I see it, it’s almost a pre-requisite to making into the upper ranks (COL and beyond) in the Infantry branch on Active Duty. The Guard is a little different, but it still helps.

      1. I would agree there. I mean, as an Infantry PL I would want one just because you show up day 1 on the job and your Soldiers instantly think, “well, at least he knows his shit and isn’t weak”. Gives your guys instance confidence in your abilities…

  5. At one point in my career, I really thought about Ranger School. Since I was a Logistics Officer, it wasn’t possible for me to get a slot. Had I been combat arms, things would have been much different. My advice is for anyone serving in a combat arms branch to go to this school. Look at any Infantry General or CSM and you will see that at least 9 out of every 10 of them have a Ranger Tab. To me, that speaks volumes about the leadership experience you get.

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