Becoming a ranger is one of the hardest things anyone can do. It’s a supreme understatement to say that a lot goes into the program. From Ranger School to the field, rangers constantly push their minds and bodies to their absolute limits. Picture plunging into a pond from a 70-foot height or doing chin-ups from a dead hang. Helicopter extractions . . . parachute jumps . . . It’s all part of the process, and rangers have to perform these tasks with perfection. Find out what these men and women go through to become the elite warriors America depends on and earn the title of Army Ranger.
Although rangers have technically been around for a few hundred years, Ranger School didn’t start until 1950. All students volunteer for this, but they must meet several requirements before they can even be considered for admission. Just one requirement is that the applicant must be actively serving in some branch of the military already. Through the program’s rigorous, eight-week training, these elite soldiers learn all forms of combat. They are led through three different phases of training: Benning, Mountain, and Florida. These phases used to be titled “crawl, walk, and run” respectively but then recently changed to reflect the locations of each phase. Since Ranger School began, 27 people have lost their lives there, and when you read about all the obstacles the students go through in those two months, it’s not hard to see why. The hardest part for some is just staying awake, since they only get about four hours of sleep each night.
A Motto to Lead Them All
The motto “Rangers lead the way” was coined in 1944 by General Norman Cota and is still used today.
The Ranger Creed
The Ranger Creed is created using the word “ranger” as an acronym. Just reading the creed can give you goosebumps. You really understand how prepared, powerful, and dedicated these rangers are. “Surrender is not a Ranger word” proves that they have the mental strength to push through to the end. But the last line, the ending “R” in RANGER, is truly profound: “Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.” Everything they do and everything they are revolves around being mentally, emotionally, and physically elite. It’s not about being the best they can be; it’s about being the best anyone can be. It’s about rising up to any challenge, no matter the cost.
In training, rangers go through intense operations to prepare for anything they might encounter out in the field. Some of the obstacles they go through are well known by civilians and military alike. Ever heard of the worm pit? This is a shallow but muddy obstacle where the rangers must crawl on their stomachs and backs underneath knee-high barbed wire. Easy, right?
Outside of school the rangers as a whole have led numerous important and renowned missions since their founding hundreds of years ago. A few of these include:
Operation Eagle Claw (1980)
Operation Urgent Fury (1983)
Operation Just Cause (1989)
Operation Enduring Freedom (2001)
We appreciate and revere these dedicated warriors. Thank you for doing what no one else can.