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How To Become An Army Ranger

Table of Contents

So, you want to be an Army Ranger? I get it—the tan beret, the pride of being part of an elite unit, the challenge of pushing yourself to the limit. It’s a dream for many, but let’s be honest—it’s not for the faint of heart.

If you think you have what it takes to become a Ranger, prepare for a journey that will test you in every way possible. Every day will be a challenge, from the grueling physical training to the mentally demanding coursework. But if you’re willing to work and never give up, you’ll earn the right to wear the Ranger tab and join a brotherhood of warriors who are always ready to answer the call of duty.

This post will explain exactly what you must do to become an Army Ranger. From the physical requirements to the mental toughness, we’ll cover it all. Ready to see if you have what it takes? Let’s go!

                                    How To Become An Army Ranger

Table of Contents:

What Is an Army Ranger?

The Army Rangers are the best of the best. They’re an elite group of soldiers that specialize in special operations missions. These guys are on another level.

Rangers are a special operations force that conducts raids, airfield seizures, and other challenging missions. They’re a rapid deploying force that can engage the enemy anywhere in the world. The 75th Ranger Regiment is the Army’s premier light infantry unit. It comprises some of the most physically and mentally tough soldiers out there. Rangers are trained to operate in all environments, from urban combat to mountain warfare. They’re experts in special operations tactics and techniques.

As part of the special operations community, Rangers often work alongside other elite units like the Navy SEALs and Delta Force. They’re called upon to handle the most challenging and sensitive missions. I’ve seen firsthand the impact Rangers can have on the battlefield. Their ability to strike hard and fast is unmatched. When Rangers are on the ground, the enemy knows they’re in for a rough day.

Difference Between Ranger School and Ranger Regiment

Understanding the difference between Ranger School and the 75th Ranger Regiment is essential. Ranger School is a 61-day course that’s open to all members of the military. It teaches small-unit tactics and leadership skills in a tough, realistic environment. Graduating Ranger School earns you the coveted Ranger Tab. The 75th Ranger Regiment, on the other hand, is an actual special operations unit. You must pass the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) to join the Regiment. Only the most qualified soldiers make it through RASP to become members of this elite unit. So, while Ranger School is a leadership course, the Ranger Regiment is a special operations force that conducts real-world missions. Both are incredibly challenging, but being a member of the Regiment is a whole different level.

Requirements How To Become an Army Ranger

So you want to be an Army Ranger?  To even be considered for the Regiment, enlisted soldiers have to meet some basic requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 17 years old but not older than 35
  • Have a General Technical (GT) score of 105 or higher
  • Qualify and volunteer for Airborne training
  • Pass the Ranger Fitness Test (58 push-ups, 69 sit-ups, 5-mile run in 40 minutes or less, six pull-ups)
  • No major medical issues

Meeting these minimum standards is just the first step. From there, you must prove yourself in the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP).

Officer Requirements

Officers have to meet even higher standards to join the Ranger Regiment. In addition to the enlisted requirements, officers must:

  • Be an officer of grade O-1 through O-4 (2LT – MAJ)
  • Qualify for a Top Secret security clearance
  • Have a Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Be a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School

Most Ranger officers come from combat arms branches, such as infantry and armor. Leading a platoon of Rangers requires tactical expertise and unparalleled leadership ability.

Physical Fitness Standards

Rangers are known for their elite level of physical fitness. The Ranger Fitness Test, or RFT, assesses a candidate’s physical readiness. To pass the RFT, you must complete:

  • 58 push-ups in 2 minutes
  • 69 sit-ups in 2 minutes
  • 6 pull-ups
  • 5-mile run in 40 minutes or less

And that’s just the minimum standard. Most successful RASP candidates far exceed these numbers. In Ranger School, you’ll be pushed to your physical and mental breaking point. Sleep deprivation, hunger, and constant physical exertion will test your limits. Only the most dedicated and resilient soldiers make it through.

Age Limits

The 75th Ranger Regiment seeks young, fit, and motivated soldiers. Enlisted soldiers must be at least 17 but not older than 35. This age range ensures that soldiers are mature enough to handle the demands of special operations but still young enough to endure the physical rigors. For officers, the age limit is a bit more flexible. Most Ranger officers are Lieutenants and Captains in their mid-20s to early 30s. However, age waivers are possible for exceptional candidates. The bottom line is that the Ranger Regiment wants soldiers in their physical prime who can handle the most demanding challenges imaginable. Age is just one factor in determining if you have what it takes.

Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP)

Land Navigation

Rangers have to be experts in land navigation. In RASP, you’ll learn how to read a map, use a compass, and navigate over tough terrain – both during the day and at night. You’ll be given a map, a compass, a protractor, and a set of coordinates. Your mission is to find all the points in the allotted time, often while carrying a heavy ruck. Land navigation is as much a mental challenge as it is physical. You have to think clearly and make decisions while exhausted and under stress. It’s a crucial skill for any Ranger.

Patrolling Skills

Patrolling is the bread and butter of Ranger operations. In RASP, you’ll learn the fundamentals of patrolling, from planning and preparation to execution and post-mission recovery. You’ll practice squad-level tactics, learning to move silently and communicate effectively as a team. You’ll conduct ambushes, raids, and recon missions in various environments, from dense woods to urban streets. The key to success in patrolling is attention to detail. Every squad member has to know their role and execute it flawlessly. There’s no room for error in the Ranger Regiment.


Rangers are known for their expert marksmanship. In RASP, you’ll spend countless hours on the range honing your shooting skills. You’ll learn to engage targets from various distances, positions, and conditions. You’ll shoot in the rain, the dark, and the cold. You’ll practice close-quarters combat and learn to transition between weapons seamlessly. The goal is to make marksmanship second nature. Rangers have to be able to put rounds on target instinctively, without thinking. It’s a skill that can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield. RASP is designed to push you to your limits and beyond. It’s not just about learning skills – it’s about forging unbreakable bonds with your fellow Rangers. The men to your left and right will become your brothers, and you’ll rely on each other in the toughest situations imaginable. If you make it through RASP, you’ll earn the coveted Ranger Scroll and become a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. It’s an accomplishment that few can claim, and it’s just the beginning of your journey as an Army Ranger.

Ranger School

So you’ve made it through RASP and earned your place in the Ranger Regiment. Congratulations – but don’t get too comfortable. Your next challenge awaits at Ranger School. Ranger School is a 61-day course that pushes students to their absolute limits. It’s designed to test your leadership abilities and tactical skills in the most challenging environments imaginable.

Ranger School Phases

Ranger School is divided into three phases, each more difficult than the last. The Benning Phase takes place at Fort Benning, Georgia. This is where you’ll learn the fundamentals of squad-level operations and small-unit tactics. You’ll practice patrolling, ambushes, and raids in a simulated combat environment. The Mountain Phase moves to the mountains of northern Georgia. Here, you’ll learn how to operate in high-altitude, mountainous terrain. You’ll practice cliff assaults, rappelling, and mountain survival techniques. Finally, the Swamp Phase takes place in the Florida swamps. This is where you’ll test your skills in a hot, humid, and unforgiving environment. You’ll conduct waterborne operations, small boat movements, and jungle warfare. Each phase is designed to push you to your breaking point. You’ll operate on minimal food and sleep, all while carrying heavy gear and executing complex missions. It’s as much a mental challenge as it is physical.

Benning Phase

The Benning Phase is all about learning the basics of small unit tactics. You’ll spend your days practicing patrols, ambushes, and raids on a simulated battlefield. You’ll learn how to plan and execute missions as a squad leader. You’ll practice giving operations orders, rehearsing, and leading your team under stress. The days are long, and the nights are short. You’ll be lucky to get a few hours of sleep between missions. And when you do sleep, it’s often in a fighting position or a patrol base. But the Benning Phase is just the beginning. It’s designed to weed out those who can’t handle the physical and mental demands of Ranger School. Only the strong survive.

Mountain Phase

The Mountain Phase takes place in the rugged terrain of the Chattahoochee National Forest. This is where you’ll learn the art of mountain warfare. You’ll practice rappelling, rock climbing, and cliff assaults. You’ll learn how to navigate steep terrain and survive in high altitudes. You’ll often conduct patrols and raids in the mountains while carrying heavy loads. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable. One day it might be sunny and warm, the next it could be snowing and freezing. You have to be prepared for anything. But the real challenge of the Mountain Phase is the lack of sleep and food. You’ll be operating on minimal rations and just a few hours of sleep per night. Your body will be pushed to its limit. It’s in the mountains that many Ranger students reach their breaking point. But those who persevere learn they’re capable of far more than they ever thought possible.

Swamp Phase

The final test of Ranger School takes place in the swamps of Florida. This is where you’ll put all your skills to the test in an unforgiving environment. You’ll conduct waterborne operations, small boat movements, and river crossings. You’ll practice jungle warfare tactics and learn to survive in the swamp. The humidity in Florida is oppressive. You’ll be constantly soaked in sweat and covered in bug bites. The terrain mixes thick vegetation and murky water, slowing and exhausting movement. But the Swamp Phase is about more than just physical challenges. It’s a test of your mental toughness and leadership abilities. You’ll be expected to lead patrols and make critical decisions while exhausted and under extreme stress. Many Ranger students say the Swamp Phase is the most challenging part of the course. But those who make it through have proven they have what it takes to lead soldiers in any environment.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate from Ranger School, you must prove your proficiency in leading squad and platoon-level missions. You’ll be graded on your ability to plan, prepare, and execute complex operations in various environments. You’ll also be evaluated on your combat skills, such as marksmanship, land navigation, and physical fitness. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll be judged on your leadership abilities and decision-making under stress.

Only about half of those who start Ranger School will make it to graduation. It’s a testament to the course’s difficulty and the Ranger Regiment’s high standards. But for those who earn the Ranger Tab, it’s an accomplishment that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They’ve proven they have the mental and physical toughness to lead soldiers in the most demanding situations imaginable.

Becoming an Army Ranger is not for the faint of heart. It requires exceptional physical fitness, mental toughness, and a dedication to excellence. But for those who have what it takes, the rewards are immeasurable. As a Ranger, you’ll be part of an elite brotherhood that stretches back generations. You’ll be able to serve your country at the highest level, taking on the toughest challenges and making a real difference in the world. If you’re up for the challenge, the Ranger Regiment awaits you. But be warned – it won’t be easy. You’ll be pushed to your limits and beyond, and you’ll have to dig deep to find the strength to keep going. But if you have the heart of a warrior and the drive to be the best, there’s no greater honor than serving as an Army Ranger. Rangers lead the way.

Key Takeaway: Want to be an Army Ranger? Gear up for extreme physical and mental tests. You’ll need top-notch fitness, sharp shooting skills, and the smarts for land nav. Prove yourself in RASP and Ranger School, where only the toughest earn their place in this elite brotherhood.

Life in the 75th Ranger Regiment

The 75th Ranger Regiment is the Army’s premier light infantry unit, specializing in raids and assault missions in hostile territory. It’s a tight-knit community spread across several locations.

Regimental Organization

The Ranger Regiment has four main components:

  • A Special Troops Battalion
  • 1st Ranger Battalion based at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia
  • 2nd Ranger Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington
  • 3rd Ranger Battalion, also at Fort Benning

Each Ranger battalion has three rifle companies and a headquarters company. The Regimental Special Troops Battalion provides support with specialized skills.

Deployment Cycle

Rangers maintain a high operational tempo. A typical Ranger can expect to deploy 8-10 times over a four year period, with deployments lasting 3-6 months. When not deployed, training never stops. Rangers constantly hone their skills in airborne ops, live fire exercises, mobility training, and joint exercises with other special operations forces. The goal is to be the most lethal fighting force on any battlefield.

Training and Exercises

Ranger training is highly demanding. It includes:

  • Airborne school
  • RASP 1 and 2 (Ranger Assessment and Selection)
  • SERE school (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape)
  • Ranger School

On top of that, Rangers regularly conduct training exercises in environments ranging from mountain warfare to jungle operations. Physical fitness is paramount. Rangers are expected to run 5 miles in under 40 minutes and ruck march 12 miles with a 45 lb pack in under 3 hours.

Specialized Roles within the Regiment

While every Ranger is a highly skilled infantryman, the Regiment has several specialized roles:

  • Snipers
  • Combat medics
  • Forward observers
  • Dog handlers
  • Communications specialists

Each role requires extensive additional training. For example, Ranger snipers attend a 5 week sniper school where they learn advanced marksmanship and stalking techniques.

Career Progression and Leadership Roles

The 75th Ranger Regiment offers unparalleled opportunities for leadership development and career progression. It’s a place where top performers are rewarded with increased responsibility.

Enlisted Career Path

Enlisted Rangers can progress from private to sergeant major over a 20+ year career. Along the way, they take on roles like:

  • Fire team leader
  • Squad leader
  • Platoon sergeant
  • First sergeant

Promotion is based on a combination of performance, potential, and time in grade. Outstanding Rangers can move up the ranks quickly.

Officer Career Path

Ranger officers typically start as platoon leaders and progress to company command. Top officers may be selected for battalion or even regimental command. Many Ranger officers go on to other prestigious assignments in units like the 82nd Airborne Division or Special Forces. Ranger experience is highly valued across the Army.

Leadership Positions

Leadership is the backbone of the Ranger Regiment. Small unit leaders have an exceptional degree of responsibility and autonomy. A Ranger platoon sergeant, for example, is responsible for the training, discipline, and combat readiness of a 40-man platoon. A typical day might include leading a 10-mile ruck march, overseeing marksmanship training, and counseling junior leaders.

Opportunities for Advanced Training

Rangers have access to some of the best training opportunities in the military. These include:

  • Jumpmaster school
  • Pathfinder school
  • Military free-fall school
  • Special Forces selection

Many Rangers join other elite units like the Special Forces or 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The skills learned in the Ranger Regiment provide an excellent foundation for even greater challenges.

Benefits and Challenges of Being an Army Ranger

Serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment is incredibly rewarding but comes with significant challenges. It’s not a path for the faint of heart.

Pride and Camaraderie

Rangers have immense pride in being part of such an elite unit. The Ranger Creed, with lines like “Never shall I fail my comrades” and “Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier,” encapsulates the Ranger ethos. The shared hardships of Ranger School and deployments forge an unbreakable bond. Rangers know they can always count on their brothers to their left and right. This sense of belonging is a key part of the Ranger identity.

Opportunities for Personal and Professional Growth

The Ranger Regiment is where you can push yourself to the absolute limit. You’ll be challenged mentally and physically daily. Many Rangers credit their time in the Regiment with making them the people they are today. The confidence that comes from leading soldiers in combat stays with you for life.

High Operational Tempo

The flip side of the coin is the high operational tempo. Rangers are always on the go, either training or deploying. Time at home with family is precious and often short. Maintaining relationships can be a challenge. Missed birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are part of the course. It takes a unique family to endure and support the Ranger lifestyle.

Mental and Physical Demands

The Ranger Regiment demands the best from its members. The standards are high, and the margin for error is slim. Rigorous training and challenging missions are the norm. Rangers are expected to endure hardships that would break most people. Sleep deprivation, hunger, and extreme environments are all part of the job. Rangers have to be mentally tough to persevere through adversity. But for those who can hack it, the rewards are immense. You’ll be part of a brotherhood with a proud history dating back to the 1700s. You’ll know that you’re one of the best of the best, belonging to a unit that truly lives up to its motto: “Rangers Lead the Way.”

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