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Ranger School Facts

by Maria Scinto

U.S. Army Ranger School is 61 days of intense effort designed to train troops who are likely to engage in close combat. Although it is open to both officers and enlisted personnel, Ranger School graduates are expected to take on leadership roles in the squads and platoons to which they are assigned.

Not Just for Army Rangers

Although Ranger School began in 1950 as a way to train Airborne Ranger units for the Korean War, the training was opened to all Army combat units a year later and today is open to all army occupational specialties. Members of other branches of service such as Marines, Air Force and Navy personnel can also attend Ranger School, as can service members from other countries. Some notable Ranger School graduates include General Colin Powell, General David Patraeus and General Vijay Kumar Singh, who is the Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

Three Phases

Ranger School consists of three phases: a crawl phase, a walk phase and a run phase. The 20-day crawl phase, which takes place at Fort Benning, is designed to test a soldier's physical and mental preparedness and includes such activities as 5-mile runs, 12-mile ruck marches and an obstacle course. The walk phase, which also lasts 20 days, takes place in the mountains and teaches students to operate in small units under adverse conditions. The run phase lasts for 16 days and is held in Florida. During this phase, students will learn stream-crossing techniques, small boat operations, ship-to-shore operations and other skills needed for jungle and swamp combat.

50 Percent Pass Rate

Approximately 50 percent of all students attending Ranger School pass the course, according to data collected between 2006 and 2011. Of the failures, 60 percent occur during the first four days. Some 75 percent of students who make it through the first week will eventually go on to complete that first phase and move on to mountain training, while 94 percent of students who begin this second phase will move on to the final phase -- although 18 percent of them will need to repeat the mountain phase. About 98 percent of students who make it to the Florida training will graduate from Ranger School, although this phase also has an 18 percent repeat rate.

High Stress

Ranger School is designed to stress the students as much as possible. Soldiers will cover at least 200 miles of ground on foot while carrying loads of 60 to 90 pounds. They must survive on only 2,200 calories per day and will get at most five hours of sleep a night, although some nights they will not sleep at all. According to Nicholas Davies, author of "Death Before Dishonour: True Stories of The Special Forces Heroes Who Fight Global Terror," students will finish the course in the worst physical shape of their lives.

About the Author

I am a former librarian turned freelance writer and researcher - I got my start writing for writeforcash.com, and this was when I first learned I could turn my talent for research into writing articles on just about any topic. Parenting is my favorite topic - I am the homeschooling work-at-home single mom of a four-year-old son. I also enjoy writing about pets (I have a Chow/Husky mix, 2 orange-striped kittens, and a hermit crab - unless he died since I last checked - and I used to have a fish but the kittens ate him), food (I like to cook, like to eat out, just plain love to eat), dieting (my metabolism isn't so crazy about all this eating), TV (my son and I are up on all the latest cartoon series). I have regular gigs writing about political questions (for askquestions.org) and all things Virginian (for Northern Virginia Magazine) and also work as a fact checker, web editor, and data annotator.

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