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Ranger Training Brigade

Ranger training at Fort Benning, Georgia, began in September of 1950 with the formation and training of 17 Airborne Ranger companies during the Korean War by the Ranger Training Command. In October, 1951, the Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School established the Ranger Department and extended Ranger training to all combat units in the Army. The first Ranger class for individual candidates graduated on 1 March, 1952. On 1 November, 1987, the Ranger Department reorganized into the Ranger Training Brigade, and established four Ranger Training Battalions.

The Ranger Training Brigade's mission is to conduct the Ranger and Long Range Surveillance Leader courses to develop the leadership skills, confidence and competence of students by requiring them to perform effectively as small unit leaders in tactically realistic environments.

The Ranger course is designed to further develop leaders who are physically and mentally tough and self-disciplined and challenges them to think, act and react effectively in stress approaching that found in combat. The course is over nine weeks in duration and divided into three phases: Benning phase, Fort Benning, Georgia; Mountain phase, Dahlonega, Georgia; and Swamp phase, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The Long Range Surveillance Leader course is designed to train long range surveillance leaders to better prepare them for the training and tactical leadership of their units/teams.

The Benning Phase of Ranger training is designed to assess and then to develop the military skills, physical and mental endurance, stamina, and confidence a soldier must have to successfully accomplish combat missions. It is also designed to teach the Ranger student to properly sustain himself, his subordinates, and maintain his equipment under difficult field conditions during the subsequent phases of Ranger training. If a student is not in TOP PHYSICAL CONDITION when he reports to the Ranger course, he will have extreme difficulty keeping up with the fast pace of Ranger training, especially the initial phase.

The Benning Phase is executed in two parts. The first part conducted at Camp Rogers in the Harmony Church area of Fort Benning. This phase consists of an APFT consisting of 49 Push-ups, 59 Sit-ups, and two mile run in running shoes in 15:12 minutes or less. In addition, applicant must execute six chin-ups (Palms facing toward the face). Combat water survival test (CWST), 5-mile run, 3-mile runs with an obstacle course, a 16-mile foot march, night and day land navigation tests, medical considerations class, rifle bayonet, pugil stick and combatives (hand-to-hand). Advanced physical training assures physical and mental endurance and the stamina required for enhancing basic Ranger characteristics, commitment, confidence and toughness. Additionally, the student completes the water confidence test at Hurley Hill (Victory Pond), terrain association, demolitions, patrol base/ ORP and an airborne refresher jump at Fryar Drop Zone.

The second part of the Benning Phase is conducted at nearby Camp William O. Darby. The emphasis at Camp Darby is on the instruction in and execution of squad combat patrol operations. The Ranger student receives instruction on boxing, fieldcraft training, executes the Darby Queen Obstacle Course and learns the fundamentals of patrolling, the warning order/operations order format and communications. The fundamentals of combat patrol operations include battle drills, ambush and reconnaissance patrols , enter/clear a room, airborne operations, and air assault operations. This phase uses the crawl technique during the FTX, which allows the student to practice the principles and techniques that enables the patrol to successfully conduct reconnaissance and ambush patrol missions. The Ranger student must then demonstrate his expertise through a series of cadre and student led tactical patrol operations. As a result, the Ranger student gains tactical and technical proficiency, confidence in himself and prepares to move to the next phase of the course--the Mountain Phase. Following the Benning Phase students are transported to Camp Frank D. Merrill, Dahlonega, Ga.

During the Mountain Phase, students receive instruction on military mountaineering tasks as well as techniques for employing a squad and platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment. They further develop their ability to command and control a platoon size patrol through planning, preparing , and executing a variety of combat patrol missions. The Ranger student continues to learn how to sustain himself and his subordinates in the adverse conditions of the mountains. The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the emotional stress that the student encounters afford him the opportunity to gauge his own capabilities and limitations as well as that of his "Ranger Buddies". In addition to combat patrol operations, the Ranger student receives five days of training on military mountaineering. During the first three days of mountaineering (Lower) he learns about knots, belays, anchor points, rope management and the basic fundamentals of climbing and rappelling. His mountaineering training culminates with a two day exercise (Upper) at Yonah Mountain applying the skills learned during Lower Mountaineering. Each student must make all prescribed climbs to include a 200-foot night rappel at Yonah Mountain to continue in the Course. During the two FTXs, Ranger students also perform patrol missions requiring the use of their mountaineering skills.

Combat patrol missions are directed against a conventionally equipped threat force in a low intensity conflict scenario. These patrol missions are conducted both day and night over a four day squad field training exercise (FTX) and a platoon five day FTX that includes moving cross country over mountains, conducting vehicle ambushes, raiding communications/mortar sites, and conducting a river crossing or scaling a steep sloped mountain. The Ranger student reaches his objective in several ways: Cross-country movement, air assaults into small landing zones on the sides of mountains or an 8-10 mile foot march over the Tennessee Valley Divide (TVD). The stamina and commitment of the Ranger student is stressed to the maximum. At any time, he may be selected to lead tired, hungry, physically expended students to accomplish yet another combat patrol mission.

At the conclusion of the Mountain Phase, the students move by bus or parachute assault into the Third and final (Florida) Phase of Ranger training, conducted at Camp Rudder, near Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The third or capstone Phase of Ranger School is conducted at Camp James E. Rudder (Auxiliary Field #6), Eglin AFB, Florida. Emphasis during this phase is to continue the development of the Ranger student's combat arms functional skills. He must be capable of operating effectively under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress. This is accomplished through practical exercises in extended platoon level patrol operations in a Jungle/Swamp environment. Training further develops the students' ability to plan for and lead small units on independent and coordinated airborne, air assault, small boat, ship to shore, and dismounted combat patrol operations in a low-intensity combat environment against a well trained, sophisticated enemy.

The Florida Phase continues the progressive, realistic OPFOR scenario. As the scenario develops, the students receive "In-Country" technique training that assists them in accomplishing the tactical missions in the phase. Technique training includes: small boat operations, ship to shore operations, expedient stream crossing techniques, and skills needed to survive and operate in a jungle/swamp environment.

The Ranger students are updated on the scenario that eventually commits the unit to combat during techniques training. The 10-day FTX is a fast-paced, highly stressful, challenging exercise in which the students are evaluated on their ability to apply small unit tactics/techniques. They apply the tactics/techniques of raids and ambushes to accomplish their missions. Upon completion of the Florida Phase of training, students conduct a airborne insertion into Fort Benning.

High standards are required and maintained despite the stressful environment in Ranger training. The Ranger course produces a mentally hardened soldier, who possesses an enhanced capability to perform combat arms related associated functional skills and is more confident in his ability to overcome obstacles, withstand the stresses of combat and accomplish his mission under extremely adverse conditions.

During the Ranger course, the Ranger proves he can overcome seemingly insurmountable mental and physical challenges. He has demonstrated, while under simulated combat conditions, that he has acquired the professional skills and techniques necessary to plan, organize, coordinate, and conduct small unit operations. He has demonstrated that he has mastered basic skills needed to plan and execute dismounted small-unit day and night operations, low altitude mountaineering, and infiltration as well as exfiltration techniques via land, air, and sea. As a result of proving that he can successfully accomplish these tasks during the Ranger course, he is authorized to wear the Ranger Tab.

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