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Special Operations Overview

Called upon to perform the toughest duties in the armed forces, Special Operations Forces directly affect the protection of America's freedom.

Army

Army Special Forces
Learn More About the Green Berets

75th Ranger Regiment
Learn More About the Army Rangers

160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Learn More About the Night Stalkers

Marines

Marine Force Reconnaissance
Learn More About Marine RECON

Marine Corps Special Operations Command
Learn More About Marine MARSOC

Marine RECON Missions
Learn More About Marine RECON

Air Force

Air Force Special Tactics
Learn More About Special Tactics

Army Ranger Training

US Army Rangers

Like all Ranger candidates you will begin with nine weeks of Boot Camp. Upon completion of Basic Training you will attend Advanced Individual Training to earn your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). This training varies in length depending on your selected MOS.

Tip: Each MOS also has its own specific ASVAB requirements. Scoring high on the ASVAB is key to being able to choose an MOS that offers the highest bonuses and the best career opportunities in the Army. Visit our Ace the ASVAB section to learn how to make sure you qualify for the bonuses and career options you deserve.

After graduating AIT your training will continue at Army Airborne School and then on to the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) in Fort Benning, GA.

Army Airborne School
Your next step will be to complete Airborne training. Airborne School is a unique experience requiring special dedication and a desire to be challenged mentally and physically. This three-week course, also known as Basic Airborne Training, teaches you the techniques involved in parachuting from airplanes and landing safely. The final test includes a non-assisted jump.

Airborne school is broken down into 3 weeks. The following explains the training you must complete for each week.

Ground Week:
You start with an intensive program of instruction to build individual airborne skills. These skills prepare you to make a parachute jump and land safely. You will train on the mock door, the 34-foot tower and the lateral drift apparatus.

Tower Week:
Tower Week completes your individual skill training and builds your team effort skills. To go forward to Jump Week, you must qualify on the Swing Lander Trainer (SLT), master the mass exit procedures from the 34-foot tower, and pass all physical training requirements.

Jump Week:
During Jump Week, you must successfully complete five jumps at 1,250 feet from a C-130 or C-141 aircraft. If you successfully meet the course requirements you will be granted an additional skill identifier and will be authorized to wear the coveted "Silver Wing" on your uniform.

When you graduate from Airborne School you will be assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment to attend the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP).

The Ranger Indoctrination Program
The Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) begins when the Ranger Liaison picks up the Ranger candidates at Airborne School - just after graduation - to immediately begin the program. The program is designed to determine if you are suitable for service in the 75th Ranger Regiment.

The four-week program consists of physical training and continuous preparation for service in the Regiment. It is important that you learn the operational procedures, equipment, and the standards of the Regiment prior to your assignment.

    The Ranger Indoctrination Program includes the following training:

  • Daily Physical Training
  • Ranger History test
  • Map Reading
  • APF
  • Airborne Operation
  • Ranger Standards
  • Day and night land navigation
  • 5-mile run
  • Combatives
  • Knots
  • Combat Water Survival Test
  • 6, 8 and 10-mile road marches
  • Driver Training (DDC Card)
  • Fast Rope Training
  • Combat Lifesaver certification
    To pass RIP and qualify for the 75th Ranger Regiment you must meet the following criteria:
  • Score 60 percent on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) in the 17 to 21 age group
  • Complete a 5-mile run in less than 8 minutes per mile
  • Successfully complete the Combat Water Survival Test (CWST) - You must be able to complete 15 meters in BDU's, boots and LBE.
  • You must complete 2 of 3 road marches, one of which must be a 10-mile road march
  • You must score at least 70 percent on all exams

Once you have completed RIP, you will finally be a Ranger and you will receive an assignment to either the 75th Ranger Regiment Headquarters or one of the three Ranger Battalions.

Ranger School
After you have proven yourself at your Ranger Battalion your next step will be to go to Ranger School. This school is a requirement for becoming a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the Rangers.

Ranger School is one of the toughest training schools a soldier can volunteer for. Army Ranger NCOs are experts in leading soldiers on difficult missions-and to do this they need rigorous training. For over two months, Ranger students train to exhaustion, pushing the limits of their minds and bodies.

There are three distinct phases of Ranger School that require soldiers to make quick decisions in adverse situations-these phases are called "crawl," "walk" and "run."

Crawl (Darby) Phase
The Crawl Phase lasts 20 days. It's designed to assess and develop the necessary physical and mental skills to complete combat missions and the remainder of Ranger School successfully. If you are not in top physical condition when you report to the Ranger School, you will have extreme difficulty keeping up with the fast pace of Ranger training, especially during this first phase.

Walk (Mountain) Phase
The Walk Phase takes place in the mountains and lasts 21 days. During this phase, you will receive instruction on military mountaineering tasks as well as techniques for employing squads and platoons for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment. You will further develop your ability to command and control a platoon-sized patrol through planning, preparing and executing a variety of combat patrol missions.

Run (Swamp) Phase
The Run Phase of Ranger School continues to develop your combat arms functional skills. You must be capable of operating effectively under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress. This is accomplished through exercises in extended platoon-level patrol operations in a swamp environment. Run Phase training further develops your ability to lead small units on 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.

For guides on how to physically prepare for Airborne Training, visit the Military.com Fitness Center.

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