Ranger News

The Ranger News Blog presents current news within the Ranger community; members and the public viewing our website can add comments.

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  • 05/09/2015 2:13 PM | Anonymous

    (Curtesy of the ledger-enquirer; by CHUCK WILLIAMS, May 8, 2015) 

    Ranger students tackle the Darby Queen obstacle course at Camp Darby, Sunday April 26, 2015. The Army's Ranger School, which has historically been open to males only allowed females to qualify for the Army's most elite training course as part of the military's gender integration assessment. At the beginning of Ranger School, 19 woman joined the course, and 8 females continued beyond Ranger Assessment Phase (RAP) Week.

    The U.S. Army Ranger School class that started nearly three weeks ago with 19 women will move to the next phase in the North Georgia mountains without any females, the Army announced Friday.

    The eight women who survived the first week of physical assessment did not make the cut when they were evaluated for their performance during the Camp Darby phase of the demanding 62-day, four-phase course that has never been open to women.

    The eight women and 101 men who did not make the cut in the Camp Darby phase will be picked up by the next class on Thursday and redo the nearly two weeks of training, according to an Army news release.

    “I had the opportunity to visit the Ranger students yesterday and was impressed that whether going forward to the mountains or recycling the Darby phase they were motivated to continue training and focused on successfully completing the Ranger course,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning.

    “They’re a strong group of soldiers, who are working their way through the U.S. Army’s most physically and mentally demanding course.”

    This is the first time in its more than six-decade history that elite Ranger training has been open to women. There are currently no plans to open up other Ranger courses to women, but those who recycle will be allowed to complete the process just as any male soldier would.

    A class of 399 soldiers started the course April 19. More than half the initial class was dropped in the first week. When the class moved to the Camp Darby phase after the physical assessment, 71 students who had been recycled from previous classes were added, according to the Army.

    Of those 263 who started the current Darby phase, 115 will move to the mountains — the third of four phases. The remainder have either been recycled or dropped.

    Each student has up to three recycle opportunities to try to complete the leadership course. Less than 30 percent of all Rangers go straight through the course without recycling.

    Those who are recycled and must repeat a phase face a more difficult challenge than those who go straight through the course and graduate, said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis L. Smith, who owns Uncommon Athlete Inc., a downtown Columbus workout and training facility. In Smith’s final Army assignment three years ago, he was the command sergeant major for the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade.

    “In my opinion, physically and mentally they have made life harder,” Smith said Friday. “But I am a glass half full kind of guy. They can use this to their advantage. They know what is coming next.”

    Once the initial Ranger Assessment Phase was complete, the soldiers were put into small units and had to work as a team to plan and execute military missions. The soldiers in the Camp Darby phase were scored by Ranger instructors on their patrol leadership skills, spot checks on their ability to do certain tasks and peer evaluations.

    They did these assignments with a lack of food and sleep to create stressful situations that simulate combat.

    The 109 students who recycled Friday will stay in the school and work around Camp Rogers and Camp Darby as they wait for the next class to roll through.

    “They are not going anywhere; they are there,” Smith said. “The good news for them is they get three meals a day and fairly good sleep. They will be doing details that need to be done. They could be cutting grass or mending fences. They will also be going to some classes.”

    The training for the 115 who passed Friday now moves to Camp Merrill near Dahlonega, Ga., where the Ranger candidates will continue the small-unit training they started a couple of weeks ago at Camp Darby on the eastern edge of Fort Benning.

    Once the mountain phase is completed, the training moves to Camp Rudder in the swamps of the Florida panhandle near Destin. This class is scheduled to graduate at Fort Benning on June 19.

    The standards for the course have not been altered, according to Army officials.

    This Ranger Course class is part of an Army-wide evaluation of women’s roles in the military branch.

    All of the women who started this course had successfully completed a two-week Ranger Assessment Training Course at the Warrior Training Center on Fort Benning.

    The training course mirrors the first couple of weeks of Ranger School with the physical fitness test, land navigation and marching. There were 113 women who went through the pre-Ranger course and 20 were slotted for the class that started April 19. When it came time to report, 19 of the 20 women reported. Three of the 19 failed the initial physical assessment. Eight more were dropped after the first week, leaving the eight who were recycled Friday.

    The names of the female soldiers in this class have not been released by the Army. Some of the Army leadership have expressed concerns about the pressure they could face by being identified.

    Only about 3 percent of Army soldiers have earned the Ranger tab.

  • 04/02/2015 8:03 PM | Anonymous

    FORT MEADE, Md. (April 2, 2015) -- Six more women have qualified to attend the first Army Ranger course to include women, bringing to 12, the number of female Soldiers eligible for the elite school.

    The six women successfully finished the Ranger Training Assessment Course, or RTAC, March 19, along with 25 of the 85 men who began that two-week course.

    The six women were among 34 female Soldiers who began that RTAC, March 6, on Fort Benning, Georgia, which hosts both the RTAC and the Ranger course.

    Integrating women into the Ranger program comes as the Army opens jobs to women that were previously closed to them. The physically and mentally grueling, two-month Ranger School Assessment begins, April 20.

    "This class reaffirmed that RTAC, just like Ranger School, is very tough," said Maj. William Woodard Jr., A Company commander, Army National Guard Warrior Training Center on Fort Benning, which conducts the RTAC "The standards are the same during the gender-integrated RTAC iterations, and they won't change."

    Five women qualified during the first iteration of the gender-integrated RTAC in January. One woman qualified during the second RTAC in February. The final gender-integrated RTAC runs April 3-18.

    Not all Soldiers are required to attend the two-week RTAC before attending the Ranger School. However, successfully completing an RTAC is mandatory for all female Soldiers, who want to attend the Ranger course. Additionally, all National Guard Soldiers, who want to attend the Ranger course, must also successfully complete an RTAC. Active-duty male Soldiers, who do not work in a physically demanding environment, may also attend an RTAC.

    RTAC assesses the physical and mental abilities of the Ranger hopefuls through a series of rigorous tests of their mental and physical limits, including fitness challenges, navigating terrain, and carrying out infantry tactics.

    For more ARNEWS stories, visit www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService, or Twitter@ArmyNewsService



  • 02/08/2015 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    First Five Women Green-Lighted for Ranger School

    Military.com New (by Matthew Cox)

    Five female soldiers have passed the pre-Ranger course at Fort Benning, Ga., making them the first women who will attend U.S. Army Ranger School this spring.

    The five females successfully completed the Ranger Training Assessment Course, or RTAC, Jan. 30 alongside 53 males at the Army National Guard's Warrior Training Center at Benning.

    The first integrated RTAC class began with 122 students: 26 women and 96 men.

    "This first iteration of an integrated RTAC has provided significant lessons-learned as we conduct a deliberate and professional way forward to the integrated assessment in April," Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, said in a recent press release.

    Three other RTAC classes will be held prior to the Ranger Course Assessment, which begins April 20. The final three RTAC courses with male and female students will be conducted Feb. 6-21, March 6-21 and April 3-18.

    This historic pilot program and assessment comes amid increasing demand in recent years to open up to women all military specialties, including infantry. Army leadership is open to the idea, but insists there will be no lowering of standards.

    The effort is the result of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's January 2013 directive that all services open combat-arms roles to women that so far have been reserved for men. The services have until 2016 to make this happen.

    Ranger School is a punishing ordeal designed to push combat leaders, both officers and sergeants, to their mental and physical limits. About half of all candidates fail to earn the coveted, gold and black Ranger tab.

    RTAC was designated a pre-requisite for all women who wish to be part of the Ranger Course Assessment. The course is designed to improve the combat arms functional skills of officer and enlisted volunteers. It assesses eligible Army active duty, National Guard and foreign military soldiers on their ability to meet the challenges of Ranger School.

    How female students will fare remains to be seen, but past studies have indicated they are likely more often to sustain injuries associated with combat training and combat than their male counterparts.

    Historically, more than half of the soldiers who complete RTAC will successfully complete Ranger School, according to the release.

    RTAC instructors were "impressed with the level of physical fitness and dedication of the majority of female volunteers," Lt. Col. Edmund "Beau" Riely, commander of ARNG Warrior Training Center, said in the release.

    The two-week long RTAC consists of two phases. The first phase mirrors the assessment phase at Ranger School and is designed to assess a soldier's physical and mental abilities. During this phase, a student conducts a PT test, a swim test, land navigation, and a 6-mile foot march.

    The second phase of RTAC is a field training exercise. It's designed to train soldiers on troop-leading procedures and patrolling, skills which will be used extensively during Ranger School.

    -- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com


  • 01/26/2015 9:35 AM | Anonymous

    John Hugh Hartwell, 91, passed away January 22, 2015. Born Nov. 26, 1923 to C. R. and Kate (Sturtevant) Hartwell in Hinsdale, IL. 89 year resident of Grandview Heights, Veteran of U.S. Army, WW II where he was a member of Merrill’s Marauders and was awarded the Silver and Bronze Stars. Loved and remembered by many for coaching Little and Pony League Baseball. Member of First Community Church, Past-President of Bobcat Boosters, member of the Rooks and former member of the Tri-Village Lions. Preceded in death by daughter Sue Blevins, brother Philip and sister Carolyn. Survived by wife Gloria; daughters Karen (Rande) Mack and Kathy (Attila) Szabo; son Patrick, son-in-law Ric Blevins; grandchildren Erica Blevins, Leah Mack (Sam) Ore, Riley Mack; sister Ann Ligett. The family will receive friends on Saturday, January 31, 3-6 pm at the DEYO-DAVIS FUNERAL HOME, 1578 W. First Ave., Grandview Hts. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be made at www.deyodavis.com

    Charitable donations may be made to:

    American Cancer Society
    5555 Frantz Road, Dublin OH 43017
    Tel: 1-800-227-2345
    Web: http://www.cancer.org

  • 12/28/2014 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    SGM (retired) Virgil Glen Geiger, Jr. passed away October 25, 2014 at his home in Childersburg, Alabama.  Glen, formerly of Semmes, was born August 2, 1949, in Mobile, AL.  Glen was preceded in death by his father Virgil Glen Geiger, Sr., mother Gwendolyn Deas Stewart and stepfather Lawrence M. Stewart. He is survived by his wife, Susan Geiger, of New Llano, Louisiana , two sons by his first Wife Maribel Barrias of the Republic of Panama. The sons are Major (USAF) Jose Antonio Geiger (Raihana) stationed in Great Britain and their three children (Omar, Yasmin, and Sarah) and son, Jonathan Glen Geiger of Childersburg, Alabama. Brother, Alex Stewart (Robbie) of Childersburg, Alabama. He was a graduate of Mary G. Montgomery High School (Class of 1967) and Troy State University. He served 23 years in the United States Army, serving from 1975 to 1998 retired at the rank of Sergeant Major. Virgil served his country at various locations in the US; including Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Lewis, Washington, and Ranger Training camps in Dahlonega, Georgia and Dugway, Utah. He served overseas in Asia, Europe, Central America, and Middle East. His awards and decorations include legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (5 awards), Army Good Conduct Medal (7 awards), National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Award, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinders Badge, and Ranger Tab. Glen loved his family, fellow Christians at Doctrinal Studies Bible Church, United States of America, the flag of this great nation, and all the service members of the different branches of the military.

    Burial was at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama.


  • 12/05/2014 11:05 PM | Anonymous

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 5, 2014) - Staff Sgt. Matthew Ammerman, a native of Noblesville, Ind., was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) when he died Dec. 3, 2014, as a result of wounds received in combat.

    “Staff Sgt. Matthew Ammerman was an exceptional Soldier in all regards.  He showed himself to be a standout shortly after arrival in the unit and his efforts have made an impact on his unit and our mission.  We, as a nation, are fortunate to have men like Matt,” said Lt. Col. Tommy Stoner, commander of the 7th SFG (A)’s 3rd Battalion.  “He not only represented what we should all aspire to be, but he lived it.  His loss is a great blow and he will be missed and mourned by this unit.  Our focus will be supporting his family in any way possible and ensuring that they are taken care of during this difficult process.”

    Ammerman joined the Army in July 2004, attending basic and advanced individual training as well as the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia.  He was then assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Battalion (Airborne) based at Fort Richardson, Alaska, as an anti-armor specialist.  Ammerman deployed twice with the unit, once to Iraq in 2006 for 14 months, and later to Afghanistan in 2009 for 12 months, serving as an assistant gunner, fire team leader and squad leader.

    In May of 2011, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment based at Fort Stewart, Ga. and served as a senior sniper and squad leader with the battalion.

    He volunteered for Special Forces in 2012, graduated in 2013 as a Special Forces communications sergeant and was assigned to 3rd Bn., 7th SFG (A) in July,2014.  He deployed in late fall of 2014 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    Ammerman’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and NATO Medal.

    He was also the recipient of the Special Forces Tab, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge and the Driver and Mechanic Badge.


  • 10/28/2014 5:24 AM | Anonymous

    Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert “Bob” Gallagher undefined who parachuted into Panama during Operation Just Cause, served as a platoon sergeant with Task Force Ranger in the Mogadishu, Somalia, battle made famous by “Black Hawk Down,” and fought on despite being wounded as Task Force 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry, made its way to Baghdad in 2003 was found dead in his Georgia home October 13, 2014 of natural causes; a result of a heart condition for which he was receiving treatment undefined he was 52 years old.

    Gallagher was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, July 27, 1962 and joined the Army in 1981.  His many awards and decorations received include the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars (one with “V” device) and two Purple Hearts; the first from having been shot in the arm in Somalia in 1993, the second from being wounded as Task Force 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry, made its way to Baghdad in 2003.

    Relying heavily on that combat experience, Gallagher began his tour with the Wounded Warrior Program nearly 20 years after Somalia and almost a decade after Iraq; he retired from the Army in December 2013.  

    He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Delores Gallagher, his first wife Joelle, and a brother, John.

    CSM Gallagher is survived by his wife, Denene Gallagher of Baltimore, Maryland; his sons, John Patrick Gallagher of Kansas City, Missouri and Sean Alton Gallagher of Climax, Georgia; six brothers and sisters; and numerous nieces and nephews.

    A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., October 31, 2014 from the Main Post Chapel at Ft. Benning, Georgia.  The 75th Ranger Regiment is conducting the memorial service.

    Burial will be held in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at a later date.

    For more information contact the Richmond Hill Funeral Home at (912) 756-7575.  www.coxrichmondhillfh.com


  • 09/18/2014 3:32 PM | Anonymous

    SLATE (By Josh Voorhees) The U.S. Could Have Its First Female Navy SEALs By 2016.

    The Associated Press this morning has an early look at the Pentagon's specific plans to remove the remaining restrictions that have kept female soldiers from combat and other positions near the front lines. The plans, likely to be formally unveiled later today, will include reviewing and likely changing the physical and mental standards that men and women need to meet in order to qualify for certain positions across the four branches, and would set one common standard for both sexes for each specific job.

    The plans also include the rough outline for when women could become a Navy SEAL or Army Ranger, two of the most high-profile and demanding jobs within the military:

    Under the schedules military leaders delivered to [Defense Secretary Chuck] Hagel, the Army will develop standards by July 2015 to allow women to train and potentially serve as Rangers, and qualified women could begin training as Navy SEALs by March 2016 if senior leaders agree. Military leaders have suggested bringing senior women from the officer and enlisted ranks into Special Forces units first to ensure that younger, lower-ranking women have a support system to help them get through the transition.

    The Navy intends to open up its Riverine force and begin training women next month, with the goal of assigning women to the units by October. While not part of the special operations forces, the coastal Riverine squadrons do close combat and security operations in small boats. The Navy plans to have studies finished by July 2014 on allowing women to serve as SEALs, and has set October 2015 as the date when women could begin Navy boot camp with the expressed intention of becoming SEALs eventually.

    Army officials plan to complete gender-neutral standards for the Ranger course by July 2015. Army Rangers are one of the service’s special operations units, but many soldiers who go through Ranger training and wear the coveted tab on their shoulders never actually serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment.\

  • 09/18/2014 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    Friday is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. As we perform our missions this week, I ask that all of us take a moment to remember and honor our servicemen and -women who have been held as prisoners of war and who have not returned home. These heroes made enormous sacrifices to defeat our enemies and bring freedom to people in faraway lands. They have lived the values that define our nation, our armed forces, and our way of life.

    Our Army is a Family in which Soldiers are prepared to give everything for their brothers and sisters in arms. Our POWs and MIAs gave everything they had for their missions and their fellow service members.

    We must also honor the Family members, who sometimes wait years without answers. They are the ones who keep their service members' stories and memories alive until they are able to return home.

    We can honor our prisoners of war and those missing in action by remaining committed to our vital mission at the Maneuver Center of Excellence of training the best prepared, most professional maneuver force in the world. Thank you all for everything you do for our Soldiers, Family members and veterans every day.

    One Force, One Fight!

    - Maj. Gen. Scott Miller Commanding General

  • 09/18/2014 3:02 PM | Anonymous

    (WASHINGTON - The Army is asking for female volunteers to possibly attend a Ranger course in the spring.

    A final decision will be made in January on whether or not to actually conduct the one-time assessment, officials said. Since the Army needs to identify, select and begin training for potential participants, two "All Army Activity" or ALARACT messages were sent to the field asking for volunteers.

    The Ranger assessment course would train men and women together in order to help prepare institutions, schools and leaders for future integration decisions, according to Army G-1 officials at the Pentagon. 

    The assessment course would be open to all women in the ranks of specialist to major, if they can meet the physical qualifications and prerequisites.

    Female observers would also be needed to serve as advisors to the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. Staff sergeants to master sergeants would be eligible, along with chief warrant officers 2 and 3, first lieutenants, captains and majors. The deadline to submit selection packets is Oct. 10. Potential students and observers will be identified in December.

    Current Ranger course standards will remain the same for all students, said G-1 officials. Prerequisites, phase performance requirements and graduation standards would not change for the assessment.

    "We will be prepared to execute the assessment professionally and objectively, if directed," said Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning.

    All female candidates would be required to attend the Army National Guard Ranger Training and Assessment Course conducted at Fort Benning prior to the assessment course.

    Women who volunteer to serve as observers for the Ranger course must also undergo a selection process that includes a fitness test, land navigation, a combat water survival assessment, an operations order test, a 12-mile road march with 35-pound rucksack and review boards.

    The women will not be Ranger instructors during the assessment, but as observers they will need to be able to keep up to the students and instructors.

    Women who complete the Ranger assessment course as students will be awarded the Ranger tab to wear, but will not be awarded associated Ranger skill identifiers due to restrictions in Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 652. The decision to change that or not is scheduled to be made by the secretary of Defense no later than Jan. 1, 2016, when he determines if women will be permitted to become Infantry Soldiers and serve in other closed military occupational specialties.

    The secretary of defense revoked the direct ground combat rule, Jan. 24, 2013, following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Army and other services were given until January 2016 to implement changes and submit requests to exclude specific military occupational specialties from the ban being lifted.

    In May 2012, the Army announced it would open six military occupational specialties that were previously closed to women. This opened combat-related jobs in 37 battalions across nine brigade combat teams.

    The six jobs opened were 13M Multiple Launch Rocket System crewmember, 13P MLRS operations/fire direction specialist, 13R Field Artillery Firefinder Radar operator specialist, 91A M1 Abrams tank system maintainer, 91M Bradley Fighting Vehicle system maintainer and 91P Artillery mechanic.

    Over the past year, the Army Training and Doctrine Command has been conducting a Physical Demands Study to develop gender-neutral standards for tasks performed by those in a combat MOS. The study is part of Soldier 2020, the Army's initiative to look at integrating women into previously closed jobs such as infantry, combat engineer, field artillery and armor.

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