Two women recently made history by successfully completing Ranger School, a feat that countless men have tried and failed. The women not only endured the typical hardships associated with the course, but knew that America was anxiously monitoring their progress. They also knew their fate would play an important role in shaping America’s acceptance of women in combat and possibly opening the door to allow women into more specialized units.
Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall, whether you wanted them to succeed or fail, it’s difficult to dispute the fact that Ranger School is a highly intensive leadership and patrolling course. Many military services, to include foreign, have sent their finest men to tackle the course, expecting them to bring their knowledge home to enhance their respective units. Sometimes the graduate will return and be promoted to a leadership position. In other cases the soldier will go back to doing the exact same job he had before he entered into the course, whether it be as an infantryman, officer, or even a cook. With that said, Ranger Regiment is not affiliated with the course, and if the Army truly wanted to test women for possibly entry into a special operations unit, they should have put them through the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP, formerly known as the Ranger Indoctrination Program or RIP), the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS), Green Platoon, etc.
Despite what the media is putting out at the moment, Ranger School is not a special operations program. Completing the course does not give the graduate an automatic ticket to the 75th Ranger Regiment, a US Army special operations unit and direct action force. Part of the problem is with the name “Ranger.” Ranger School and Ranger Regiment are two completely different animals. The former can be attempted by men (and now women) from anywhere in the military, while the latter is only open to graduates of RASP.
The title of this article is subtle jab at the similarities Ranger School and Ranger Regiment share. Both the school and the unit share a nearly identical code of conduct dubbed the “Ranger Creed.” Ranger School is run by the Ranger Training Brigade (RTB), which is not affiliated with the 75th Ranger Regiment. The first stanza of RTB’s Ranger Creed is as follows:
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers.
The first stanza of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s creed differs slightly from from the school’s version:
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.
It is really difficult to chastise someone for not knowing the difference between the school and the unit, given that they share the creed and “Ranger” title. It’s also important to point out that the RTB cadre (again, not affiliated with the Regiment) also wear the tan beret, but are a non-deployable unit. Ranger School graduates are authorized to wear the coveted Ranger Tab, but not authorized to wear the tan beret (unless they serve in the 75th or RTB).
So how the hell does one distinguish between a Ranger School graduate and a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment? Check out the chart below:
|Conventional Ranger School Graduate||75th Ranger|
|Completed Ranger School||Completed RASP pipeline|
|Possibly completed Airborne School||Completed Airborne School|
|Completed Ranger School*|
|Wears the Ranger Tab on left shoulder||Wears the Ranger Tab on left shoulder*|
|Wears the Ranger Scroll on left shoulder|
|Wears the Ranger Scroll on right shoulder**|
|Wears black or red beret***||Wears tan beret|
|Does not deploy as Ranger unit||Deploys as Ranger unit|
|Is not a member of USASOC****||Is a member of USASOC|
|Open to men and women||Only open to men|
|Deployment times vary per unit||Deploys anywhere in 18 hours or less|
*75th Rangers are sent to Ranger School, but must graduate in order to become a team leader and receive additional specialized schools.
**Assuming the Ranger has been in combat.
***With the exception of US Army Special Forces.
****With the exception of Special Forces, 160th, MISO, etc.
Confusing, isn’t it? Unfortunately this will not be going away anytime soon.
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