The United States Army Rangers largely fly under the radar. They’ve received less attention from Hollywood (who focus on the Navy SEALS) and remain unknown to the general public – even though Army Rangers are special operations soldiers. Army Rangers rescued Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell.
The training and hazing that young men undergo before being allowed to become part of the 75th Ranger Regiment is as demanding as any a Navy SEAL faces. Rangers have their own version of Hell Week called Cole Range.
Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger (Amazon) takes you through the Ranger Assessment and Selection Process that all would-be Rangers must undergo by following one group of men – Class 09-10 – through RASP’s training rigors.
Sua Sponte is a fascinating look at Ranger training and offers universal life lessons.
“After a while I lost count, but in the course of the first ten hours of training, Class 09-10 did more than a thousand push-ups and more than five-hundred four-count flutter kicks.”
2.) Everyone hurts. The difference between winners and losers is that winners push through the pain.
“By now, all but a few of them are hurting – some more than others. Very few have injuries that should keep them from remaining in selection, but they’re getting weary and hurt. Some can play with pain and others can’t or won’t. We’re looking for guys who can manage their pain – those who can soldier on when they’re tired and when they’ve got an ache or two.”
3.) You can’t skip the fundamentals, despite what “life hackers” claim.
“We’ll begin with the basics – the fundamentals. Trust me on this, now and for the rest of your Ranger careers, it will always be about the fundamentals – always. Refinements, yes, but always the fundamentals. I’m a good shooter, but when I shoot poorly, I go back to the basics.”
4.) Shoot to kill or don’t pull the trigger at all.
“Don’t just crank off rounds while you move. You should have a sight picture each time you break a shot. Every shot is a kill shot.”
5.) Most will quit rather than do whatever it takes to be elite.
“Class 09-10 roughly conforms to the 26 to 28 percent graduation rate of previous RASP 1 classes. And these figures roughly conform to the graduation rate for the four-week Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) that preceded RASP 1.”
“One of the challenges for Ranger candidates and their inability to mesh into the Ranger culture is that they never played pickup games as kids. They’ve been supervised in play and organized sports all their life. Personal issues that arise between players and opponents in sports were settled by adults or adult authority figures. In pickup games, jerklike behavior on the part of one kid is settled by the other kids. They deal with it….Some soldiers just don’t know how to deal with a problem that develops between them and another soldier. They never had to.”
7.) There is a key difference between amateurs and professionals.
“Amateurs do it over until they get it right. Professionals do it over and over until they can’t do it wrong.”
Read more: Sua Sponte (Amazon).