FRIDAY FOTO (Feb. 25, 2011)

February 25, 2011 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

Like A Bridge Under Troubled Waters

U.S. Army photo by John D. Helms

Believe it or not, this wet and overloaded soldier is using a bridge to cross this Florida swamp – a rope bridge.

It’s all part of training during the third and final phase of the 61-day U.S. Army Ranger School course. Based at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Ranger School tests students’ skills, strength, endurance and adaptability under grueling physical and psychological conditions during 18-to-20-hour days. The average graduation rate is just 40 percent.

Those who do graduate are entitled to wear the black and gold Ranger shoulder tab on their uniform. In addition to officers and non-commissioned offers of the 75th Ranger Regiment, the school also trains a select number of candidates each year from the other U.S. military services, including Reserve components, as well as foreign military services.

The Ranger course is broken down into three phases: the physical assessment and woodland terrain phase at Camp Rogers and Camp Darby at Benning; the mountain phase at Camp Merrill in Dahlonega, Georgia; and the swamp phase at Camp Rudder at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The first phase spends 21 days training students in small unit tactics as well as squad- and platoon-size mission planning. But first they have to pass a rigorous series of physical fitness and infantry capabilities tests including being able to do 49 pushups in two minutes, complete a five-mile run in 40 minutes or less, combat water survival, day/night land navigation and timed, long marchs in full gear.

Another 21 days is spent in the mountain phase at Dahlonega, Georgia learning to lead small units in a mountainous environment.

The final phase takes 17 days to learn rope bridge, small boat and swamp maneuvering under the same grueling conditions in Florida’s swamps and coastal waters.

A fourth, Desert phase at Fort Bliss, Texas, was eliminated in 1995.

To see a Defense Department photo slide show of the Ranger Swamp training click here.

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Entry filed under: Counter Insurgency, National Security and Defense, Photos, Skills and Training, Special Operations, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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