Tag Archives: RASP

RIP to RASP: How Rangers Are Made

Today’s modern Ranger Battalions were first established in 1974 as America’s premier Airborne Light Infantry unit which would be a part of America’s new and growing Special Operations capability. The unit would be specially trained and selected in order to maintain high standards and serve as a role model for the rest of the Army.

With this in mind, 1st Ranger Battalion was stood up as was its selection program called the Ranger Indoctrination Program, or RIP. Soon after when 2nd Ranger Battalion would activated, they too began their own RIP for incoming and prospective Rangers.

After graduating from Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, and Airborne School, those enlisted soldiers who wish to join the ranks of the 75th Ranger Regiment then attend the Ranger’s selection program. This is a brief history of that program and how it has evolved from the early days up to the present.

 

Battalion-level RIP

Former 1/75 Ranger Mingo Kane had this to say about his experience going through RIP in 1984, “First week, run…run, PT, road march, run…get screamed at, run…flutter kicks, run. Not a lot of sleep…it was pretty much to weed out the weaker students…Hand to hand was nothing more than getting your ass kicked, everything revolved around punishment…elevating your feet shoulder height to knock out push ups when you fucked up, which was often…I gotta say, I never knew a human fucking being could run like they did in RIP…fuckers [cadre] were beasts. The chow hall was a good ways off, you ran there, ate in 45 seconds and ran back….you had to read the [Ranger] handbook every down second of time, no laying around on bunks at night shooting the shit, you were exhausted anyway…I think we started out with something like 26 and graduated something like 6…one year later I was the only one left in 1st Batt (Frances Elder was killed in Panama).”

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Why are standards plummeting in the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program?

With the Army issuing a press release to announce a new Discovery Channel Special called Hell and Back, Special Ops Ranger, there was one curious factoid published with it that left many of us in the Ranger community taken aback. The documentary follows a class of prospective Rangers through RASP, the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program which is a pre-requisite for serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment. The Ranger Regiment is known to maintain tough standards in regards to everything from physical appearance, to maintenance of equipment, and most importantly, performance in combat and job competency. These standards are enforced, violators are shown the door and Released For Standards but more critical than that, these non-performers are usually never allowed through the door to begin with, they are weeded out during the selection process which historically only has a 30% graduation rate.

This is why we were shocked when the Army press released stated, “114 Soldiers started Class 5-12; 91 Rangers graduated.” This is a shockingly high graduation rate of about 80% as opposed to the historical 30% that pass RASP and before that RIP. These graduation rates signify is massive drop in the physical and/or academic standards that RASP students are being held too in order to move on to a Ranger Battalion.

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