Top 5 Reasons You Will Fail Ranger School

Why You Will Fail Ranger School

There Are Many Ways to Fail the U.S. Army’s Ranger School, Here Are the Most Likely:

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Reason #5: You didn’t take it seriously.

Many Soldiers hear horror stories of Ranger School and brush them off as being dramatized spin-offs of reality. They assume, since Soldiers indeed have the tendency to do so, that the hardships of Ranger were blown-out of proportion. They don’t believe the stories of how heavy your rucksack will be at times (literally upwards of 90lb), how much sleep you don’t get (you’ll feel grateful when you get 1+ hr of sleep), and how hungry you get (yes, you’ll get 2x MREs a day, but you’ll usually only get 5min or so to eat them, and you burn waaaaaaayyy more calories than you consume). Take the stories seriously, they are most likely true, even the craziest ones.

Ranger Student With a Huge Rucksack

Reason #4: You weren’t physically ready… at all…

Many guys will think to themselves, “hey, girls pass Ranger now, how hard can it be?” I’m here to tell you, it’s still fuckin’ hard. Make no mistake, the females at Ranger School (especially the ones that tab up) are monsters. If you are that guy, you should shut the fuck up about women making it through Ranger, especially if you don’t have a Tab. It doesn’t do anyone any good.

Female Ranger at RAP Week

If you didn’t physically prep properly, you’ll be lucky to make it through RAP week, and even if you do, you'll probably hurt yourself or just bitch out during the remainder of the School. I always say, the #1 thing you should do to prepare to be successful at Ranger is to get in the right shape. This is key to being able to pass the gated events, remain resilient when emotional times are hard, and remain an asset to your team when shit needs to be carried. Get THIS PROGRAM to get ready.

Reason #3: You’re a dick.

You know that guy that told you how he got “screwed over” during peers? Well, there is a 99.9% chance he didn’t, and he was just a dick… He either didn’t perform well during leadership, didn’t help leadership when it was their turn to get their GOs, or was just a straight up asshole that no one liked. When you are there, remember, you get your Tab as a team, not as an individual.

Ranger Students at Malvesti Obstacle Course

Reason #2: You fail patrols.

Leadership position time is the most stressful time in school. But, if you take it seriously, follow the Ranger Handbook, and ask your dudes for help, you’ll be just fine (hopefully). The RIs will tell you to act like its real when on mission, that is solid advice. Take it seriously, follow the rules, go by the book, and get it done right.

Reason #1: You fuckin’ quit.

Ranger School is an absolute marathon of physical endurance and mental mind games. EVERY DAY you will face new challenges that will have you wondering why you ever even signed up to go to school. The best advice I can give is to find “small wins” everywhere you can. I looked forward to every meal, every end of mission, every day down. I looked forward to taking a knee and pulling security for even just a minute. Find your small victories and cherish them, because the rest of your day will be full of hardship. No matter what happens, keep moving forward and DON’T QUIT.

Ranger School Student Screaming

All photos found at Airborne Ranger Training Brigade.

 Author: CPT Dan Fahey (Class 02-18)

~Exceed the Standard


  • Randy

    1/75 86-93 Class 10/88 B no Company, Be no break, Be no hair, Be no sleep, etc. Take care of your feet!! Powder and change your socks every chance you get. Mental toughness far out weighs the physicality of Ranger School. Well, at least for me and when I went through. Everything about Ranger school sucks, lack of food, lack of sleep, heavy rucks, getting buddy f@#Ked, getting smoked for one thing or the other, weather, running out of Copenhagen etc. So, that being said, embrace the suck and be mentally strong. Quitting is surrendering and it is not a Ranger word! My Ranger buddy and I would say everyday, “I thought Ranger School was supposed to be hard?” Being from Batt the physical part really wasn’t anything different then we did in Battalion. We both were well conditioned for the task. I was 24 and he was 22. Another mental game we played with each other was, I will quit if you will but you have to go first! Neither of us wanted to be the first one or the Red doors (training Blackhawk pilots) were coming (pogey bait time) or some other mental BS we would come up with not to and we would decide to try and quit the next day…repeat same everyday. He was a 2/75 ranger. The vast majority of our squad were officers. We both made it straight through. A lot of officers got a huge wake up call at Ranger school. I met some studs that went on to do great things. Looking back on my experience in Ranger School and at 1/75, I would not trade that time for anything nor would I want to repeat it…Ranger school that is. Both set the tone for my success in the Military and Civilian life. From E-1 to E-7 then to PA school and 2Lt to Maj Ret (2012). Now successful business owner.

  • John Burns

    To the Admin guy who made E9 and is “chilling” with fat retirement checks…you’re still a tables bitch. Thank god for men and women who have the ego to try it. We need more of them and less of you.

  • TheMickster

    Former USAF CCT, not a Ranger, but dozens of buddies were Rangers. You are amazing and have taken care of my teams and me for years…thank you. One of the best lessons I received was from Willie Swinsicki (spelling) who I was accompanying during an exercise. Willie and I sat back while the men ate, the weather was cold and rainy, and by the time we ate, all that was left was the lukewarm broth from soup and bread crumbs. The men were well fed and ready to work, and the lesson of “leaders eat last” has stuck with me for nearly 40 years now.

    Now I like the “you’re a dick” reason; RLTW.

  • Jeff Latham

    Class 10-03 Best advice I can give is just say you will quit the next day every day until it’s over. It’s worth it!!

  • Tom Griffin

    Winter class..Dec 1963-Jan 1964. Old now..but Ranger School kept me alive in my 3 Vietnam tours in direct combat as an Infantry officer. 1st tour I got shot & stabbed..kept fighting..Ranger spirit..same direct combat 2d&3rd tours..Ranger old..still keeps me ready & fit. Never quit, Rangers!!

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