Ranger Assessment and Selection Program
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Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) is an 8-week course held at Fort Benning, Georgia. RASP is required for all ranks. As of 2010, RASP replaced both the RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program) for enlisted Soldiers and ROP (Ranger Orientation Program) for Officers, both commissioned and noncommissioned and below to be assigned to the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.
RASP is designed to prepare soldiers, many of whom have just graduated Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, and Airborne School and are still considered "fresh" recruits, for assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment. Airborne qualified soldiers from other units attempting to transfer to the 75th Ranger Regiment also attend the course, but are less common than new soldiers.
Follow on courses dependent upon MOS such as SOCM and other "specialty upgrade" training is also required by certain MOSs attending RASP. Those who are obligated for these follow-on courses also are in jeopardy of losing all affiliation with the Ranger regiment if said personnel fail to complete their follow-on training. These trainees will be realigned to another unit, most often an airborne unit.
After 1st Ranger Battalion was reformed in 1974, selections were held directly by them. When 2nd Ranger Battalion was formed shortly thereafter, they began hosting their own selection as well. In 1986, when the Regimental Headquarters was fully formed, a new consolidated RIP (Ranger Indoctrination Program) was started at Fort Benning, beginning in February 1985, where it was held until 2009 when it was changed to RASP.
RASP is designed to weed out those who do not truly have the physical or mental capabilities to serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment. The training curriculum was specifically designed to "smoke" the trainees through endless punishment via constant physical training. In the second week of RASP, the class is sent to "Cole Range"; a remote training area of Fort Benning. It is designed to test the individual to their breaking point both physically and mentally; trainees sleep on average 4 hours total throughout Cole Range as they spend their nights doing tedious tasks such as the "hitting the wood line" for being incapable of meeting the given time standards. Although training such as patrolling and land navigation is taught at Cole Range, the main focus is to mentally and physically break down the individual. For classes held in the winter; it is not uncommon for 30%-50% of the starting class to quit during the first night of Cole Range.
After completion of Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training (AIT), new recruits will most likely move on to three weeks of Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA, learning how to safely conduct Airborne Operations.* Immediately following Airborne School volunteers will move to the Ranger Assessment and Selection facility, taking their final steps to becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. (*Some volunteers will only receive Airborne School after successfully completing RASP 1.)
RASP is broken down into two levels of training: RASP 1 for Junior Noncommissioned Officers and Enlisted Soldiers (pay grades E-1 through E-5) and RASP 2 for Senior Noncommissioned Officers, Officers and Warrant Officers. Candidates will train on physical fitness, marksmanship, small unit tactics, medical proficiency and mobility. Training is fast-paced and intense, ensuring Ranger candidates are prepared to employ their skills in both continued training and worldwide operations upon reaching their assigned Ranger unit. Throughout the course all candidates will be screened to ensure that only the best Soldiers are chosen for service in the Ranger Regiment. Regardless of the course, all candidates must meet the course requirements in order to serve in the Ranger Regiment.
The third week familiarizes the trainees with the M4A1 Assault Rifles and first aid procedures known as RFR or Ranger First Responder. The fourth week of RASP was added in January 2004. It begins with the infamous Black Monday which on average knocks out another quarter of the class and includes an introduction to air assault operations and culminates with the 12 mile ruck march.
As of January 2010, the 4-week Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) has become RASP (Ranger Assessment and Selection Program) and is now 8 weeks long. There are two separate phases in the RASP program.
Phase 1 primarily consists of day to day, week to week physical and mental toughness training. During Phase 1, the soldier can expect to be pushed to the very limit of both his physical threshold, and mental threshold. The training is centered on forcing the individual to be able to push well beyond what he believes is his physical and mental limit. One can expect very rigorous "smoke" sessions (blocks of time specifically geared toward using physical training as a tool for corrective training and instruction) that are used to train the group if a particular task, condition, or standard is not met, and also incorporate a necessary environment of the "unknown" to each soldier. It is exceedingly important that each future Ranger be tested against mental and physical limits, for that is the foundation of what a Ranger was created for from the beginning.
Phase 2 is a bit different, however, the standard for excellence and perfection remains the same. One can say that it is a bit less physically and mentally trying, however, that is usually due to the fact that the soldiers that still remain, are typically the ones who will be there until the end. By Phase 2, most of the dropouts have left the ranks, making it a more intimate group of trainees that can now be instructed in the areas that are necessary to be a Ranger. Marksmanship, baseline breaching abilities, and tactical driver's training are a few of the blocks of instruction given in Phase 2 of RASP. Ranger history is also the subject of training and is what some might call the very foundation of becoming a Ranger.
Upon successful completion of RASP, the new Rangers graduate at the Ranger Memorial, or in the event of inclement weather, Freedom Hall where they will don the tan Ranger beret and will have the scroll of the battalion they will be assigned to put on their shoulder.
Officers, Commissioned and Noncommissioned
As of 2010, all NCOs and Officers must go through RASP to be assigned to the Regiment. An officer or an NCO wishing to move up a position within the Regiment also must complete the RASP, again. Any officer or NCO who leaves the Regiment for professional timeline, and wishes to return at a higher rank, must also complete the RASP, again. This change has resulted in an extreme professionalization across all ranks, where every Commander, all the way to the Regimental Commander, and every senior NCO to the Regimental CSM, has completed the RASP multiple times in their career. This alone sets the Ranger Regiment apart from the rest of the Special Ops community. No Ranger can simply hide behind their scroll, which they may have earned more than a decade ago.
Officers and NCOs have a shorter RASP, focusing on attributes and physical fitness. Every evaluation report throughout one's career is reviewed, along with letters of recommendation. Psychological evaluation, intelligence test, and a thorough physical fitness test (United States Army Physical Fitness Test with pull ups, CWST, 5 mile run, 12 mile road march) topped off with a detailed board run by senior Regimental leaders ensure that only the best are selected. Needless to say, only Ranger and Airborne qualified personnel are accepted. For special cases, non-Rangers and non-airborne PAX are accepted, contingent on their successful completion of those courses immediately following RASP.
- U.S. Army Rangers
- 75th Ranger Regiment
- Ranger School
- Parachutist Badge (United States)
- Marksmanship Badge (United States)
- Tabs of the United States Army
- U.S. Army Special Forces
- Army Special Forces selection