1) Don't be a little bitch.
2) Do exactly what the Sergeant commands you to do.
You will pass.
"They are going to have to pick me up and drag me away. They are going to have to call the goddamn cops to get rid of me. I'm not going to leave until I'm a fucking Ranger. I will fight. I will get on my knees and beg. I am going to finish this fucking course and get my shit."
I'll leave things out because you'll learn it soon enough, and the rest... just an info dump.
Pick up your own roll of 90mph tape, a sewing kit, a box of gallon ZipLock double-seal (not the slider) bags, and 50' of 550 cord. You'll need a Ranger Handbook, a set of superfine alchohol pens with an eraser pen, black ball-point pens, and some mechanical pencils. Get a 3L black CamelBak w/insulated straw, and a Leatherman. If you want, your own plastic 2qt. collapsible canteen is a good idea. A lot of the issued ones will leak on you and piss you off. When you make your Ranger "men's carry-all" you'll want to double-bag the paper contents for Cole Range. Don't even bring your notes to Cole Range. Have a second Ranger Handbook back at the barracks in case your first gets full of mud. You wont wear underwear during RIP. Buy extra socks. Your own stock of TP is handy, too. Make sure you have all your initial issue - don't throw shit away. I bought an extra duffel bag and packed all the stuff I wasn't going to need into it and crammed it into the top back shelf of my wall-locker. Get a few good novels to read when you get locked down for the weekend. Make sure you have a watch, and that it has "tactical" colors. I got gigged for having a watch with a blue wristband. Write your name boldly on everything you own. When I went through, Commando Supply was preferred to Ranger Joe's, and the only good cab company was Patriot.
When you finish Airborne you'll get picked up and in-processed into RIP Holdover. You'll be there for a couple days before having to take the PT test. THE TEST IS FAIR, you just have to do good push-ups. Go wide-out as you practice, it is the easiest stance for clearly breaking the plane as the grader watches, and it uses multiple muscle groups so you shouldn't tire as fast. RIP Holdover is easy. You'll eat well, at the Ranger Dining Facility, and pull details most days working for the Rangers as you wait for the next class to begin. Usually we were released between 1300 and 1500 for the remainder of the day, assembling again for 2100 recall formation. We were expected to carry knives or Leathermans and were encouraged to buy and use CamelBaks.
Close your cargo pocket, or you'll lose it. They ripped off ACU pockets, too.
Every RIP class is different, and in unexpected ways. One class will have ALL electronics taken away while another will be allowed to keep cell phones for use only outside the barracks at night. PT tasks are shuffled around or invented daily, and the behavior of a class dictates the smoking. One class will have a lot of pressure applied to a particular point of performance - and in another class the same topic wont be nearly so stressed and checked. This is intentional, to prevent these types of missives from making you think you know it all. You'll get caught with your pants down, don't worry. I think it is typical for classes to be allowed to keep dip and cigarettes in their wall lockers for use outdoors after the duty day and before lights out.
The training is conducted professionally, and intense professionalism is expected of you. You'll fuck up and pay for it all on your own. The RIP Cadre will not unnecessarily screw with you, they put information out about the next day's uniform and schedule and for us, that wasn't arbitrary. If they say the morning formation is at 0610, it is. We were never woken up to grenade sims and Ride of the Valkyrie at 0200.
1- SHAVE YOUR FUCKING FACE every day, even if you don't think you need to. Make sure to hit your sideburns, under your chin and on your neck. When you stand in front of the mirror to shave, shave as if it were a duel with the Sergeant. Push the thing to your skin and dig those damn hairs out.
2- ALWAYS PREPARE YOUR UNIFORM for the next day. Boots shined, ID card in the pocket, ID tags and PC ready to throw on. Fill your canteens as soon as you're up in the barracks, don't wait until the last second before you're heading down. If you have a time hack, it is better to come downstairs late but in uniform than to meet the time hack out of uniform.
3- DON'T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT YOUR RANGER BUDDY. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy. Don't go anywhere without your Ranger Buddy.
My class started with 96 and finished with 51. That's something like 47% failure rate. I thought about that a lot before I ever showed up, and more so when I arrived. That's probably why I was one of the 51 - I was CONCERNED with graduating. Nobody quit at Cole Range, it was just failure to meet standards or being a total shitbag and getting kicked out.
The 12-mile roadmarch claimed 13 people, dropped back onto the bus. Our first six miles were a forced march which was NUTS hard because nobody had conditioned for it and we were not allowed to "jog" to step it out, we had to stride to the point of pain, because dumbasses would let themselves slip backwards and they had to be passed. I started at the extreme end and by the turnaround point I was like tenth from the start. The class after me had 12 miles of released march, which is much easier - though harder on your body because you'll inevitably run and jog and bounce the weight on your back. The CWST (swimming) test claimed a handful of people who simply couldn't or wouldn't swim. I can't understand this... it is so easy now. It is just as long to swim past the passing line as it is to swim to the side of the fucking pool to get out. The five mile run also strained a few people to the point of quitting. The medical/history/standards/map test was wild. 38 people failed it the first time, and after an intense overnight study session, 19 people ended up double-tapping it and getting dropped/recycled. You'll be given the history and standards packs on DAY ONE and will have plenty of time to study them - there is no excuse for failure on that point.
I'm not going to mention every little time we caught smoke and got our asses chewed. Suffice it to say that the pressure to perform was constant. Finish the roadmarch drenched and tired, and hold your ruck over your head for a few minutes, why not. Our schedule for week one went something like this...
On the first day we conducted a five mile run for morning PT, had a Ranger Standards class, were issued our gear, and then did the CWST (swimming) tests. If I recall correctly, we got smoked every afternoon after all our shit was done on the first week.
On the second day we did a sprint down to the Airborne Ground Week area and then back, and then regular PT at Teakel Field, flutterkicks, pushups, etc. Class that day was Ranger History. More smoke, and mild forced hydration throughout the afternoon as we readied for the next day's roadmarch. The class leader is given a digital scale that is used to weigh everyone's rucks in the barracks to make sure it's over 35lbs (I marched w/41lbs.). He carries the scale during the road march, and then when it is over the same scale is used to weigh everyone's rucks. It's fucking fair.
The next day goes by pretty fast - it began for us at 0230. We assembled, ate MREs, loaded up on the bus and moved to the release point. Red lens on the chest, chem light on the ruck, and GO. Hold your weapon right and march fast. The first two miles are FAST AS FUCK. Be ready for that, it does eventually descend to a manageable pace - still a quick clip. If you've half a mind to make life easy for yourself, buy a ruck and smoke yourself after you get released for the day at Airborne. You probably wont NEED it, but it will help immensely. Buy a CamelBak and USE IT here if you don't anywhere else, makes life easier. When we all got back and weighed our rucks, we timehacked our shit upstairs and got into the classroom for an excellent class on map reading and land nav. We were released to do "barracks maintenance" around 1300 that day, and it meant teams cleaning in shifts to keep people from being in the way while they worked, as everyone else sat and rested and studied. We had to be present for the 2100 formation that night.
Thursday morning PT was a bitch. Our legs already jelly, we did a boot run down to the entrance to the obstacle course, past where Subway/Afterhours are. Once there, we ran through the mile or so of wooded trails, doing pushups (or panting in the front leaning rest) as a group while we waited for the stragglers to ascend the little roped crevices. When everyone was through we marched over to the Downing Mile and buddy-teamed through that little smoker. When THAT was done, someone had a bum knee, and was placed on a litter. We had to carry the litter and RUN back towards the barracks. People kept fucking the litter team and not replacing them so they tired and fell behind. In response, the sergeants made ALL of us buddy carry each other back to the barracks. We were so fucking tired when this was over. We were given a first aid class the remainder of the day, and smoked more. Water drills until nearly everyone was throwing up. Lots of squats and squat-jumpers.
Friday was Ranger First Responder oriented. We did skedco races down at the one-mile track and then back up to the barracks. After breakfast we demonstrated application of tourniquets and pressure dressings. Then we gave each other IVs. My Ranger Buddy forgot to occlude the vein after inserting the catheter in my arm, so I bled out all over the place, it was great. Families were milling around for the previous class' graduation, so I made sure they got a good look across the field at my nasty bloody arm. We low-crawled all over the field to police call because dipshits kept putting sharps in the regular trash. After we were all done, we were moved back to the basketball court and got buddy-smoked. Feet on your friend's shoulders, do pushups. Back to back, lock arms, squat. Down. LOWER. LOWER!!! UP! DOWN! UP! DOWN! "Not fast enough, RIP. You don't want to do the exercise? ROGER THAT!" ... ...
We were on lockdown until the fourth week, including the weekend after Cole Range. The class after us was released every night during week one. Don't expect anything, just be ready to roll with the punches.
... I might add more later.