|Ranger Instructor, Ranger School, Ft. Benning, Georgia|
|The U.S. Army Ranger School is located at Fort Benning, Georgia. This is appropriately where the Army has its Infantry School located as well. Ranger School is 58 days long, and graduates say it is one of the toughest two months a soldier ever has to face. Many Rangers claim that combat in Grenada, Panama, and Kuwait was actually easier than Ranger School.
Ranger School puts soldiers through different phases like Mountain Phase and Jungle Phase, but they all have one thing in common: it pushes men to their physical and mental limits. Expect to get only one hour sleep for days on end. Expect only one meal a day for weeks on end. It is not unusual for soldiers to lose 20-40 pounds during Ranger School. Fatigue, hunger, hallucinations, severe body aches, emotional exhaustion are all part of the plan to make already top-shape soldiers even tougher.
In 1975, the Ranger black beret became only the third officially sanctioned U.S. Army beret. Literally centuries of lineage and battle honors were symbolized by the unique Ranger beret. Though little more than a dark piece of cloth to some, to those who serve as Rangers, the beret is representative of personal courage and selfless sacrifice. It is a symbol to be earned, not issued.
In 2001, the Pentagon made the Black Beret available for use Army wide, perhaps as a marketing gimmick. Critics of the Army adopting the black beret have claimed that such a decision belittles the dedication and accomplishments of past and present Rangers. "This is the dumbest decision the Army has made since Custer's Last Stand," said retired Maj. Jim Grimshaw, president to the U.S. Army Ranger Association. "This is a treasured symbol you should have to earn vs. just giving it away."
As a result of this, the Rangers will be wearing tan berets.