Written by 2nd Lt. Jonathan O. Mendez, 2nd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment

The U.S. Army's Ranger School provides varying experiences for service members. At any given moment, one's participation can fluctuate from the standard two months to more than six months to successfully complete the course. Training to exhaustion is the norm here. Limits are pushed mentally, physically and spiritually.

2nd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment hosts a unique Pre-Ranger course that is ran internally by Soldiers who have previously earned the Ranger tab. The Pre-Ranger course hosted by Cougar Squadron spans over three days at Rose Barracks, Germany. This challenging experience was built to identify those who will represent the squadron at Ranger School.

Soldiers are graded on three major events. The first event is the Ranger Physical Fitness Test. The RPFT consists of the successful completion of forty-nine push-ups, fifty-nine sit-ups, a five-mile run in 40-minutes or less and six dead-hang chin-ups. Day two the candidates are taken to the land navigation course where competitors are required to find four out of five designated points within the allotted time of five hours. The third and final day will require the aspiring few to complete a 12-mile road march with a 35-pound ruck. Water is not included in the weight count.

Among those who completed 2/2CR's most recent Pre-Ranger course was Staff Sgt. Wallace Santos, weapons squad leader, 3rd Platoon, Ghost Troop, 2/2CR. Santos, along with three other Soldiers, was carefully selected to leave Rose Barracks and represent 2/2CR at Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Santos returned triumphant, having earned the coveted Ranger tab.
"Ranger School developed my character," said Santos. "It made me a humble leader. Leaders lead, however no leader can accomplish the mission alone. Team work is everything and it must be present even at the highest levels of leadership."

A graduate of Ranger School class 07-18, Santos completed Ranger Training Assessment Course hosted by the Warrior Training Center of Fort Benning with only 79 Soldiers out of the initial 130. Armed with determination, Santos remained resilient even after recycling the Darby Phase of Ranger School.

The Orlando, Florida native has resumed his daily responsibilities and is applying the knowledge, experience and lessons learned when leading his Soldiers and peers.

"For future Ranger students: be humble, prepare your mind to be challenged as much as your body," shared Santos. "Always think of the "Ranger" next to you and take care of him - he will take care of you. Team work is everything."