SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — After more than 200 grueling days at U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, Spc. Jeremy Roup finally earned his Ranger tab on Sept. 16, 2022.
Roup, an infantryman assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, arrived at Fort Benning for Ranger assessment phase Feb. 20, 2022.
“Since arriving to Schofield I always talked about going to Ranger School, but I got comfortable not going,” said Roup. “I reached a point where I was about a year away from the end of my contract and I needed to go for myself.”
According to the U.S. Army Ranger School website, the graduation rate in 2021 hovered just north of 50 percent, with most candidates failing out during the Ranger assessment phase.
Roup never questioned if he had the physical attributes to finish the course, but upon being recycled after the first phase he started to question whether the timing was right.
“I was awake for 48 hours straight when I found out I wasn’t going to pass the Benning phase. If there was a point when I questioned whether I wanted to quit, it was then. I learned I wouldn't be able to join the next class for about six weeks and I was ready to leave.”
When Roup talked to the school leadership about withdrawing from the course, they asked him to sign a memo acknowledging his capitulation to the physical and mental demands of Ranger School, an admission he couldn’t endorse.
“When I was reading the memo it wasn’t me. I still believed in myself and knew I could do it, but the idea of waiting six weeks to start again was tough. I ended up talking with my Ranger instructors and decided to stay."
Out of the three phases, Roup repeated the Benning phase twice, the mountain phase twice, and the Florida phase three times.
“Florida was the most challenging. Between the heat and digging holes, it’s pretty miserable. But at the same time, I was expecting the last phase to be tough. You’re always sweating and always tired. But by then, I had no choice but to keep going.”
Roup’s story of grit and determination gained folklore status among his peers. Although he’s not sure when it happened, his tenure and experience landed him a moniker usually reserved for characters out of a movie or comic book.
“Roup was considered by the other Ranger students as 'the oracle' due to his wealth of knowledge of the course,” said Sgt. 1st Class Logan Lewis, Ranger instructor, 6th Ranger Battalion. “He helped a lot of guys with just prepping mentally of what was to come. Basically, he served as a hype man for his buddies to get them through. It was impressive to watch as an RI.”
Roup’s company commander, Capt. Theo Davis, knew Roup possessed the physical attributes to excel, but it was his mental stamina that impressed him most.
“Spc. Roup has a never-quit attitude and demonstrated that in spades throughout his entire experience at Ranger School,” said Davis. “His ability to learn from mistakes and demonstrate the intestinal fortitude to keep working until he achieved success is impressive.”
Upon returning to Schofield Barracks, the 25th Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Joseph Ryan presented Roup with a coin for his determination and unwavering commitment to earn his Ranger tab.
Ranger School is a point of emphasis across the 25th Infantry Division, and Soldiers of all ranks and military occupational specialties are encouraged to attend the Army’s premier leadership course.
Although Roup’s part-time residence at Fort Benning wasn’t the longest Logan’s witnessed, it certainly won over some of the most hard-to-impress instructors across Ranger School.
“Roup always smiled and kept an upbeat attitude, even when he recycled Florida twice,” said Lewis. “It’s not something you see a lot out of recycles, and I believe it rubbed off on other students allowing them to push through and graduate.”
Roup undoubtedly possesses the intrinsic traits that allowed him to endure the rigors of Ranger School, but he also had a lot of encouragement along the way.
“The last thing I told Spc. Roup before he left to Ranger School was don’t come back without it,” said 1st Sgt. Langkilde Palea’ae, also of B Company. “If you really want it that bad you will get it.”
For Roup, it was his first sergeant who was in his ear when he questioned if he had the grit to persevere.
“He told me not come back without my tab and I didn’t want to let him down.”