FORT BENNING, Ga. -- The 75th Ranger Regiment has refined its assessment and selection process to expand the training and evaluation windows for potential candidates.
The unit is sending some Soldiers straight to Ranger School from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and Small Unit Ranger Tactics course, instead of to a battalion and deployment. The first two to take that route -- Sgt. Joshua Fish and Spc. Brendan Smith -- graduated Aug. 27.
"What makes these guys unique is they're the first to graduate from RASP 1 and go on to Ranger School," said Sgt. 1st Class Tyson Crosby, NCOIC of RASP 1. "Normally how it works, a guy will graduate from RASP 1, he'll go to his battalion, he'll train up and he might do one or two deployments ... Then, when his leadership determines he's ready to go to Ranger School, they'll send him to SURT first. The difference here is these guys have never been to a battalion."
RASP 1 replaced the regiment's Ranger Indoctrination Program in January, Crosby said. The instruction period for RASP 1 is eight weeks long, compared to four under the old RIP system. RASP 1 is for pay grades E-1 to E-5, while Soldiers E-6 and above - including officers - go through RASP 2.
He said the adjustments were made to give the regiment more time to scrutinize prospective unit members. Under the RIP, the top 5 percent of graduates were sent to Ranger School, as selected by cadre.
"We want the best guys in the (75th) Ranger Regiment," he said. "The longer we have to assess and select them and make sure they're performing, the better ... That's the reason we changed it, so we continue to select the best guys for service in the Ranger regiment."
"When it comes down to it, one really good guy or great guy is better than three average ones."
Smith's journey went from one station unit training and Airborne School to RASP 1 and SURT, a three-week regimental program that mirrors the Warrior Training Center's pre-Ranger Course. Then came 61 days in Ranger School.
Fish, who was already in the Army, started at RASP 1 and SURT but had to go to Ranger School before joining the regiment. All Infantry sergeants seeking an assignment at the 75th must be Ranger School graduates. Soldiers in lower ranks can attend at a later date, even if they failed on first attempts.
"These guys are the first to complete the new pipeline," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Bohannon, the regiment's SURT NCOIC. "We're definitely looking for quality over quantity."
The regiment must send 550 to 600 Soldiers through RASP 1 each year to generate enough Skill Level I Rangers to meet operational demands - based on historical loss-and-retention trends, according to data provided by the unit.
The first RASP 1 class graduated in March. The eighth completed the course Sept. 2. The most recent group began with 165 Soldiers, but only about 40 graduated Thursday. The regiment's objective is nine RASP 1 classes a year.
The last SURT class, which set out with 84 Soldiers, sent only 48 to Ranger School, Bohannon said.
Crosby said there are greater advantages within this setup than what was done before under RIP.
"It's more time that my cadre have with the candidates," he said. "It's more time they get to see them in different situations to make sure they're picking the right guys, because what you don't want are guys who score 300 on their PT test, they road march really fast, they're really strong, but they just don't have what it takes. Mentally, their learning curve is too steep to be in this type of unit. We need smart guys, too."
VOLUNTEER FOR DUTY
To meet minimum requirements for the RASP and assignment in the 75th Ranger Regiment, all Soldiers must be:
* An active-duty Army male
* A U.S. citizen
* 107 or higher in General Technical score on ASVAB test
* 240 or above (80 in each event) in Army Physical Fitness Test score
* Airborne-qualified or agree to attend Airborne training prior to assignment
* Eligible to obtain a secret clearance
* Soldiers interested in joining the unit should call 706-545-5124 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit https://www.infantry.army.mil/75thranger.