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National Guard

First Idaho Army National Guard Soldier graduates Ranger school

2LT Crystal Farris

Sept. 29, 2017

After completing 61 days of rigorous training, Idaho Army National Guard Soldier Sgt. David Robinson received his Ranger tab at a graduation held at Fort Benning, Georgia, Sept. 22. Robinson, an infantryman from Idaho Falls, is the first Idaho Army National Guard Soldier to graduate from Ranger school.

“When my first sergeant told me I was the first Idaho guardsman to successfully complete Ranger school, I thought that was pretty cool,” said Robinson, from Company C, 2-116th Calvary Regiment. “I will be the one to motivate other Soldiers to go.”

Robinson was one of 73 graduates out of 332 Soldiers who started Ranger Class 9-17. He, along with 22 others, were the only graduates to pass the entire course the first time around. On average, less than 50 percent of Soldiers complete the first phase of training, making Ranger school one of the hardest courses the Army has to offer.

“Sgt. Robinson’s ability to prepare himself and complete Ranger school shows every Soldier in the state that it is possible to be successful,” said Lt. Col. Scott Sheridan, Idaho Army National Guard operations officer.

The course is divided into three phases, which are the Benning phase, mountain phase and swamp phase. For two months, Soldiers are pushed to their mental and physical limits, training an average of 19 hours a day in combat related skills.

“I have never prayed so hard in my entire life,” said Robinson. “Every day I prayed for strength to make it through. I knew God was taking care of me. All I had to do was put on my ruck and walk.”

Robinson felt the most challenging parts of Ranger school were sleep deprivation and starvation. Robinson said he only received one meal a day and averaged around 30 minutes of sleep over a five day period.

“They say you’re either a sleepy Ranger or a hungry Ranger,” said Robinson. “I am a hungry Ranger for sure.

Despite all the arduous training he underwent, Robinson said being part of the Ranger brotherhood made it all worth it. Since he was little, Robinson knew he wanted to be part of the best. When he found out from his unit that going to Ranger school was a possibility, Robinson knew it was his opportunity to challenge himself.

“Ranger school will make you want to quit, but I told myself just one more step, just one more step,” said Robinson. “It made me find out how tough I am, and how much of the suck I can endure.”

Robinson worked hard to prepare for Ranger school. Prior to attending, he had to successfully complete a two-week Ranger Training Assessment Course at Fort Benning. There he was trained and evaluated on multiple tasks that included a physical fitness test, combat water survival assessment, land navigation, ruck march, obstacle course, two mile equipment run, troop leading procedures, tactics and more.

Now back in Idaho, Robinson is responsible for assisting his unit in preparing Soldiers for combat by training them in tactics he learned while at Ranger school.

“Sgt. Robinson will bring priceless small unit tactic lessons from Ranger school to Charlie Company,” said Capt. John Bomsta, commander of Charlie Company. “As a newly formed infantry company, these lessons and his experience are very timely and will enhance the lethality and combat power of our dismounted troops immensely.”

Ranger qualification became a training requirement when Charlie Company transitioned from a reconnaissance squadron to an infantry company on Oct. 1, 2016. Now there are approximately 15 positions available to Soldiers looking to attend Ranger school. Currently only five Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers have graduated Ranger school, of which Robinson is the only one sent by the state.

Although Robinson is the only Soldier so far to volunteer for Ranger school, the organization fully supports sending other Soldiers, said Sheridan. Those wanting to attend school must first be in a Ranger slot within their unit and be prepared to meet Ranger Training Assessment Course standards. Robinson’s advice to aspiring Rangers is to prepare physically and mentally, pay attention to detail and never give up.

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