Having successfully competed in a grueling National Selection process, three of the eleven soldiers remaining will likely be the first from Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the prestigious United States Army Ranger School in April at Fort Benning, Georgia, according to the US Office of Defense Cooperation.
Twenty-six soldiers from across the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were hand-picked by their units to compete for the coveted slots at the historic school in a three-day National Ranger Selection process.
Soldiers attending the US Army Ranger School represent the best of the best from the U.S. and international militaries. Successful completion is a requirement for assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment, one of the most elite infantry units in the world. Ranger School began in 1950 and maintains a pass rate of about 49% for the 61 day course.
Candidates will conduct small-unit missions in the forests of Georgia, operations in the Appalachian Mountains, and culminate with missions in the Florida Swamps. In addition to small-unit tactics, soldiers will learn mountain-climbing equipment and techniques, helicopter air assault tactics, and small-boat swamp movements.
At Rajlovac Barracks near Sarajevo, the Bosnian soldiers completed the last of the events to test their mental and physical endurance, a 20 kilometer march carrying over 20 kilograms of equipment and weapons. The soldiers were exhausted from the three days of events, which included a total of almost 50 kilometers of movement on foot.
Candidates completed an 8 kilometer run, as well as push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups as part of the Ranger Physical Fitness Test. The soldiers even had to rappel to test their aptitude for mountain operations and ability to overcome the fear of heights. Immediately following that rappel, the soldiers moved to the woods near Pazaric for a test of their land navigation skills. During the day, they navigated over 10 kilometers to find five points throughout the area. As the sun set, the soldiers again faced snow and freezing temperatures to find five more points and move another 7.5 kilometers.
All candidates must meet the minimum standards to attend Ranger School, stated Captain David Knox, a representative of the US Office of Defense Cooperation and a graduate of Ranger School. “The efforts of the Bosnian soldiers were nothing short of amazing” he said.
The eleven successful candidates now have a short break to recover before beginning a local pre-course training week, conducted by the Office of Defense Cooperation. In early April, three of the candidates will travel to the US for a week-long Pre-Ranger Assessment Course followed by Ranger School.
“By the time these soldiers graduate from Ranger School, they have completed five separate selections and training events to earn the coveted Ranger Tab,” said CPT Knox before continuing, “they will not just represent the best soldiers Bosnia has to offer, but will be among the most elite infantry soldiers in the world.”