7th RS defenders conquer Ranger prep course

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tristan D. Viglianco
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Rucking at 4 a.m. through the rain, snow, and wind, a team of defenders from the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron uses their headlamps to navigate the area. They stop to open a map and do their best to keep it dry and read it. They close it back up and continue rucking through Germany in the middle of winter.


The team from Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, Italy is at Ramstein Air Base for a five day Ranger Assessment Prep Course where they are tested on their physical and technical skills required to earn the title of Ranger.


“We completed the Ranger Physical Assessment Test, a 12 mile ruck, land navigation, and ranger stakes,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Hook, 7th RS flight chief. “The primary mission of RAPC was designed to assess a candidate’s potential for attending and successfully completing the Air Force Security Forces Center’s Ranger Assessment Course (RAC).”

The RAC is designed to prepare Airmen for the vigorous challenges they will face in Ranger School. Hook appreciated the opportunity to attend the course and believes his team did well.

“We took the opportunity to test our skills and prepared for the next step in a journey to gain the coveted Ranger tab,” Hook said. “All individuals in the course received recommendations to move on to the next portion, which would be the RAC, once we are trained up on the deficiencies highlighted in our report cards.”

The team didn’t take the RAPC lightly and made sure their physical fitness and technical skills were up for the test.

“We worked on physical requirements by doing five mile runs, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and weight training,” Hook said. “Our team also met up to go over key skill sets, which are evaluated during the course.”

While preparing for the course is important, Hook believes there is no substitute for going through it.

“You always try to imagine what it takes to perform well and qualify in this type of course and all of us thought we had a good idea of what it takes to be Ranger qualified, but there’s nothing like actually going out there and doing it,” he said. “For example, we had to perform the 12-mile ruck in three hours, which was the standard. When we got out there it was cold, raining, snowing, and windy, but it didn’t matter. In almost any other circumstance, the conditions alone would have seen the class go back indoors to get clearance for the weather, but a Ranger gets it done no matter what.”

Hook said he enjoyed the experience and believes it will benefit his unit, but he hopes others in his unit will get to experience the RAPC in the future.

“I enjoyed the camaraderie that was built between the individuals who participated,” he said. “We were able to bring back not just expeditionary skills, but also a true warrior mindset to our unit. I would still like to have my entire unit participate in the course because it’s when you’re tired, cold, miserable, and hungry that you find out what you really have inside.”