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News | April 26, 2022

Ranger Material

By NHNG Public Affairs, compiled by Staff Sgt. Courtney Rorick

Two cadets and a first lieutenant proved they have the grit to attend Ranger school after they passed a demanding, two-day tryout held April 8 and 9 at the Edward Cross Training Center in Pembroke, New Hampshire, and Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

University of New Hampshire ROTC cadets Jacob Blair and Jacob Stern along with 1st Lt. Mitchell Gannon of Mountain Company finished first, second and third respectively in the 2022 New Hampshire Army National Guard Ranger Assessment. They were among five cadets and 12 NHARNG soldiers who competed.

While cadets are not eligible for slots, Blair and Stern could pursue Ranger school once they become commissioned officers. Gannon, along with two other soldiers who performed well, were offered slots by the NHARNG.

“I went last year and I didn’t pass,” said Blair, a senior who is scheduled to report to flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama in July. “This was a great opportunity to see where I was and do better.”

The purpose of the annual assessment was to give the competitors an opportunity to measure their mental and physical readiness for the U.S. Army’s 62-day, small unit tactics and leadership course, said Maj. Brandon Labelle, executive officer for the adjutant general and a recent graduate of the course.

The school is hosted at Fort Benning, Georgia.

“This year, compared to years past, the participants were the most prepared we’ve seen them,” said Maj. Richard Brown, executive officer of UNH ROTC. “Ultimately, this group appears to be more trained than any year before.”

The assessment is specifically designed to mirror the school’s Ranger Assessment Phase or RAP, which occurs during the first five days of the course, Brown said. It started with the Ranger physical fitness test, which consisted of push-ups, sit-ups, a five-mile run in less than 40 minutes, pull-ups, and a combat water survival test, given at a Concord pool. Ranger hopefuls then bussed to Fort Devens for a tactical written exam, a night land navigation course, and a culminating 12-mile ruck march.

The assessment was a gut check for Stern, a senior bound for Fort Sill, Oklahoma and artillery school.

“First thing, have a plan before you go in,” he said. “Understand the deadline for how long you have in these events. Just put one foot in front of the other. Don't feel sorry for yourself. You just have to be a savage sometimes.”

Added Blair, “The biggest thing I can tell competitors is don’t quit. It comes down to personal drive. You must stay out of your own head.”