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Regardless of whether you are an Army Ranger or a U.S. Navy SEAL, you are part of the elite of the United States military. Both require an immense amount of strength – mental, physical, and otherwise. Both require a strong character and work ethic. And both require a little extra as far as the ability to deal with adventure, danger, and high-stakes missions.
When comparing the two, and which you might want to join, there are some differences in the way the teams operate. Army Rangers are typically more of a strike force or shock troops, an element that can act and maneuver quickly and powerfully in an attempt to quickly overwhelm an area or enemy force and to occupy said area. Navy SEALs are typically tasked with jobs that are highly specialized, high risk, high-value target operations that require precision. Army Rangers and Navy SEALs are specialized forces with very different approaches, usually.
Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail to compare and contrast, and maybe help you in your decision of which you would be more interested in joining.
Who Are Army Rangers?
The 75th Ranger Regiment is a “lethal, agile, and flexible force” of all volunteers committed to upholding the Ranger Creed. There are four geographically dispersed Ranger battalions who are always combat-ready, physically and mentally, and prepared to fight harder than anyone else. The job of the Army Rangers is one of overwhelming force and intensity combined with precision and exceptional proficiency. Rangers are capable of destroying strategic facilities, seizing key terrains like airfields, capturing and killing enemies, and conducting air-assault and airborne operations.
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According to the Rangers ethos, Army Rangers are committed to upholding the honor, prestige, and “high esprit-de-corps” of their regiment. Rangers are committed to going above and beyond all other soldiers, recognizing the hazards of this volunteer work, and never surrendering or leaving any comrade behind.
The Ranger Regiment training encompasses physical training, medical training, marksmanship, mobility, and small-unit tactics – known as the big 5 philosophy – that will lead to the success of the individual Ranger, as well as the Ranger mission.
What Is Ranger School like?
All of those interested in joining the 75th Ranger Regiment who rank from private to sergeant, are required to attend RASP 1 (Ranger Assessment and Selection Program), which is an 8-week course focused on basic skills and tactics required to succeed in the Ranger Regiment. Officers, non-commissioned officers, and warrant officers are required to attend RASP 2, which is a three-week course focused on training in special tactics, missions, and equipment that are unique to the Rangers Regiment. RASP 2 is focused on finding and selecting some of the best leaders there are across the Army.
Once RASP 1 and RASP 2 are successfully completed by their respective soldiers, they will be assigned to the 75th Rangers Regiment. It is not required to attend Ranger School to become a member of the 75th Rangers Regiment, but most who graduate from RASP 2 have already completed Ranger School.
Enter Ranger School
For those attending Ranger School, which is a separate entity than being a part of the 75th Ranger Regiment, but is often expected of soldiers to complete before taking up leadership positions with the Regiment, the rigorous training is more than two months and moves through three phases.
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Phase 1 is the 21-day Benning phase where soldiers’ physical stamina and mental toughness are tested. They also learn the fundamental skills required to complete the next two phases.
Phase 2 takes place in the mountains of Georgia, known as mountain phase, where soldiers are training on military mountaineering, mobility, and learning how to plan, prepare, and execute combat patrol operations while guiding their teams through mountainous environments.
Phase 3 is known as the Florida phase, which continues small-unit tactical training through swamp-like conditions under extreme physical and mental stress. This phase continues the focus of developing the soldier’s combat arms functional skills.
Becoming a member and leader of the 75th Rangers Regiment has the same amount of prestige as joining the Navy SEALs and Green Berets. Their purpose is to conduct special missions in support of the U.S. policies and objectives, oftentimes under high-risk circumstances. They are the go-to direct action raid unit.
Who Are Navy SEALs?
The Navy’s Sea Air and Land forces are a highly specialized, highly trained group of individuals who are tasked with direct action warfare, counterterrorism, foreign internal defense, and special reconnaissance missions. Just like Army Rangers, SEALs are dedicated to their comrades, as well as their missions. Surrender is not in their vocabulary. Becoming a SEAL is an honor, and is often considered one of the hardest trainings in the United States military.
Established in 1962 by John F. Kennedy, are an elite military force who are capable of completing many types of unconventional warfare. According to the SEALs recruitment, the duties of a SEAL may include, but definitely aren’t limited to:
- “Conducting insertions and extractions by sea, air, or land to accomplish covert, Special Warfare/Special Operations missions.
- Capturing high-value enemy personnel and terrorists around the world.
- Collecting information and intelligence through special reconnaissance missions.
- Carrying out small-unit, direct-action missions against military targets.
- Performing underwater reconnaissance and the demolition of natural or man-made obstacles prior to amphibious landings.”
Training To Become a Navy SEAL
Training to become a SEAL is brutal and intense. You are required to withstand extreme mental and physical fatigue while still successfully completing missions. This experience is mirrored in your training. SEAL training consists of more than a year of initial training, which includes Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) School, Parachute Jump School, and SQT or Seal Qualification Training. This initial training is followed by 18 months of additional advanced, specialized pre-deployment training. If you complete all of the SEAL training successfully, you’ll have the confidence and preparedness to take on any situation that may arise during your work as a SEAL.
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If you have a degree and have aspirations of becoming a leader within the SEALs, there are opportunities to become a Navy SEAL officer. As a Navy SEAL Officer, you would have the opportunity to lead SEAL units as well as train up Navy SEALS.
Army Rangers vs Navy SEALs
If you’re deciding whether you want to become an Army Ranger or a Navy SEAL, you really can’t go wrong. Both are highly trained groups of individuals who are more than capable of handling most any experience. You may find similarities in certain types of training and expectations with Army and Navy, but the culture of each is unique to their settings.
It has been said that SEALs are more “laid back” in terms of dress code and how they address each other. It’s also been said that there is a rivalry between Rangers and SEALs. But the important thing to remember is that, regardless of which you decide to pursue, becoming an Army Ranger or a Navy SEAL is a prestigious honor. You would become one of the elites of the United States military. You would be on the front-lines during high-stakes, high-value missions doing the work that Hollywood only dreams of illustrating.
Army Rangers and Navy SEALs are on the same team, fighting for the same things; safety and freedom for United States citizens and land. They collaborate on missions and do so successfully. So set any rivalries aside, and choose the branch that feels most interesting to you because they are both impactful options.