New York Army National Guard Private 1st Class Brandon Snyder, a Livonia resident, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment, is a recent graduate of the Army’s prestigious Ranger School.
Snyder, who joined the New York Army National Guard in 2019, finished the demanding 61-day course in August. He reported into his unit this month. Ranger School is considered to be the Army’s toughest course and premier small unit tactics and leadership training school.
The Ranger School emphasizes physical fitness, small unit tactics and patrolling.
The first part of the training is conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia where the Ranger candidates must successfully pass a grueling physical assessment program that includes a 12-mile forced march. Other training takes place in the mountains of Georgia and the swamps of the Florida panhandle.
The training involves long days, short nights, and little food.
Soldiers who complete the course are awarded a Ranger “tab” which they wear on the left sleeve of their uniform for the rest of their military career.
Snyder, age 23, was identified to attend the course during Infantry One Stop Unit Training at Fort Benning. One stop training allows new recruits to move from basic combat training directly through their infantry skills training.
Through the Army National Guard’s Ranger Team Leader Initiative, or RTLI, for short, selected Soldiers who excel in this training group are identified and offered a chance to tackle Ranger School right out of their infantry training.
The RTLI program scouts for candidates who are in Infantry training and identifies the best potential National Guard Soldiers to succeed at the Ranger course.
National Guard officers at the Infantry School consult with drill sergeants at the school to determine which Soldiers would succeed at Ranger School. Soldiers who agree to participate in the program attend a 30 day Ranger Training Assessment Course to prepare them for Ranger School.
Snyder said he was pleased to be asked to participate in the program.
“It was kind of like my dream to go to Ranger School, and I remember asking my recruiter about it,” he said.
“I didn’t even know about the program until the day that cadre said they were offering me a chance to starve myself for an additional eight weeks,” Snyder said.
Getting a chance to attend Ranger School as a brand new Soldier is not the norm. Most Soldiers who attend the school serve in their units before being selected for the training.
The Army’s goal is to have Ranger School trained Soldiers throughout its infantry formations in both the Active Army and the National Guard. These Soldiers are expected to pass on the skills they’re acquired to other infantrymen.
Snyder said he knows his experience is unique and wants to pass along his experience to his fellow unit Soldiers.