In yet another move to increase its combat effectiveness and retention, the 75th Ranger Regiment rolled out the PHALANX program.

The initiative is centered on three pillars:

  • Human Performance (performance enhancement opportunities, holistic health assessments, world-class offsite care tailored to each individual)
  • Career (mastery of Ranger fundamentals and competences, more time in key positions — a minimum of 18 months — credentials for Ranger training)
  • Education (executive-level education resources, professional certifications and vocational training — that would translate into to more opportunities in civilian life — battalion education counselors — a rough equivalent of academic advisors in universities — and degree pathways tailored to the individual)

According to the 75th Ranger Regiment, the “PHALANX is built on the foundations established by the Ranger For Life (RFL) program. The Regiment created RFL to prime Rangers for continued success in all their endeavors beyond life in the Regiment. PHALANX will enable Rangers to succeed within the Regiment while developing them mentally, physically, and professionally.”

Aside from improving the quality of life and combat effectiveness of Rangers serving in the battalions, the PHALANX program has a secondary, less visible objective: to make the Regiment a more attractive workplace for aspiring Rangers. A great portion of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s applicant pool is comprised of young Americans who want to do four-years in an elite outfit before moving on with their lives.

The 75th Ranger Regiment is the military’s premier light infantry Special Operations unit. It is comprised of five battalions (1st Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Battalion, Special Troops Battalion, and Military Intelligence Battalion). The Regiment has significant enlistment and retention bonuses to attract and retain more Rangers.

The famous Phalanx was a battle formation designed for close combat. Hoplites would lock their big, round shields and thrust with their spears from the top rim, thereby creating a solid wall of metal and spearheads. Originated in Mesopotamia, the concept was improved and mastered by the ancient Greeks. Different Greek city-states and kingdoms produced slightly different iterations of the concept. The Macedonians, for instance, used a huge spear, called sarissa, which was approximately 20 feet long. This allowed them to engage the enemy from a longer distance. The tactical advantage that the Phalanx gave Greek commanders was key in both the defence against the Persian invasion (for example, in the Battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Plataea) and the conquest of the East under Alexander the Great.

An artistic depiction of the ancient Greek Phalanx.

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