Another aspect of SOF units that has been overhauled in recent years is Physical Training.  In the past, the habit was the run and ruckmarch soldiers to death, but today, it seems as if smarter approaches are prevailing in the 75th Ranger Regiment as well as among individual Special Forces ODAs with the emphasis being on building functional strength and endurance relevant to actual combat operations.

We had a Regimental Sergeant Major in the 75th who came back to the Rangers after a long stint in Delta Force.  He was a big part of the modernization of the Ranger Battalions.  I remember one of the numerous e-mails that he would send down to us in which he rightly said that our job isn’t to be a marathon runner, a jiu jistu expert, or a body builder.  Our job was to be Rangers, and that means PT should be combat focused.

That’s probably why he invented the smoke fest known as the RPAT…

Ranger Physical Assessment Test (RPAT)

The purpose of this test is to measure all components of fitness (strength, endurance, movement skills), using tactically relevant tasks.

CONDITIONS – Given a 3 mile course, RBA, MICH helmet, Skedco w/ 160-lbs load, 20-foot fast rope apparatus, 20-foot caving ladder apparatus and an 8-foot wall.

STANDARDS – Complete a 3-mile run and combat focused PT course in less than 1 hour. The event will be conducted at squad level, with the mindset that the Ranger is competing against himself. Each time the event is conducted, each Ranger should see constant improvement in his time and ability to negotiate the course.

  1. Conduct a 2-mile run wearing ACUs, boots, RBA and MICH helmet. The run will begin and end at a 20-foot fast rope.
  2. After the completion of the run, immediately climb the 20-foot fast rope and do a controlled descent.
  3. When the rope climb is complete, drag a 160-pound SKEDCO litter 50 yards, turn round and drag it back 50 yards to the start point.
  4. Immediately following the SKEDCO pull, climb a 20-foot caving ladder and climb all the way back down.
  5. At the bottom of the Caving ladder, sprint 100 yards, turn around, sprint back 100 yards and climb over the 8-foot wall.
  6. Conduct a 1 mile run wearing ACUs, boots, RBA and MICH helmet. The run will begin and end at the 8-ft wall. Time stops when you cross the line at the 8-foot wall.

Read more about the Ranger Athletic Warrior.