Ranger RI 20 Boards | Preparing for Ranger School

Ranger RI 20 Boards | Preparing for Ranger School

Ranger RI 20 Boards

If you are a Soldier looking to take that next big step in order to accelerate your Army career, then the best thing you can do is attend and pass a leadership school.

So long as you match up to the requirements, these schools will help you achieve both personal and professional development. You will come to learn high-value survival and leadership skills, as well as management and language training. In a nutshell, you’ll receive knowledge that prepares you to overcome obstacles and succeed in any mission.

One of these schools, and probably the most recognized, is Ranger School. Arguably the toughest training course for any Soldier, an Army Ranger has the task of leading a tactical team on difficult missions. That’s why you’ll have to go through rigorous training for more than 60 days through all sorts of difficult challenges.

One key to doing well at Ranger School is mastering small unit tactics, to include Raids, Ambushes, Danger Areas, and others. 

Ranger School has conveniently consolidated basic instruction on how to conduct all of these operations on what is known as the "RI 20 Boards."

Our RI 20 Boards Laminated Battle Book can help smooth your journey through Ranger School.

Now let’s give you a little breakdown of what Ranger School looks like and what to expect.


The principal objective of the US Army’s Ranger Course is to enroll Army volunteers, and then train and prepare them in functional skills. These are skills related to combat arms. So, as a Ranger, your primary mission will involve engaging in direct-fire battles and close combat.

Your training will push you beyond your mind and body limits. It’s mostly about training yourself to exhaustion. The experience given to you has been expertly designed to put you on the zenith of mental and physical breaking points. Frankly speaking, Ranger School is hell – that's the one fact that every graduate admits to.

To a large extent, the challenges and stress of Ranger school are independent of how you prepare. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared. There are challenges you must be ready to tackle in order to succeed.


Ranger school plays out in 3 distinct schedules where you are expected to decide and act quickly in extreme situations. To give you as much of an idea as possible, we've summarized the phases below:

The  Benning Phase

This phase marks your first 20 days in Ranger School, conducted at Camp Rogers and Camp Darby at Fort Benning, Georgia. Your success in the entire program lies in your ability to complete the Crawl Phase. At this stage, you'll be trained to develop the mental and physical skills required to complete combat missions. This initial phase is usually fast-paced, so you'll do yourself a lot of good if you show up in top physical condition when reporting to the school. Anything other than that will see you have a hard time keeping up with the entire course.

The Mountain Phase

Next is the Mountain Phase. You'll spend around 21 days here getting instructed on military mountaineering operations. You'll also learn the techniques necessary for continuously operating in mountainous environments in a combat patrol. This phase will also see you plan, prepare, and execute various patrol missions geared towards improving your patrol controlling and commanding ability.

The Swamp Phase

This last phase will further boost your development of functional skills in combat arms. You must be able to operate effectively in the face of adverse physical and mental stress. There will be rigorous exercises at the Platoon level where you will complete patrol operations in swampy environments. This is the phase where you also develop your small unit-leading ability in small boat, air assault, airborne, dismounted, and ship-to-shore combat patrol operations. The purpose is to help you excel against a highly efficient enemy in a low-intensity combat environment.





As you go through Ranger School, there will be classes and instructors to take you through the course. At the start, you will learn what is expected of riflemen and continue progressing up to a point where you learn how to carry out a raid.

Your Ranger School training journey will expose you to different squad and platoon-related activities like conducting a recon, ambush, and raid. Most of the patrols will also involve establishing and operating in patrol bases. So knowing what each of these operations entails beforehand, as well as the doctrinal requirements to execute them will make it easier to learn about them under evaluation.

You already know how much sleep deprivation impeded learning but that doesn't mean Ranger school sets you up for failure. You can succeed because most of what you learn will be from repetition. So the best way to make Ranger school less stressful is to stay on top of small unit tactics. It’ll do you a lot of good if you have a full grasp of the procedures involved in leading a troop, especially when it has to do with Warning and Operation Orders.


Get access to every tactic board from Ranger School in this

Laminated Battle Book




You’ll barely get any sleep in Ranger School. This is no joke, seriously! Only a couple of hours, maybe zero to five. The level of exhaustion that comes with the training is indescribable. It's normal to see trainees sleeping while standing. Some will even slam into the ground while staying asleep. But do not try to practice sleep deprivation while preparing as there's not much you can do about it. It’s simply inevitable.

When it comes to food, you’ll mostly be given Ready-to-Eat, twice daily. The MREs, as they’re called, add up to around 1,250 calories on average. But since you’re going to be on the move most of the time, you’ll end up burning many times that amount. Expect to lose some pounds during the course of your training. Again, this is inevitable, so don’t even try to put on weight before participating in the program. You’ll only be putting yourself at a disadvantage and probably sabotage your efforts to remain in your best physical and mental state.


For enlisted Soldiers, you should do quite okay if you have a basic understanding of the drills. And anyone who’s an 11B/11C, these should be familiar, especially if you’ve been on active duty or in a Brigade Combat Team. However, it is important for an officer to know and understand clearly what will be expected of them. The truth is, if you don’t, there’s no chance whatsoever that you’ll make it past the first phase.



When it comes to Ranger School, YOU are your final challenge. Just being a part of the program alone will unlock your deepest emotional, physical, and mental states. It’s all about staying resolute and committing yourself to cross that finish line. During your darkest moments, you will have doubts but you can complete the course if you put your mind to it.

As a sort of motivation, focus on crossing the Darby phase, the first milestone. If you can do that, then you have a higher chance of making it through Ranger School and earning that tab.

To give you a head start, we’ve put together a laminated battle book that contains every tactic board from Ranger School.


Get yours here!

Back to blog