U.S. Army photo

For what it’s worth, Mountain Phase was my least favorite in Ranger School, and the phase where I saw the most good Ranger candidates get hurt or recycled. Sleep deprivation and hunger have begun taking a toll, physically and emotionally. Injuries happen where they wouldn’t have otherwise as you keep pushing yourself beyond the limits with which you’re comfortable. Unstable students who would seem fine under normal circumstances begin behaving erratically.

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nikayla Shodeen

When you hear graduates reminiscing about Ranger School, most people talk about how tough Mountain Phase was, or how they almost failed in Florida. However, Benning Phase, the first of the three phases, is no walk in the park, either. In fact, over 60% of Ranger candidates fail this phase. But if you can adjust to the reality of not eating, not sleeping, and getting the piss smoked out of you while waiting to perform some difficult and often humiliating tasks, you have a pretty good chance of making it through.

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Marine Corps photo by Cpl. James Clark

For as long as war has carried on, men have written poetry about it. The world war narrative has boasted the work of such greats as Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Walt Whitman, Isaac Rosenberg, and Joyce Kilmer over the last hundred years. Now, as the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, we await the emergence of a new generation of war poets.

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Photo by Pfc. Ebony Banks

In a historic first, two women have passed Ranger School and are set to graduate this Friday. There’s a lot of hyperventilation about this from the usual corners: Some say that this is indicative of an overall weakening of standards in the military, others imply that President Barack Obama and the liberal left somehow conspired to cheat the women through, or something. However, shining bright through the muttered outrage and sour-grape peddling are some solid facts about Ranger School and the experience of these two female Ranger grads that I hope the haters consider.

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