Sgt. Andrew McNeil
3rd CAB Public Affairs
Photos by Sgt. Andrew McNeil
Staff Sgt. Miguel Zarate, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle System maintainer assigned to 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, completes a 4-mile ruck while participating in the battalion’s Ranger School preparation course. The 1-64th Ranger School preparation course maintained CDC guidance by ensuring social distancing, but still allowed the Soldiers to maintain physical readiness.

Soldiers prepare for Ranger School amidst pandemic

Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, completed a 4-mile ruck march April 16 while adhering to the CDC guidance of social distancing and face mask usage during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the battalion’s Ranger School preparation.
The Soldiers participating maintained a minimum distance of 6 feet from one another, as the columns gradually moved closer to the starting line and a voice yelled out “go” every 30 seconds, alerting Soldiers to begin movement.
“These Soldiers are investing in their sweat equity,” said Capt. Douglas Sparrow, officer-in-charge of the program. “The ultimate goal of this program is to create better prepared men and women and Soldiers in physical and mental preparedness.”
Though precautions are in place to minimize the risks of COVID-19, the program has not wavered in its goals. The Ranger-qualified instructors adapted the program to fit the new guidelines of public health and safety.
Instead of having formations every day, the instructors of the program required the Soldiers to report to two informal group workouts each week: one on Tuesday and the other on Thursday. The workouts on those days are ruck marches or runs and are done with a focus on individual improvement, Sparrow said.
 
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the Soldiers in the program workout on their own. They are required to record the workout using a fitness monitoring device, such as a heart rate monitor, or a fitness app of their choosing. They share their completed workouts in a group chat.
Soldiers in the program have been using installation resources including the Quick Track, various pull-up and dip bars and BeaverFit equipment at the Newman Fitness Center.
“We are still accountable for our physical readiness, mental readiness, and health readiness,” said Staff Sgt. Miguel Zarate, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle System maintainer participating in the program.
Though things in the world may be slowing down due to travel bans and quarantine requirements, the Army is always moving forward, Zarate said. That is why it is important for Soldiers to maintain their overall readiness.