May 8, 2006

Iraqi soldier graduates from US Army Ranger school

Arkan will go on to train Iraqi Special Forces.
“I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could go,” said Arkan, who asked that his last name be withheld for his family’s safety in Iraq. “Just the point that I am the first one … that was my whole, big motivation.”

The 61-day Ranger course is considered one of the most grueling, small unit leadership courses in the U.S. military. Students learn to plan and lead squad and platoon size missions while being deprived of food and sleep. The course is designed to simulate the stress of combat.

In the end, those who finish receive the prestigious gold and black Ranger tab, a mark of credibility among all combat leaders.

Arkan’s accomplishment is no small feat since only 35 percent of foreign military personnel graduate, said Lt. Col. Odie Sheffield, deputy commander of the Ranger Training Brigade.

“It’s huge,” he said. “He didn’t fail a single patrol.”

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