Captain Jason Lopez earns coveted Army Ranger tab

FORT BENNING, GA - Captain Jason W. Lopez was one of 210 graduates of the United States Army’s Ranger School held here at Victory Pond on Aug. 28

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The United States Army Ranger School is an extremely intense combat leadership course, oriented to small-unit tactics, and conducted in three separate three-week-long phases at Fort Benning, Georgia (the woodland terrain, “Benning Phase”) at Camp Rogers and Camp Darby, Georgia, the “Mountain Phase” at Camp Merrill, near Dablonega, Georgia, and the Florida Phase at Camp Rudder, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Students in the course undergo 61 days of physical and mental exertion while consistently carrying 65-100 pounds of combat equipment on tactical foot movements of 200-plus miles. They consume only 2200 calories a day and are allowed only 0 to 5 hours of sleep a night.

Students are responsible for completing six-plus leadership positions while passing 50% of those patrols. Those who meet these demanding course standards earn the right to wear the coveted Ranger tab.

Captain Lopez is a 1997 graduate of Rayne High School and a 2001 graduate of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Lopez, a Cavalry officer, is currently stationed at Ft. Polk near Leesville, where he serves as an Observer/Controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and oversees the final intensive training for units heading to Iraq.

The mission of Ranger School is to conduct Ranger and Reconnaissance and Surveillance leader courses to further develop the combat arms related functional skills of officer and enlisted volunteers who are eligible for assignment to units whose primary mission is to engage in the close combat, direct fire battle.

In addition to the Ranger course, Captain Lopez has successfully completed Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, Maneuver Officer Basic Course, Scout Platoon Leader’s Course, Basic Airborne Course, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader’s Course and Air Movement Operations course during his career.

Ranger School students participate in three airborne and several air assault operations throughout the duration of the course, relying on C- 130 Hercules cargo planes, as well as UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, for insertion and extraction.

The students also have the ability to call-in and utilize close air support in the form of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and AC- I 30H Specter gunships during many of their missions. All aircraft are provided by other nearby units as part of training co-operative.

Captain Lopez is the son of Ronald and Trish Lopez of Scott, and Bernard and Terry Richard of Edwards, Miss. He is the grandson of Willard and Janelle Pousson of Rayne.

He is married to the former Nicole Dabbs of Thibodeaux, and is the father of Landri (age five), Jackson (age three) and Andrew (one week).

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