Space Force Capt. Daniel Reynolds recently graduated from the Army’s demanding Ranger School, making him the first guardian to complete the course, the service announced Monday.
Reynolds was pinned with the distinguished Ranger Tab by his father — and fellow Ranger — Army Col. John Reynolds, according to an Oct. 13 post from the Army National Guard Warrior Training Center.
Although Space Force, which called the accomplishment “a huge achievement” on social media, only emerged as a service in 2019, Reynolds has quickly ascended in his career to achieve out-of-this-world successes.
In 2021, he became the first guardian to graduate from the Army’s Air Assault School. In 2022, he followed that feat by becoming the first guardian to complete the Army’s 28-day Sapper Leader Course, according to a Space Force release.
“Guardians succeed despite stressful circumstances,” Reynolds said at the time. “Guardians are our nation’s vanguards in the defense of the global space domain.”
Originally from Aschaffenburg, Germany, Reynolds graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2017 with a degree in astronautical engineering, according to a Defense Department release. He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics while completing a fellowship with NASA.
Reynolds transferred from the Air Force to the Space Force in 2021, the DoD release noted, and has since gone on to serve as a test director with the Colorado-based 4th Test and Evaluation Squadron.
Just over 350 airmen have graduated from Ranger School since 1955, when the service first began sending select personnel, according to the Air Force.
Considered one of the toughest military courses, the multi-phase school puts service members through more than 60 days of grueling physical and mental challenges. Trainees endure sleep and food deprivation as well as extreme weather conditions, factors underscored by the immense pressure to succeed, Air Force Capt. Daniel Mack, a Ranger Assessment Course instructor, said in the Air Force release.
“Anyone can lead in good conditions, but can you lead when you are hungry, tired, and fatigued?” Mack said. “Can you get others to perform when they are in the same conditions? Completing the course or not, Airmen and Guardians go back to the Air and Space Force as a better leader.”
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media