Welcome to Darby Day 101!
I will be using RS as an acronym for Ranger School.***
The Darby pass will be the fastest day you have ever experienced with your loved one. It is just enough time to encourage you to begin the countdown for graduation.
Should you attend? Yes.
Is it okay if you can’t attend? Yes.
While Darby pass is in fact a break from RS, there will be A LOT your ranger needs to accomplish. Your ranger needs to eat, to do laundry, to shower, to restock, to dress their wounds, and to re-shave their heads at the very least.
Who can attend what is commonly referred to as Darby day?
Anyone can attend, but in all honesty, the less people, the better. Your ranger will be tired, hungry, and have a lot to get done during their pass. Limit visitors for their sake as well as yours.
What if I can’t attend?
If you can’t attend Darby day for whatever reason, don’t worry! You ranger will still be able to leave base and accomplish all that they need to during the pass. In fact, there are always wonderful people willing to pack their cars full of rangers whose families couldn’t attend. Taxis are also allowed on base. Uber/Lyft drivers are not permitted on base.
If you can’t attend, you still might be able to see your loved one’s face! There is a live video feed of the guys coming out of the gates that is posted on the Ranger School support group Facebook page.
How can I get on base? Obtain a visitors pass.
You will need a visitors pass to access Fort Benning. Online it says that you need to apply for the pass 7 days early, but you do not need to! You can simply park by the small guest pass office located just outside of the main gate, and obtain your visitors pass to access the military base the same day! If you have a military ID, you do not need a visitors pass.
After you get the visitors pass, you can use any gate to get onto base and head to Camp Rogers to grab your ranger!
When/How long is the pass?
The length of the pass depends on whether or not your ranger is recycling. If your ranger got a go and will be moving onto Mountain phase, then their pass is on a Friday and it is from 10-6. If your ranger is recycling Darby phase, then their pass will be on a Saturday from 8-6. HAVE THEM BACK EARLY!
If you are attending darby day, then you want to be there about an hour early. The parking lot that is right by the gate is small, and therefore it fills up quickly. There is more parking about .25 mile down the road.
If my Ranger recycles will they get another Darby pass?
Yes, they will get another Darby pass, and the same rules apply. They need to eat and restock on their supplies at the very least.
What can my Ranger eat?
Make sure that you are keeping your ranger hydrated and encouraging them to eat during Darby pass. They have been eating 2 MREs a day during school, and they will be SO SKINNY! My husband ate a pizza, wings, a doughnut, fried pickles, a steak, fries, and a candy bar on pass. He needed every single calorie. My advice is to skip huge protein shakes.. They need the calories, but it will mess their stomachs up.
What can I do to make the Darby pass easier on my ranger?
I would encourage you to have a hotel room readily available for your ranger to shower and relax. I took my husbands sheers from home, and shaved his head so that he didn’t have to pay to have it done. If you can, take some Neosporin and bandaids for your ranger. My husband’s hands were already pretty dry and cracked.
What can my ranger take back with them?
ONLY things on the packing list! Try to encourage them double check their stuff before you leave to head back to base. They can take your letters and some wallet-sized photos with them. Remember, everything they take, they will have to carry.
Send them off with a hug and a kiss, and skip the tears. You want them to go back ready to conquer the next phase. Cry in the car after you’ve said your goodbyes.
Don’t forget to snap some pictures! They’ll forget just how skinny they had gotten.
I was driving over to Fort Benning for Darby day, so I packed a box of things I felt my ranger would need to restock during pass. I took my husband the following: write in the rain notebooks, paracord, 100mph tape, baby wipes, gum, handwritten letters, wallet-sized laminated photos, bandaids, neosporin, foot powder, sheers, waterproof gloves, razors, toothpaste, AA and AAA batteries, laundry detergent, white vinegar. Those items are all things on the packing list that they have more than likely used and diminished in Darby phase.
Basically, the two surplus stores near base are pretty expensive. It is better to buy ahead of time off of amazon, and return things. Purchasing things ahead of time also allows you to spend less time running between stores, and more time hanging out!
Make sure you check the ranger school packing list. The packing list is strict on what brands of lotion / foot powder / socks/ etc. that they can have. You don’t want to cause your Ranger to be dropped for being out of regulation.
They need to do their laundry on their pass if they weren’t able to do it the night before. I took detergent and white vinegar specifically for their nasty stuff. Sometimes it is easier just to toss the clothes and rebuy things that are exceptionally disgusting. Washing your own laundry is cheaper than having it dry cleaned, but obviously more time consuming. Something to think about!