TYR Tactical

Soldier Earns Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings, Air Assault Badge in One Year

BOISE, Idaho — Pfc. Cooper Hayes has only served in the Idaho Army National Guard for 14 months, but he has already compiled a career’s worth of accomplishments. Over the past 11 months, the 20-year-old has completed the U.S. Army’s Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault schools.

“It’s been a long year,” Hayes said.

Hayes moved from Bothell, Washington, to Boise to attend Boise State University and enlisted into the Idaho Army National Guard in October 2021 to help pay for college, where he is a business student.

He took a semester off from school to attend the Army’s 11B infantry school at Fort Benning and was planning on being home in time to resume classes in August. That changed after he was offered the chance to attend Ranger School.

“I wanted to challenge myself and be the best Soldier I can be,” he said. “So, I decided to take another semester off and go to Ranger School. It sucked in the moment, but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.”

On average, less than 50 percent of Soldiers complete the first phase of the three-phase course, making it one of the Army’s most challenging courses. The course is 61 days and tests Soldiers’ physical stamina, mental toughness and tactical fundamentals.

After earning his Ranger tab, Hayes completed the Basic Airborne Course to earn his jump wings. Earlier this month, he completed the Army’s Air Assault School. Air Assault School has close to a 55 percent fail rate, including a washout rate of 15 percent on the first day.

“Airborne and air assault were great experiences,” Hayes said. “They are both another thing to add to my resume.”

Hayes is currently assigned to C Company, 2-116th Combined Arms Battalion, Idaho’s only infantry company. He plans to commission through the Boise State University Army ROTC program.

By MAJ Robert Taylor, Idaho Army National Guard

17 Responses to “Soldier Earns Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings, Air Assault Badge in One Year”

  1. chris says:

    That is awesome! Congratulations on job(s) well done PFC Hayes!

  2. Kevin says:


  3. Spes says:

    Wow, he is going have his pick of assignments once he commissions. I wish I had gotten the same schools opportunities during ROTC.

  4. Cam says:

    Now try to get in the 75th regiment

  5. Pete says:

    This is testament to PFC Hayes for his fortitude and this chain of command for the necessary support. Grabbing the bull by the horns.

    Also, this is a young man’s game. nearly every part of my body short of the earlobes hurt in solidarity.

  6. bulldog76 says:

    in the words of darth vader ” most impressive”

  7. You are to be commended for your considerable accomplishments. What an honor for you and your future in the U.S. Army.
    Don’t stop now, the skys the limit.

  8. Alpha2 says:

    Awesome, PFC Hayes. Job well done!

  9. TC says:

    Bravo Zulu ! That’s self motivation in action !

  10. A says:

    He should push for ROTC to send him to CDQC or free fall. They somehow get slots for both.

    • Nicco says:

      They do, but not all ROTC programs have the finances to afford to send cadets to courses that they get accepted into.

  11. Alan Pattee says:

    Great job

  12. Dennis Cruz says:

    Congratulations,,,,very well done. Army vet here, 13B, Ft. Sill, Ok. 1984-1990.

  13. Robert says:

    My daughter a West Point Grad did Air assault, IBOLC and Ranger School… And

  14. Alexander says:

    Absolutely phenomenal for PFC Hayes, and kudos to the leadership he has. More leaders need to be like his.

  15. BidenIsGreatLeader (He/Her) says:

    Congrats, PFC Hayes! Looks like you’ll be one of the Points of the Spear, when we begin Biden’s “Operation Blue-Balls”, this Summer! Hopefully, you’ll be able to add Hero of the Union of Soviet American States to your accomplishments, as we engage in Sweep Operations against these Rethuglican domestic insurrectionists, under Joe Biden’s direction.

    Power To The People!