Female Lieutenant Earns Back-to-Back Sapper and Ranger Tabs

January 6, 2022Coffee or Die
first female double tabbed

2nd Lt. Amanda Atkinson, 3rd Infantry Division, graduated from the US Army Ranger School Dec. 10, 2021, making her the first female soldier in the 3rd Infantry Division and fifth in the Army to obtain both the Ranger and Sapper tabs. Atkinson had already graduated the Sapper Leader Course on July 2, 2019, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. US Army photo by Sgt. Trenton Lowery.

An Army lieutenant with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart recently completed back-to-back graduations of two of the Army’s most demanding combat training schools. Amanda Atkinson, a second lieutenant with the 3rd ID’s Gila Battalion, graduated the Sapper Leader Course in July and Ranger School in December, becoming just the fifth female soldier to wear tabs from both schools.

Atkinson is the 94th woman to graduate Ranger School, completing the course with another 3rd ID soldier, 1st Lt. Rafael Eirea-Lamberto.

“Lieutenants Atkinson and Eirea-Lamberto represent the fighting spirit of the Gila Battalion,” said Lt. Col. Brian T. Looney, commander of the 9th BEB, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “I am extremely proud of these two leaders and their dedication to excellence.”

Ranger School is widely viewed as one of the toughest training programs in the military, with 61 days of training in three phases: Benning, Mountain, and Florida. Candidates must successfully complete each phase. The Sapper Leader Course is an intensive 28-day course that covers the skills and tactical work of combat engineers.

Sapper Ranger
2nd Lt. Amanda Atkinson is pinned by her husband at the US Army Ranger School graduation, Victory Pond, Fort Benning, Georgia, Dec. 10, 2021. US Army photo by Sgt. Trenton Lowery.

“I wanted to attend [Ranger] to better myself and improve my leadership skills before taking a platoon. Being a female did not affect how I was treated at the school,” Atkinson said. “My instructors and peers held me to the same standard as all the other Ranger students.”

Atkinson, a native of Harbeson, Delaware, and Eirea-Lamberto, a native of Miami, Florida, both started and graduated Ranger School on the same dates and crossed paths many times while in training.

“We were in the same squad during Mountain phase and the same platoon during Florida phase,” Eirea-Lamberto said. “We pushed each other and watched each other’s back.”

Atkinson was also a member this past May of the first all-female Sapper team to compete in the Best Sapper Competition. She trained for the competition with Eirea-Lamberto.

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Coffee or Die is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s online lifestyle magazine. Launched in June 2018, the magazine covers a variety of topics that generally focus on the people, places, or things that are interesting, entertaining, or informative to America’s coffee drinkers — often going to dangerous or austere locations to report those stories.

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