Capt. Daniel Reynolds, who is with the 4th Test and Evaluation Squadron out of Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, graduated from Ranger School at Fort Moore, Georgia, on Oct. 13. An image shared by the Ranger School on Facebook showed him posing in front of a Space Force flag alongside other Guardians.
Reynolds graduating from Ranger School -- a two-month course filled with grueling physical training and exercises designed to educate participants on elite squad and platoon tactics -- is not only a first for the service, it bucks criticisms and stereotypes that Guardians aren't as active as other military service branches.
Reynolds has been challenging those norms throughout his career, and has broken several barriers as a Guardian.
Prior to graduating, and even before being accepted, Reynolds had to pass the Ranger Assessment Course, a 19-day evaluation course "designed to assess the physical and mental toughness of airmen and Guardians who are interested in attending Army Ranger School," the Air Force said in an August press release.
Reynolds was the sole Guardian alongside 15 airmen and 15 soldiers. Only 15 applicants met the standard to go on to Ranger School. He was one of them.
Last year, Reynolds became the first Guardian to graduate from the U.S. Army's Sapper Leader Course, a 28-day leadership program focused on educating combat engineers.
"Space is a warfighting domain, and Guardians are the leading edge of national defense across an increasingly complex front," Reynolds said in a press release last year. "To succeed, we have to be adaptive, enduring, and lethal. These are the fundamentals that the Sapper Leader Course emphasizes, and the skills that Guardians, as warfighters, bring to the joint fight every day."
In 2021, Reynolds made history when he became the first Space Force Guardian to graduate from the Army's Air Assault School.
"The best engineers in the world can be drawn from those who understand how to use the system operationally," Reynolds said in a Department of Defense press release last year. "Attending Air Assault School was a rare opportunity for a tester to study the intricacies of how a warfighter implements a military system."
Reynolds, whose hometown is in Germany, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2017 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force with a bachelor of science in astronautical engineering degree, according to the Pentagon.
His first duty station was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as a research fellow focused on NASA's next-generation lunar Space Station while working on his master's degree.
Less than two years after the Space Force became the newest military service, Reynolds transferred in the spring of 2021.
"When the Space Force was founded a few months after my graduation from MIT, my experiences there were at the forefront of my mind," Reynolds said in a release. "Having the opportunity to be a part of an incredible team working together to solve some of our nation's most complex problems spoke to my passion to serve."
The Air Force first began sending airmen to Ranger School in 1955; since then, around 350 have graduated from the course, according to the Air Force. Now, because of Reynolds, there is also one Guardian to join the list.
-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.