Face of Defense: Soldier Recounts Her Path to Earning Army Ranger Tab

The end was in sight.

Long days of little food and sleep were taking a toll on Army Capt. Natalie Mallue as she neared the end of the third and final phase of the Army’s Ranger school, deep in the swamps of Camp Rudder, Florida.

But after three months — including once being sent back to restart the final phase — Mallue knew it would soon be over, the grueling days and nights culminating in one crucial thing: the coveted Ranger tab.

When she graduated Ranger school at Fort Benning in April 2017, Mallue became only the sixth female to graduate the school and the first to wear both the Ranger and Sapper tabs.

Mallue’s determination to achieve her goals was instilled in her at a young age, she said.

“I was raised in a typical rural, suburban type neighborhood. Nobody was in my family was in the military … I didn’t know anything about it,” she said. “I had a neighbor who was retired Air Force and he suggested I take a look at the Air Force Academy. So I started taking a look into it and the other military academies.”

‘I Thought I’d Do Something Extra’

Mallue considered her options and eventually decided on West Point, seeing it as the most viable academy.

“Between all the service academies I liked West Point and the Air Force the most. I ended up choosing West Point because it was more people-focused,” she explained. “The Air Force Academy seemed more focused on…

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