Mines News

Release Date Monday, April 1, 2019

SD Mines Alumnus Graduates US Army Ranger School

2nd Lt. Sam Wendte

RAPID CITY, SD (March 28, 2019) – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology alumnus 2nd Lt. Sam Wendte graduated from the prestigious US Army Ranger School in Fort Benning, Ga., on March 8.

Wendte graduated from Mines in May 2018, with a degree in mechanical engineering. At Mines, he was named a Distinguished Military Graduate of Army ROTC, which puts him in the top 10 percent of ROTC cadets nationally. He earned his commission as an Army infantry officer.

While a student at Mines, Wendte was active in the Mount Rushmore Battalion, completing the US Army Air Assault Course and serving in various cadet leadership positions. His activities culminated in his selection as the cadet battalion commander, where he led his peers and underclassmen enrolled in the Army ROTC program. He was a member of Triangle Fraternity, where he held the offices of athletic chair and vice president. He was also selected for two internships with the US Army Corps of Engineers and Vishay Intertechnology. 

Wendte is a graduate of Yankton High School, where he was a three-sport athlete competing in varsity football, baseball and basketball. He graduated in the top 10 percent of his high school class and earned a four-year National Army ROTC Scholarship.

Ranger School is one of the toughest training courses for which a soldier can volunteer. Army Rangers are experts in leading soldiers on difficult missions. To do this, they need rigorous training. For more than two months, ranger students train to exhaustion, pushing the limits of their minds and bodies.

“Ranger School is a unique opportunity to test yourself, physically and mentally,” Wendte says. “Throughout the school, leadership is taught indirectly through small unit tactics, both at the squad and platoon level. Sleepless nights are common, and lack of food is standard. These conditions will degrade you physically. Meanwhile the constant stress of getting a “GO” on your patrol will tax you mentally. While conducting patrols under these stressful conditions, you will learn your strengths and weaknesses, and how your ability to influence and lead others is affected.”

Wendte says the result of completing Ranger School is a baseline of credibility for leaders at all levels. “Wearing the tab confirms to all around you that you are technically and tactically proficient and can handle the most stressful of conditions,” he says.

Since entering the US Army, Wendte has completed Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course-B (BOLC-B) and now Ranger School.  Following US Army Airborne School and the Stryker Leader Course, he will report to Fort Carson, Colo., and be assigned to the 4th Infantry Division.  


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,529 students with an average class size of 24. The SD School of Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $63,350. Find us online at sdsmt.edu and on  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, 605.394.2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu