Unlike in the United States Army, Rangers in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are not part of the Special Forces but rather, are personnel who have passed a rigorous training course in advanced combat and survival training. While not as demanding as Special Forces training, trainees need to make long treks through the wilderness carrying tens of kilograms of military gear, as well as reaching far higher standards of combat readiness than regular JSDF forces.
First Lieutenant Itami successfully passed the Ranger Course, having originally been ordered through by his CO in an attempt to instill greater levels of discipline into him. The attempt failed but Youji nonetheless proved himself capable of living up to the standards of both Ranger and later Special Forces training. This discovery came much to the surprise of Shino Kuribayashi, who was incredulous that Itami, a self-admitted Otaku with a laid-back attitude towards his work is actually able to reach such levels of physical and mental aptitude.