Rangers Lead The Way.

I’m not a Ranger. When I was in Basic Training at Ft. Benning, I saw the Ranger School students going through the “easy” part of their 61 day course. As bad as I was sucking wind, it pretty quickly became clear to me that those guys were facing a much higher hurdle than I felt like facing just then.

And the Rangers do produce some tough soldiers.

(Sergeant First Class Joe Kapacziewski) joined the Army in 2001, and has served with the 75th Ranger Regiment for his entire military career.
“Being part of the 75th Ranger Regiment means everything to me. I have had the privilege to serve in the Regiment for nine years now and cannot imagine doing any other job in the military. I love waking up every morning and going to work with 600 of my best friends,” he said.

Kapacziewski will deploy to Afghanistan in early 2011 as a Ranger platoon sergeant, a role to which he was recently promoted. While this will be his second deployment as a platoon sergeant, he has previously deployed to the Middle East six times, including three since his amputation (emphasis mine-ed).

“Being a platoon sergeant is the best job I’ve had in the Army and I am thankful my Chain of Command had the confidence in me to put me in this position,” Kapacziewski said. “My goal for this upcoming deployment is rid the world of as many terrorists as possible in the time we are over there. I will lead my fellow Rangers by setting the example in all we do and by being relentless in the pursuit of our enemies.”

Read the whole thing.

Surviving the Cut

I just finished watching the first installment of Discoery Channels’ new series “Surviving the Cut.” The series premier followed a class of soldiers through the US Army’s Ranger School.

Not a bad program. It’s hard to cram a 61 day course into an hour of television. And it is flatly impossible to convey the sheer level of hunger, fatigue and discomfort that is deliberately built in to the course.

I’m not a Ranger. I never went to any of the high-speed courses in the Army. I’ve done just about all the tasks that a student would go through in Ranger School. But what I didn’t have to do was face the grind of doing it for 2 straight months with no more than 4 hours sleep a night, and on no more than one or two meals a day. It’s pretty easy to put up with misery for a five day training exercise. But fatigue is cumulative. What may be easy on Day 5 is damn near impossible on Day 50.

Next week the show brings us the Air Forces Pararescue course. It is a tennent of the Army that the Air Force may wear uniforms, but they aren’t really military. PJ’s are the exception to that rule.