After RIP (Now RASP) Thoughts of a Private in Regiment

Eight weeks of smoke, training & evaluation.
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cdwdirect
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After RIP (Now RASP) Thoughts of a Private in Regiment

Post by cdwdirect »

I am an optimistic person, I believe in things. I love freedom. I believe that America represents the first time in the history of the human race that a society has formed itself around an identity of values, even if we're not aware of it these days. That is why I swore in. It is a statement of agreement with the codified values of America, our principles and desires. A big, "fuck you," to the malignant ignorance of our time. That you say, "This way of life, this freedom for all kinds of people to be themselves and to be distinct, to make sure this society continues it's life is worth losing mine." It is morally right. So you surrender your free will, to a degree, to serve... to follow your orders to do what is deemed necessary by experts in defense, to defend. You don't weigh methods or campaigns, all you can and should do is show up and perform until you have kept your promises in totality. Only you know how deep your heart is moved by the hunger for truth and freedom. It will be tested, if you want to be a Ranger.

In a practical sense we are just soldiers following orders. But when I look around at my chain of command and the other guys I work with, sometimes it seems like we are human beings attempting to be something more, and we push ourselves beyond practical limits to accomplish extraordinary goals. We don't even have a reason why - except we're "Rangers" ... and most of us can't even really say what that means. We do dangerous things. We work so damn hard for the same fucking paycheck that every other slack-jawed private in the Army gets. But we wouldn't trade this position for anything in the world. We joke sometimes about wanting to be free from this burden, but the truth is that we could fuck ourselves up and get kicked out any time we wanted - but there is some deep pulse thumping away in our hearts that refuses. We are bound by some power, some love of something really primitive and unsafe, but good.

Do what you have to do. Get in.

...

When you get here, you'll get scuffed up. It is ironic that the harder you work to get somewhere special in the Army, the worse you get treated when you arrive. Everyone at the level you ascend to has done it before you, when it was harder, and done ever more in the mean-time. They've deployed, or gotten their EIB, or gone to Ranger School, or trained through dozens of endless nights and missions back to back. They've poured themselves into the culture you're just being born into... and they look at you with suspicious eyes. Are you a quitter? Are you a shitbag? Are you a coward or an idiot? Are you going to endanger your friends with your ineptitude? Somehow they look past all the likely possibilities and begin to train you up. But just like that shocking sense of worthlessness you received when you joined up, arriving at your Battalion is a lonely awakening - you're not needed, and you're nowhere near an asset. RIP isn't the end of the line. It is a big achievement, don't get me wrong, but the test is just beginning. What you don't know yet is that you are the final judge of your ability to be a Ranger. You'll decide how hard you want to work, how far you are willing to go, you'll be given the chance.

...

Things happen fast here. I went to a skills school within a week of showing up, and when I got back from that I started advanced training. One of the tabbed SPC4's in my squad ran with me during a 12-mile road march and I finished twenty minutes faster than the last time I did it, all kinds of fucked up. A tendon inflamed in my left leg, I could barely walk, but I went out with a private the next day and did a four mile run, wincing in pain the whole way. I've done pushups and pull-ups until I couldn't even lift my arms, and then been made to fight another new private, who hadn't been scuffed up at all, and then mocked for getting overpowered and choked out and done flutterkicks in the hall while screaming the Ranger Creed, etc, etc. But it's all good... because it squeezes the weakness out of you, whether it's physical or mental or emotional, or whatever. You are a fool and a weakling, and you don't give a shit, you keep showing up and trying to get better, and eventually it just might work. And suddenly two of the other privates in my squad are going to Ranger School... I've been here for a few months and I'm already the only private on my team. There is only one other private in my squad who has been here longer than me, and I'm the one squaring away the new guys from other squads. Things happen fast here.

I've surfed the prop wash of a C-130 in the freezing night air, doing a mid-air refuel in a roaring open-doored Blackhawk... coasting so close to the other 60 I could have tossed a stone into my friend's lap. I've cursed the hydraulic fluid of a 53 as I ambled down to the nearly horizontal fast-rope. I've leapt out the side of a C-17 going 170 mph in the rain. I've slogged through night missions with disabled optics wearing armor, gear, and plates and carrying a fucking awkward skedco in soaked grass into dark buildings with screaming casualties and the most intense Sergeants on Earth. I have sweated and puked and ached and pitied myself and hated myself - and woken up and done it all again. And you know what? I haven't done a damn thing.

You do not understand.

...

I didn't want to write this because in my mind I haven't done shit yet. This is a very competitive place, and compared to everyone else I'm a fucking zero. But I felt like there was something more to say than I'd been able to get out before. I guess we all have our reasons for being here. My reason is this, "I believe in things, and I have to know the truth for myself."

Rangers, please add your thoughts. Eggs, DEPs, etc... you are all welcome to PM me, but don't THINK about adding to this thread, for your own sake.
2/75, COCKS

"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth." -Steve McQueen

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ma91c1an
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Post by ma91c1an »

Dude, keep a journal.

Keep it private, do not show it to anyone else. When you are my age, if you live, you will be glad that you did so.

You and I are separated by decades.

Technology has changed. But we are members of the same tribe.
-------
Classes 12, 13, and 14-81.
Company A, 2d Battalion (Ranger), 1st Platoon, "Bad 'Muthers," 1980-1984;
SFQC 4-84.
Company B, 2d Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), ODA 151, 1984-1986.

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Post by rgrpuck »

No shit.

You captured it.
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Post by Silverback »

CDW,
You're my fucking "Hero of the month"!
RC 2-87
3-75 84/85, 95/97
"thnks 4 pratn merku!"

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Post by rgrpuck »

SB I think this one needs to be stickied here so every DEP can read it.

They will never understand it. But it might be a place for them to start.
CSM RGRPUCK
CL 3-88

Operation Just Cause (Dec- Jan 89)
Operation Enduring Freedom (Jan-aug '03)
Operation Iraqi Freedom (Jan- July "04)
Operation Enduring Freedom (Jan 07- Jan 08 )
Operation Enduring Freedom (Aug 09- Jan 10 )

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ma91c1an
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Post by ma91c1an »

One thing that leapt out at me is, we have all of us been privates in Battalion, or Regiment, depending on our era. We lived the suck, and it most definitely is a way of life.

Life in Battalion was a harsh school, but it formed me, changed me forever, stamped me, to a point where I am still, and will always remain, a "Bat boy," no matter where I go, no matter what I do for an encore.

As CDW points out, "things move fast" in the unit. It will not be long before he goes to that crucial rite of passage known as Ranger School, and returns to his platoon to take over a fire team. That is when shit gets good, in my opinion.

For me, the experience was similar, but different, because I was a medic.

But there was no doubt that life changed, immensely, and for the better, after I survived the suck and got the tab. For better or for worse, the tab is the prerequisite for leadership in the Battalions. I was technically a company senior medic when I went to Ranger School, but I was suddenly able to actually play a leadership role after I returned. I wrote the medical annexes for patrol orders, for example. When shit went down, the call went out for "Doc" as it had before, but it was different. I was on the spot in a much different way, and my voice had much more authority, and the responsibility level was much greater. My admin responsibilities were much greater, ranging from evacuation liaison with supporting units, to maintenance of shot records and updates, to DZSO responsibilities, and running rifle ranges.

I was always struck, after I went out into the broader Army as a tabbed E-4, at how much more experience and seasoning I had compared to other E-4's. I jumpmastered my first aircraft as a Corporal, when I was TDY to Ft. Dix for OJT after the old 300F1 course. The jump was for the reserve SF unit in the area, but I had more jumps, and more experience as a jumpmaster, than most of the other NCOs in the unit with which I straphanged. It was awesome. I had my very own C-130. And jumpers for whom I was wholly responsible.

Later, when I went to the full SFQC, I was a buck sergeant. I was one of the few combat veterans there. It was a very different era, obviously, but I was able to draw on a wealth of experience that stood me in very good stead. I remember being shocked, and deeply honored, one evening, when an old 1SG who was a Vietnam veteran made the statement that "there are only two combat veterans in this room," and when I looked around and did the math, I realized that he was including me with him in the category. I was an E-6 at the time. I was staggered. But his point was valid.

Life is faster in the Regiment.

Life in Battalion is a pressure cooker, and the longer that you stay there, the more seasoned that you become, the more deployments that you get under your belt, the more skill schools, the more leadership positions, the more "real world" experience, the more and more professional you become, and the deeper your connections to our tribe. If you are privileged to go to combat as a member of a Ranger unit, you truly become part of its history, in my opinion, and you will never, ever, leave, no matter where you go, or what you do afterwards.

I have said before on this site that my heart remains up on the third floor of the A Co billets, with the other Bad 'Muthers. I have not been there in decades. I may never, ever have the opportunity to go back. But that place is my home. And those guys who lived there with me, back in the day, remain my brothers, and always will.

It just is.
-------
Classes 12, 13, and 14-81.
Company A, 2d Battalion (Ranger), 1st Platoon, "Bad 'Muthers," 1980-1984;
SFQC 4-84.
Company B, 2d Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), ODA 151, 1984-1986.

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Dando175
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Post by Dando175 »

Beautifully put. That was the shit.
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Post by Invictus »

CDW, that was some moving shit Ranger. Well said!

I would encourage every DEP that's serious about their goal to print off CDW's words and use them for both motivation and a reality check along the way.

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Post by fireranger »

Outstanding post cdwdirect.
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But, I'm funny how? Funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I'm here to fuckin' amuse you?

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Tater Nuts
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Re: After RIP, Thoughts of a Private in Regiment

Post by Tater Nuts »

cdwdirect wrote: You do not understand.
Even to this day, I cannot explain what it is/was like to be a part of the Ranger borg to someone who has not been there.
A Co. 1/75 79-81
RIP 4-79 (Honor Grad)
class 4-80 (white thread)

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IntelToad
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Post by IntelToad »

Good post. I agree, keep a journal, you're a hell of writer. 8)
S-2, HQ 75th, 1985-1987

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Post by Ranger Bill »

Ranger cdwdirect: I salute you for what you have written. Keep Rangering and keep writing. You offer more insight than anything I have ever read and bring to life again the memories of old warriors.
WE NEED MORE RANGERS!

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Oilpatch
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Post by Oilpatch »

Excellent post, Ranger cdwdirect.

I concur with the advice on the journal; you're a talented writer and, take it from an FOG, you'll appreciate an accurate record of your experiences as the years go passing by.

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Post by Oto-Man »

Ranger cdwdirect,
Awesome post. Keep writting. You put into words what those of us who have gone before you have always felt. In three words "you get it". You will do well young Ranger. Keep learning, keep reaching, and keep giving 110%. And rub that scroll on your shoulder every time the shit gets deep...There IS magic in there...but you already know that...

HOOAH Young Stud!!
B Co 2/75 (WEBCO)
1988-1990
RS Class 1-90

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Post by LastHardSapper »

Ranger CDW,
Our sons just say "It sucks to be a PVT in Battalion". You broke it down. Thanks for the great post.
1SG, U.S.A. (Ret.) 1977-1998
2/75th Dad

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