Jun 24, 2012

Ranger Ready

I dropped John off at Camp Rogers this morning for Ranger School. The anticipation of this ‘adventure’ has built over the last few days, and this morning was the worst. The drop off is a blur. I hid my watery eyes behind my sunglasses as I snapped a few photos, wished him luck, and kissed him goodbye. I’m hoping I WON’T hear from him, for at least a week. If I do, that means he’s coming home.
He spent a few days packing all of these supplies.  He said Thorlos socks are the most valuable pieces of gear he's taking with him, because they prevent blisters during the long ruck marches.  He says prevention is key so that he can complete other tasks without any pain, and without developing an open wound.

The last I saw of my soldier.  

Ranger School is not for the weak or faint hearted (or so the sign says at Camp Rogers).  The Ranger School prep materials included a quote by mountaineer Mark Twight to encourage the soldier's 'ranger ready' preparedness:
"Relish the challenge of overcoming difficulties that would crush ordinary men...learn to suffer."
If you'd like a better idea of suffering in the Ranger School context, check out the Discovery Channel show called Surviving the Cut: Ranger School. You can watch it in HD on YouTube, and I linked it below. It's an awesome inside look at how the Army trains Rangers.


John's ‘ranger ready', and I know he won’t quit. He’ll give it his all, and if it’s meant to be, then he’ll earn a tab.  He's neither weak nor faint hearted, and that earned him a spot to compete with the military’s best soldiers today. But, the statistics worried him.  He spent the weekend reminding me that only 50% of his class will graduate. Of those 50%, nearly 40% will have to recycle a phase. But before he can even make it to that first phase, he has to survive Ranger Assessment (RAP) this week- which is where 60% of all failures occur. I couldn’t help but jokingly say to him, using my best Effie Trinket voice (from The Hunger Games), “May the odds, be EVER…in your favor.” I know, I know, he’s not fighting 'til the death… but his odds are almost as bad as a hunger games tribute.  (I’m glad he has no way of reading this right now!)

It’s possible that the hubs could be gone up to 63 days if he finishes without recycling, or gone longer than that if he repeats a phase.  Either way, thank goodness I have plenty to keep my mind off the misery he’s living. I start work tomorrow with GA legal services, representing clients who can’t afford a lawyer. Fortunately I discovered a court rule that allows an out of state attorney to practice in GA for 18 months, so long as the work is with a public interest organization. That works out well while I continue to work towards provisional licensing for military spouse attorneys in GA. I recently had the pleasure of attending a Congressional Military Family Caucus Summit.  It was encouraging to meet community members and legislators who advocate for easing the challenges faced by military families, including employment and professional licensing. If you want to learn more about the Military Family Caucus, check it out on Facebook. The summit was a great opportunity to gain support for milspouse attorneys, and I’m optimistic that we’ll begin to see change soon.

I’m also optimistic that my hubs will complete Ranger School, despite the odds. So, the countdown begins. Day 1/63- spent praying for/missing the hubster (already), and writing my first letter to him.  Wow.  This could be one. Long. Summer.  Technology has spoiled me, because I forgot how long it takes to hand write a letter- legibly, without errors.  Oh well, I'm sure I'll better appreciate the charm once I'm the one who receives a letter in the mail.  Can't wait to read about ranger adventures.  I'll keep ya posted!

4 comments:

  1. I didn't even make it into the arena!

    But I volunteer to sponsor John and send him parachutes while he competes in the Hunger Ga....er... Ranger School.

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  2. After watching the video, all we could say was "oh my."

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  3. Don, you made me laugh! I'm glad you could appreciate my Hunger Games analogy. Your time in the arena is near, best of luck to you friend.

    Yvonne, soldiers choose to this "suffering"- knowingly and voluntarily. None for me, thanks!

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  4. Good luck to him! It is such a major accomplishment in the life of a soldier. Just stay busy, and keep those letters going! I look forward to keeping track of his progress and hearing about your legal adventures!

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