News flash: Ranger School sucks. Especially in January. It isn’t that you don’t receive important tactical training, its just a painful experience. More so if you are a Strong Ranger rather than a Smart Ranger. At twenty years old, I was definitely a Strong Ranger. My class number was 04-04, after recycling Darby Phase of course…
The much dreaded Charlie Company. I’m in there somewhere, probably sleeping on my feet, an essential Ranger skill.
After the graduation ceremony those of us who came from the Ranger Regiment got a congratulations/warning speech from the Regimental Commander and Sergeant Major. The gist was this: go out and get a DUI tonight and we’ll crush your balls, then kick you out of the Regiment.
Later that day, at the Ranger Memorial on Main Post at Ft. Benning. In a blatant act of defiance, those of us from Ranger battalions wore our Ranger scrolls pinned on our uniforms next to our newly acquired Ranger Tabs. Ranger School is required in order to hold a leadership position in the Regiment, but is still looked down upon as being beneath us “real Rangers.”
Also at the Ranger memorial. Note the WWII commando dagger in the background. On each pillar is written the Ranger Creed and Robert Rodgers standing orders.
In this picture our mortar section is conducting some cross training with the rest of the Task Force. This was a pretty good introduction to mortar systems before I went to the Special Forces Weapons Sergeant course years later…I was never that great running the Fire Direction Center (FDC) but running mechanical mortars and hanging some rounds is always a great time. Here is myself a second after dropping a 60mm HE round down the tube.
Here is a cool picture where I am firing the 60mm hand held, also called shooting from the hip. Using your left hand you aim the tube with your thumb. Looking down, you use the level above the trigger mechanism to cant the tube at the proper angle for the desired range. With that done, you squeeze the trigger and a firing pin fires the round. Watching Red Phosphorous burn at night is cool as hell! We also fired some “shake and bake” fire missions which consists of a couple HE rounds followed by a RP round.
Here is the real deal. A couple guys from our mortar section set up this mortar pit out in Indian Country to provide fire support for our maneuver element. This one is actually a 81mm mortar system, giving the gun team some much needed range for call for fire missions. Also, note the 81mm rounds on standby next to the gun. The Phosphorous rounds are stored nose up, otherwise the jelly inside sticks to one side, drastically altering the trajectory of the round.
Sighting in from a roof top mock up at the range. As the sun continued to set we could watch the sun reflect off the .300 WinMag bullets as they arced along their trajectory with the naked eye. It looked like watching a tracer round but was just the setting sun reflecting off the copper jacket of the round.
Sniper/spotter at a unknown distance range. Note the Viper laser range finder in the foreground, a very useful piece of kit with a variety of functions beyond range finding.
Here are a few pictures from Gryphon Group, one of the vender training courses we went to before deployment. The emphasis at this course was mobility training so we spent a lot of time driving through obstacle courses, driving and shooting, react to contact drills, learning PIT maneuvers, and more.
One this range we did some pistol drills before training to shoot targets while seated inside vehicles. Next up was driving around the range (slowly) while firing from the vehicle. This time you are the moving target shooting at a stationary target.
Here you can see a couple of our guys shooting through the windshield. We practiced shooting through various types of glass you would find in a vehicle, mostly as a demonstration to show you the effect it would have on external ballistics. At pistol range it didn’t.
We had a pretty good time down at Gryphon Group but I’m still trying to figure out why our unit made it mandatory that we qualify on the X26 Taser and OC spray while we were at the course. And, yes, getting qualified means being tazed and getting hosed in the face with pepper spray.
A somewhat embarrassing and/or funny picture from a training mission in 2007. We had to ghetto rig these Humvees (GMV’s) with plywood and 550 parachute chord to be able to mount antennas and put a gunner in the turret, in this case a SAW since we didn’t have any heavy guns for training. The guy’s are wearing paintball masks because we were using sim barrels which fire small 9mm paint pellets. I have several hilarious stories about this training mission best left for another time. Suffice to say that one young soldier thought he was Lt. Calley and decided to “do the whole vill”!
Every Special Operations soldiers wants three things, to be a HALO jumper, to get a bayonet kill, and to ride on a MH-6 Little Bird. I got to do two of the three. I’m still holding out for the zombie apocalypse for my bayonet kill. Above is a picture of me when I was a sniper in 2005 during a training exercise.
This is the view of what it looks like while sitting on the pod of the aircraft that I am leaning on in the first picture from the air.
I was trying to take a picture of a deer I had seen in the forest below…yeah, good luck doing that with a disposable camera while in flight on one of these things.