Special thanks to Ranger Douglas Hanks for writing this for SOFREP. -Jack
I arrived at 2/75 on October 3rd 1993. For those of you in the know, or for those of you who pay attention, it was an auspicious day for the Regiment. Needless to say it was a long first couple days as we were palletizing for war. Despite my eagerness (and perhaps naiveté) I was disappointed when it didn’t happen. Sigh…
Less than a year later we found ourselves in the jungles of Panama, knee deep in the nastiest mud and vegetation this side of Benning, yelling at monkeys (because God knows, if we had live ammo there would have been less yelling and more dead monkeys) who were throwing sticks and feces at us; we never did determine what smelled worse, the mud, or the monkey shit.
We had completed a day/night land navigation course through the jungles and were wiped, but when we strolled into the compound near 23 hundred hours there was a buzz. Something was happening; something of relative importance. Not that they told us anything. I was just a Spec 4, untabbed at that, and a 96b, an Intelligence Analyst, so despite my professional station, I was near the last to know anything. My NCOs, SSG Renninger, and SSG Bostic (yes, Renninger was killed working as a cop in Tacoma, and Bostic was immortalized in ‘The Outpost’, having been killed in Afghanistan – great Rangers both) were both pulled out and put on a Blackhawk, headed for God knew where. I hadn’t felt this level of excitement since the first day I arrived in Battalion. I was finally going to see some real action, something real was happening. It was not what I expected.