K2 (Like the Mountain)

My Delta Selection class gifted the Unit with ten U.S. Army Rangers. K2 was one of the ten. He spoke very little, but his Ranger brothers spoke for him:

Yeah, well, there’s strong, and then there’s K2 strong,” was a catchphrase among the men. I just didn’t get it. As I saw it, he was medium in every way: medium build, personality, intelligence, spirit.

I just didn’t see where the super strength part came into play; perhaps I eventually would.

In my day, the Unit was a fairly even split, with half of the men coming from the 75th Ranger Regiment and the other half, including me, from the Green Beret Groups. To us, the Rangers were rigid meatheads. To them, we were lazy and cheaters. I sheepishly agreed with the Rangers‘ assessment of us Green Beanies — in fact, it is the principal reason why I left the Groups to vie for a position with Delta.

At first, K2 and I rarely spoke. I still remember the first time he spoke directly to me during our Selection and Assessment course. It was the night before our final test of strength and endurance. We were given a chance to sleep for almost three hours. Twenty men hit the ground to bag out. I and another man from the Groups stayed up and started exchanging a litany of disparate nonsense.

K2 sat up, looking like a mummy in his bag. He unzipped only to reveal a disenchanted expression:

You guys mind shuttin’ your Goddamned pie holes?” He zipped up and laid back down.

“That’s the first thing he’s said to me this whole month!” I whispered to my bro. “Same here!” he whispered back.