Embarking on the journey of becoming a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment is an experience like no other.  The best advice I got before I joined the military was, “You get out of it what you put into it.”  It was true, and the Ranger Regiment will demand that you put everything you’ve got into soldiering while you are in a Ranger Battalion.  It isn’t easy, not everyone has what it takes to be a Ranger, but I want prospective Rangers to know that the Regiment is the best possible place that they can be as a new soldier.  As a Ranger, you will get the best of everything, the best training, the best equipment, and the best leadership.  You’ll need all of it when you hit the ground in a combat zone, and the odds are high that you will with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

“You better slow it down High Speed!”

It was the First Sergeant in charge of the Ranger Indoctrination Program yelling at me; never a good thing. I wasn’t slowing down this time though, not after a string of screw ups on my part and bad luck generally. This was my final chance to pass RIP and don the tan beret, becoming a part of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Who knew a 12-mile road march could cause you so much drama?

“Roger, First Sergeant,” I yelled back and kept running. I still had another ten miles or so ahead of me. It was my second attempt at RIP, the first time through I got told to fall out of formation during the 12-miler and get on the bus with the other failures. Apparently, I had gotten more than one arm’s length from the rucksack of the man in front of me, grounds for failure of the entire event. I must have had some serious boo-boo lip going. We were about 500 yards from the finish line.

I was allowed to re-test and this time it was a release road march, no formation, just an individual event, a 12-mile race against the clock. I was in great shape and knew that there was no way I could blow it this time. The re-test came and we prepared to step off. Fort Benning, Georgia is a really wretched place that often has a 100% humidity, leaving you feeling like you are breathing through a sponge. Minutes into the march and you will be soaked, not in sweat, but from the water hanging in the air.

About six miles into the march, I was short of breath, other Ranger candidates passing me up left and right as I fell behind. It was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life, I knew I could complete the event, but for some reason by body just wouldn’t allow me to that day.

Failing the re-test, I was then given the option to recycle and start RIP all over again from the very beginning, or VW (Voluntary Withdrawal) and accept an assignment in the regular Army. I took the recycle option in a heartbeat. Arriving back in RIP hold, with the latest batch of Privates waiting to attempt the course, I was confronted by Staff Sergeant Phipps. Sergeant Phipps was a great role model for a young soldier and PT’ed the hell out of us while we were waiting to begin RIP. Everyone looked up to Sergeant Phipps knowing that he served as a Ranger in Mogadishu during the infamous Black Hawk Down incident.