Man, did I hate those words when I was a private in Ranger Battalion. Early mornings in formation waiting for the First Sergeant to come out and call the company to attention. Sometimes it was once, but more often than not, those words were shouted by some newly crowned tab spec-four–three, four, five times. That might not sound so bad if you knew you weren’t going to have your ass smoked for at least a couple of hours at some point during the day.

The good mornings were when you would only have to complete 50 or fewer push-ups. The standard was 25 push-ups for anyone who didn’t have a Ranger Tab and those infamous words were shouted during a humid Georgia morning. It was better to hear those words out in formation, away from the building or any vertical surface, than indoors when your feet would surely be elevated.

“Elevate those feet, you haven’t been to fucking mountains!”

I remember I used to get so pissed off at Jack Murphy when we were privates and getting our asses smoked, feet elevated and all. Not because I didn’t like Jack. He just sweat more than I did. The team leaders in our squad would look at the pool of sweat on the concrete below him and instantly harass me about my effort. A few times I even though about spitting on the concrete, just to get them off my back.

I still have no idea where the idea of, “if you haven’t been to Mountain Phase of Ranger School, then you must perform elevated push-ups’ came from. Probably from some pissed off tab spec-four with a Napoleon complex. If any old Rangers were there when the tradition of elevating one’s feet began, I would love to hear about the sadistic private-hating bastard who started said tradition.

It is funny how times change, as well as the thought process when you go from tabless to tabbed. Over in Snipers, it was a grand ol’ time forming up with Recon. To be in Snipers and Recon, you had to be at least a tab spec-four, so we had no qualms out making the rest of HHC suffer. Hey, it wasn’t my problem if you hadn’t been to school. More than once, our First Sergeant told us to cool it after a ‘tab check’ had been called 6-7 times in a morning.

Although it sucked as a private, ‘tab checks’ were just one of the many perks of passing Ranger School – no longer wandering in private hell, but now in the promise land.

No Shit There I Was…