There I was, a brand new E-2 in 3rd Ranger Battalion. I had been there maybe two months when the Battalion Sergeant Major told our Company First Sergeant that A/co was not sending enough of our guys to Ranger School. We were light on tabbed Spec-4s at the time. So, in accordance with the Sergeant Major’s wishes, all the non-tabbed enlisted men in the company were sent to Peden Field to take a PT test.
The top performers would get to go to pre-Ranger and then Ranger School. I was probably the most cherry guy in the company at that time and was no stellar performer as I had already racked up a summarized Article 15, but everyone without a tab had to go take the PT test. I was a 19 years old at the time and being super motivated helped make up for my lack of job competence. I maxed out the PT test and by decree, was then sent to Regimental pre-Ranger.
Holy shit, did that suck. My ordeal there was even worse by virtue of the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. Having only been in Ranger Battalion for a few months, I was tactically inept and had zero leadership abilities. I was a good Private despite the occasional fuck ups, but that was about it. I certainly wasn’t ready for what has been called the hardest school in the Army. As you can imagine, I struggled through Ranger School. I got recycled in Darby Phase because the ink on my map sheet bled when it got wet in the rain. I had the correct hole punch, proving that I had found my point on the Land Nav course, but the number of the point that I had wrote down was illegible. “At this time you are a no-go at this station Ranger.” FML.
I got to recycle but had to wait until the next class started after Christmas exodus. I think RTB kept us around just so they had some scrubs on hand to do details. Waxing and buffing floors, trash details, polishing brass door knobs (seriously) and that sort of thing. The hold-over/recycle platoon was called Vaghn’s Platoon, but I figured that I was there so long that they should have renamed it Murphy’s platoon.