Friday, February 23, 2018

Ranger Unit Scroll

The Scroll is a uniform component:

scrolls color trans

...that represents a major commitment of time, sweat, pain, and often blood. 

Service in the Ranger Regiment is not like being in any other military unit, anywhere.

 The following is a description of life in the Ranger Regiment

I enlisted in the Army in 2001 on the delayed entry program, about three months after September 11th. At the time I was working as a server technician for IBM in Gaithersburg, MD, and was graduating that December with a Bachelor's Degree in computer science. The Ranger Battalion may seem like an unlikely choice for a computer specialist, but I was not the type of guy who was content to stay in the "rear with the gear", and if we had to go off and fight for our country,

I wanted to be on the front lines. With my background, the recruiters told me I could take any job I wanted and I had always wanted to do intel work, but the only contracts available for Ranger Battalion were 11X (Infantry). So in February 2002 I shipped off to Fort Benning, GA to start my training.

Basic training was easy and I made it through graduation without much trouble. The toughest part for me was probably dealing with the younger guys who'd never left home before. Joining the Army at 28 years old is a completely different experience than joining at 18. I had a wife, had traveled the world, had an education, and probably had a different mindset than many of my peers. The toughest part about Airborne school was the summer heat at Fort Benning, and a lot of guys never made it through. But for me, RIP was when the real challenges began.

Only about a third of our class graduated and they really tested what we were made of. Guys who didn't meet the standards were quickly released and sent on to other units. We all knew there was something special about the guys who made it and we all wanted to be one of them.

I reported to 2d Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA in October of 2002 and was assigned to 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company (C Co). Two days later we deployed to Fort Bliss, TX for some intense live fire training, and in December we shipped off to Afghanistan. While typical deployments are only 90 days, Rangers were also deployed into Iraq in early 2003 so our unit wound up doing two rotations before returning home.

We spent our days patrolling through towns all over southern and eastern Afghanistan, doing border checks, a few raids, and supporting other special ops units. While life is tough for a junior guy on his first deployment, we were always fed well, had good equipment and had the pride of being Rangers. Over there everyone knew who we were, and when we came rolling through town, few were brave enough to challenge us. The best part was knowing that we were serving our country and in the presence of some of the best, most well trained soldiers the world has to offer.

Back in Battalion there was always something new happening. Guys shipping off to Ranger school, prepping for a promotion board, or attending different schools. We went on lots of runs, jumped out of a lot of airplanes, learned combatives, and spent time at the range. New guys would come in almost every month, and others would leave. Some wouldn't make it at battalion and would get sent down the road to a Stryker unit. The ones who really messed up might go to Korea. Guys would ETS or move on to other JSOC units or Regiment.

There was a lot of pride in knowing you were a part of one of the most elite light infantry units on the planet, and that we met standards of discipline and performance that few others in the military even had the ambition to achieve.

For various reasons I only spent about 9 months in Charlie Company before transferring over to HHC to work in the S2 section. It turns out it was a job someone with my background and experience was very good at and it gave me the opportunity to work with some really interesting teams and take on some important responsibilities for the unit. One of my duties was to process all of the security clearance applications, as well as inprocess and outprocess everyone who came through the unit, so I got to know a lot of people. Working in HHC I also got to experience the unit from a bit of a different perspective and have a lot of insight into how the battalion functioned. It's truly impressive to watch how such a large group of soldiers operates and can be prepared to spin up and deploy overseas in less than 72 hours if called upon. Nowhere in the civilian world have I ever seen a group of that size organize themselves and operate the way Rangers do. 

On my second deployment I returned to Afghanistan and again had some interesting opportunities to work with some really smart folks with very critical roles in the missions we were conducting. I was attached to a small team of contractors to help assist in gathering and reporting intel to the JSOC command and again excelled at my work. The long hours made the deployment go by fast and even when the rest of the unit was returning home I wanted to stay to support the mission.

The brotherhood we join when we serve at Ranger Battalion is unlike any other. Rangers are the toughest, most disciplined, and righteous group of men I've ever been a part of. We took an oath to serve our country, to defend the US Constitution and the American people, and to live by the Ranger Creed - principles that we aspire to uphold not just while serving the Regiment, but throughout our lives. It was, and continues to be, an honor to call these men my brothers.

Rangers Lead The Way!

 - Ranger Kyle Paskewitz