34 years ago I became part of a military legacy. As a plankholder of the 3rd Ranger Battalion (3/75), I was among the first soldiers to be declared battle ready as the newest rapid response weapon in the SOCCOM arsenal. After having trained 24/7/365 from '84 to '85 we were proudly declared the baddest MFer's in the infantry. We were lean, mean fightin' machines to be sure. We were, and still are, only human as well. We lost men even before our first combat mission in '89. The training was tough, and leading edge. The army was not only expanding the numbers of Rangers but also it's mission capabilities. And we were the guinea pigs- er, the advance force.
When I joined the Army to become a Ranger, America was at peace, more or less, around the world and at home. It was the perfect time to spend some resources on this building excericise. We took the time to visit and revisit some the the Army's best training grounds and schools. If we weren't in the field, we were in class, or on the range, or in the air (we never landed in any plane we boarded) or on a home or personal improvement detail. By the time we were declared fit to fight and put into the deployment rotation, we couldn't wait to "get out the door" and kick ass.
I never saw combat. Many of my contemporaries never did. I count myself extremely lucky in this regard. Although I have no doubt of my readiness at the time to 'display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission...', I am gratful that I never had to.
Many of my brothers, though, were not and have not been so lucky. I dedicate each and every one of my steps to them, and their families; heroes all.
The Lead The Way Fund, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization established to raise funds in support of disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died, have been injured or are currently serving in harm’s way around the world. Lead The Way Fund, Inc. will provide spouses and children of deceased, disabled or active duty Rangers with assistance for health and wellness programs and other services determined to be vital to the family’s well-being, beyond what the government can offer. The assistance offered by Lead The Way is inspired by the courage and character of Sgt. James J. Regan who was killed in Iraq while serving with honor with Charlie company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
I would be immensely grateful if you could give whatever you can. And please spread the word.