RANGER AGAINST WAR: Training Exercise <

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Training Exercise

Welcome to the jungle

We got fun 'n' games

We got everything you want

Honey we know the names

--Welcome to the Jungle
, Guns N' Roses

--Hey man, are you in the Army?

--No, man, I just have short hair

--Bottle Rocket (1996)


Forty-three years ago a fledgling wanna-be Ranger failed a leadership training course. This still chews on my mind. It is so minor, one wonders why such minutiae stick in the gears. Absolutely meaningless, except, not exactly.

The exercise was to gauge the leader's reaction to this situation: The friendlies were in defense and dug in, while outside the OP a voice was yelling and begging for help in English, and claiming to be a wounded U.S. soldier.

Ranger knew the school solution -- ignore the calls for help because our enemies commonly played such tricks to sucker troops out into a kill zone. Sometimes, but not always. Anyway, as a young troop Ranger-to-be was unable to execute an answer that just might be wrong. To him, the U.S. Army was teaching an ethical wrong.

We talk about never leaving anyone behind, but the school solution dictated otherwise.
Ranger failed then, and would still fail today. There are other unrelated remembrances that nag the memory:

  • "Charlie Rules the Night": This phrase ruled in the Army at Ft. Benning in the late 1960's, but the statement alone indicated that the war in the Republic of Vietnam was lost, if one stopped to think about it.
  • Deep knee bends, squats and duck-walking that destroyed knees, creating life-long injuries
  • Water discipline training
  • Cooking with squad stoves using leaded gasoline as fuel
  • Heating foxholes with heat tabs, putting a poncho over that to seal the hole, then breathing the fumes
  • Cooking in lead-painted ammo cans
  • Using arsenic-treated ammo packaging wood to build fires and heat rations
  • Drinking water and eating fish from the mountain streams of Dahlonega while in Ranger school. Those waters are still contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals due to gold mining activities.

Ranger knew the correct answer, but it wasn't the right answer.

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

so much of what we assumed to be the product of the best thinking and minds turned out differently didn't it ranger?

one of the coolest things i ever heard was from a commander on the teams.

he gathered us together and said

"you might have heard somebody say charlie owns the night. forget that shit. this is MY fucking operations area and charlie owns nothing."

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 12:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

And to think I used to complain about eating Meals Rejected by Ethopians, especially the 4 Fingers of Death

Duck Walks were still part of the physical in 2000 and MCRDSD basic training. But, more proper stretching and the elimination of bouncing motions was introduced to the FMF in 2004

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 12:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

friend of mine....

It's a buck dancer's choice my friend

Friday, March 5, 2010 at 9:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one poor motherfucker that i've thought about many times was a civilian tech rep dude from the good folks at "better living through chemistry" DOW.

he was explaining to us the wonderfullness of their new defoliant "agent orange."

to show us that it was absolutely safe, he ate a spoon of it right out of the canister.

probably died him a horrible death.

i don't hold nothing against guys like him though. he was just doing his pinché job.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 12:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I didn't mention agent orange/pink/purple b/c this was done to save us from the nasty enemy.
That makes it ok-i won't mind dying a slow painful cancerous death as a result.
Or will it be a sudden brain self destruction as happened to several of my associates.
Anyway we all know how to take a joke.And it was on us.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 7:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous tw said...


There was a story on CBC TV two days ago about a report out of a US hospital 50 km west of Baghdad saying that in Fallujah 2-3 children/day are born with deformities. Hands, feet, even multiple heads. The story blamed WP and didn't mention DU. Don't know if this aired down there but after airing all day on TV here, I can't seem to find any trace of it now, not even on CBC's website. Anybody else catch that?

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 10:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

Ahhhh The memories of serving...I graduated R.I.P.(Ranger Indoc Program) with about 15 out of 60 guys and two years later there were just two of left in 2nd Battalion...What happened to the other 13? A few were dropped for failure to meet the standard... a couple left... but most of them got hurt or just physically broke down. Being in the Ranger Battalions was a hard life in the late 70's early 80's. Then I went into the SF Reserves which though hard was a cake walk compared to active duty and still guys got hurt all the time.

Here I am years later and thanks to the D.A.V. I now rate 80% disability. My rating is directly related to the Army's poor healthcare system in the late 80's and VA neglect for over 20 years. Though I am happy with my rating I would much rather have my health back.Still I accept it goes with the territory and I did not volunteer to be a typist. :)

As for stupid thinking what blows me away is the fact that certain Military Websites Celebrate this kind of Idiocy. LOL Grown Men in their 40s, 50s. and 60s. still strutting thinking and acting like they're still on active duty and have not learned a damn thing.

But that's why God Made us Jim and the other fine folks here....To drive them f**king crazy. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 12:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i have been heard to say in AA meetings:

"since getting sober, my mission is to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable."

(i'm totally OK with that)

Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 12:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I wanted to use your comment as a jumping-off point for another comment made by Infantry officer Roman Skaskiw in the NYT yesterday (Roman has commented here before.)
You mention you are glad you were not a typist, which brought his comment to mind:

"I resent the thanks I occasionally get because it is given without knowing whether I commanded an infantry platoon or a desk, whether I’d been a good leader or a bad one, and I resent the pity because, all told, I’ve benefited from all the military has taught me"

Narrative and Memory at War

I thought it a good observation.

Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 4:18:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I read about the birth defects in one of the major papers recently.

I wouldn't be surprised. Look at the deleterious health effects upon our own soldiers from various chemical exposures.

Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 4:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
It was a shock to Lisa when she learned that i habitually saw fit not to wear my Ranger tab.
It was too much of a burden to me.It only proved that i was tough for 3 months.
Most of the injuries that i've seen and experienced could have been avoided with a little adult leadership.
It humbles me when i think of the fighting and rigors of Korea/WW2.Compared to this my cakewalks were exactly that--cakewalks.
Grant us humility.

Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 4:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Having been stationed at Camp Lejeune North Carolina, one of the things I learned about was the quality of the ground water.

Lejeune has had decades worth of chemicals leach into the ground and metals from ammo launched into the hinterland from various weapon systems.

Because of that the groundwater was contaminated, and one of the effects is been an abnormal spike of Male Marines, who were stationed at Lejeune from the 1960's through the 1980's, getting Breast Cancer.

Monday, March 8, 2010 at 11:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

And true to type the Govt/USMC deny any casual relationship between the water quality and the problems being experienced by these unfortunate personnel.
Are there any other stats on women and elevated cases of breast cancer for the period in question?
My readings indicate other rare cancer clusters in this area.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 9:53:00 AM GMT-5  

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