Monday, July 27, 2009

Well after the long hiatus after Ranger school (with a touch of vacation in the middle) I am back in the civilized world! I was fortunate enough to go straight through without recycling a phase or getting hurt or sick while at Ranger school. Without a doubt I would not have made it without the love and support of my friends and family.

The biggest part about Ranger school is learning to be a part of a team. That team starts with your Ranger Buddy. This is Sergent Richard Donofrio, my Ranger Buddy all the way through. Not only was he the NCO Honor Grad, he was more importantly, the guy who got me through Ranger school. Your Ranger Buddy essentially watches out for you whenever you start to slip, fall asleep, or make really fatal mistakes. When you do the same, you learn that you can accomplish damn near everything.

I was really fortunate to have a lot of supporters come all the way down to Fort Benning for the graduation ceremony. Here is my dad pinning on my Ranger tab.

There is no beating a hug from Mom. She came all the from Texas with Steve just to see me graduate. Ranger school also teaches you interesting things about yourself. When you are cold, tired, and hungry, you really begin to see what your strengths and weakness are and even where they come from. I realized a large portion of my strengths come from my mother. She was a woman who taught me hard lessons at an early age about patience, discipline, and most importantly, the strength to care for and place others over yourself. Now don't get me wrong, I hated and complained because of those lessons when I was a kid. However, they paid dividends in Ranger school, where they become key ingredients to surviving.

This is Hurley Hill, the site of our Ranger Graduation. The three companies that made up our Ranger class are arranged from left to right, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie. I was in Bravo Company and was in the rear center of the formation. Here we are finishing the graduation ceremony with the Ranger Creed.

And most important to Ranger school is escaping back to the "real world". On my way back to Raleigh starting our 4 day pass, my Ranger buddy Troy Peterson had the wild idea to go to an Atlanta Braves baseball game. I think the picture speaks for itself about our excitement to be back!