Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger
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Latin for “Of Their Own Accord”
The 75th Ranger Regiment’s Motto
Army Rangers are not born. They are made. The modern 75th Ranger Regiment represents the culmination of 250 years of American soldiering. As a fighting force with our nation’s oldest and deepest tradition, the Regiment traces its origins to Richard Rogers’s Rangers during the prerevolutionary French and Indian War, through the likes of Francis Marion and John Mosby, to the five active Ranger battalions of the Second World War, and finally, to the four battalions of the current Ranger regiment engaged in modern combat.
Granted unprecedented access to the training of this highly restricted component of America’s Special Operations Forces in a time of war, retired Navy captain Dick Couch tells the personal story of the young men who begin this difficult and dangerous journey to become Rangers. Many will try, but only a select few will survive to serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Sua Sponte follows a group of these aspiring young warriors through the crucible that is Ranger training and their preparation for direct-action missions in Afghanistan against America’s enemies, anywhere, any time, and under any conditions.
platoon- and company-level radio operators. The Military Intelligence Company provides multilevel, multidimensional intelligence support that ranges from detainee screening/interrogations to an extensive military technical-collection apparatus to liaison functions with other military and government agency intelligence organizations. The MICO is just one of the reasons that Ranger assault elements enjoy such precise targeting information. The Ranger Reconnaissance Company is in the business of
less. Four men are unable to finish the run, and another six are not under the forty-minute standard. Two run the five miles under thirty-two minutes, and one of those is just over thirty-one minutes. Sergeant Mark Ikenboch registers the fifth-fastest time in the class. Again, this is not a critical event, so those who did not finish or finished over the forty-minute standard are still with the class. If, however, they are unable to meet this standard on a later timed run, they will be dropped.
corrective measures. He’s as good in the classroom as he is in addressing the shortcomings of Class 09-10. Following the map classes, he gives them a warning. “Okay, listen up, men. You’ll have the rest of the day to get your gear squared away for Cole Range. We have an early morning ruck march, and this one’s an eight-miler. The good news is that you’ll be out there on the land-nav course for four days enjoying the beautiful Georgia woodlands. The bad news is it’s going to be very hot.
won’t let that happen again.” “Speaking of screwing your buddy,” says another, “we have to stop doing that. Like on the runs to the woods on Wednesday. Most of us went all the way to the wood line before turning back. Some of you stopped twenty yards from the tree line to make the turn. The cadre couldn’t see that, but the rest of us could. You beat the rest of us back, won the race, and got cut some slack. But you cheated your buddies. That shit’s gotta cease; we’re in this together. You know
area. If it shows up during marksmanship training or is a pattern for this individual during RASP, then he may not be good Ranger material.” During the range cleanup, I notice one student breacher who has a lingering smile on his face. I also noted that he seemed to pay particular attention during the breaching classes. “You seem to be having a good time there, Specialist.” Typically, a soldier in Ranger training who is a specialist, or E-4, is someone who joined the Army with a college