While I was never active-duty, I did train with my college’s ROTC Battalion in my first year there (1983-84). During that time, I qualified for the Battalion’s Ranger Platoon. I must hasten to be clear that I was not a U.S. Army Ranger; I did not attend Ranger School and I was not awarded the Ranger tab. I was not a Ranger.
By qualifying for the Ranger Platoon, however, I was afforded the privilege of wearing the black beret (then the distinctive Ranger head-gear) and woodland-pattern camouflage BDUs, at a time when everyone else in ROTC wore OD fatigues and a ball-cap; and I had the opportunity for some additional training. I was – we were – also expected to serve as models and inspirations for the rest of the cadets. In other words, I had a taste – just a taste – of being a Ranger.
As a result, I have a tremendously high amount of respect for real U.S. Army Rangers. And as someone who wore the Army uniform, even for a short while, and whose forebears fought in the Army in two World Wars – my father in World War Two, his father in World War One – both decorated combat veterans, both wounded in action, I have a huge respect for the U.S. Army in general, and the Infantry in particular.
“Follow Me!” and “Rangers Lead the Way!” are two slogans – better, two approaches to living – which I have tried (not always with complete success) to live out in my civilian life. In honor of that passion for excellence, and that determination to defend our nation and its way of life, I offer the Soldiers Creed, the Infantryman’s Creed, and the Rangers Creed: Continue reading “Ascending levels of badassery: the U.S. Army Soldier’s Creed, Infantryman’s Creed, and Ranger Creed”