I want to be an Airborne Ranger ~ Or how I got my slot to Airborne School
I want to be an Airborne Ranger.
I want to live the life of danger.
Blood. Guts. Sex. Danger.
That is the life of an Airborne Ranger.
First off, Wikipedia has a great article on Airborne School that sums it up pretty well. One thing it points out is that everyone who attends Airborne School is a volunteer. That’s right. The Army doesn’t force you to jump out of planes. You ask to. Nice.
And sometimes, you have to compete to be a volunteer, like I did. My officer basic course (military intelligence) had three Airborne School slots. In theory, they’re awarded on physical fitness, class standing, academics, etc. In theory.
I got passed over. Never mind I was in the top five academically in my class (not hard–it’s hardly rocket science). I could max the physical fitness test, was running close to seven minute miles. Never mind I could outrun, easily, the guy who did get the slot, not to mention do more sit ups, and we were pretty equal on pushups.
But he attended the same alma mater as our platoon cadre advisor, the one who made the selections.
I didn’t do anything–I was too shocked. The guys in my squad, on the other hand, nearly spontaneously combusted upon hearing the news. They had a closed door session with our advisor, where they asked him what the hell he was thinking. I didn’t ask them to go. I think it took me a full half an hour until I stopped gaping, mouth wide open.
Amazingly, our cadre advisor responded with, yes, what the hell was I thinking. He was actually a good guy, but they switched cadre on us mid-course and he didn’t know any of us that well yet.
And so I had my slot. I was happy. I’m pretty sure my parents were not.
But the MI school cut my orders for Fort Benning, Georgia, I had my tickets, I was running morning and night in the Arizona heat. I was ready.
Or so I hoped.
To be continued . . .