THE EVOLUTION OF A RANGER SNIPER, FROM AIRBORNE TO 75TH REGIMENT 1ST BATTALION AND AFTER
Alot of people ask me what it takes to be a Ranger Sniper. I can tell the question carries with it the expectation of finding out some secret key that unlocks hidden human potential. The answer is no mystery: It’s quiet simply a lot of hard work, focus and determination. It’s as simple as setting a goal and making sure every decision you make is consistent with that goal.
I started basic training in Ft. Benning, Ga., in November 2003. After learning to jump out of perfectly good airplanes, I went to and graduated from the RIP, the Ranger Indoctrination Program, which is now called RASP, or Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. The course is designed to weed out those who aren’t physically or mentally ready for the rigors of the 75th Regiment. After a rough eight weeks, I was assigned to the 75th where I spent time in Alpha Company.
RANGER SCHOOL READY
Before going to Ranger School, I had to prove to leadership that I was ready. Long story short, I went straight through to Ranger School. I remember the third phase of Ranger School in the Florida swamps. I remember my watch beeping one night, and I looked down to turn it off. It was Sept. 1, my 21st birthday.
The 75th Ranger Regiment deploys more often but for shorter durations than conventional military units. After Ranger School, I was deployed as a SAW (MK46) gunner in Afghanistan. On my return, I was selected by the 1st Ranger Battalion Sniper Section’s leadership. My days were filled with learning the ins and out of sniper trade craft. Besides the obvious lessons in sending rounds way down range, I learned to stalk, make myself invisible and find hides. I also learned the specifics of Sniper Operations for the Global War On Terror. I was deployed four times as part of a two-man sniper team – two times in Iraq and two times in Afghanistan. On my third deployment, I was promoted to Staff Sergeant, and when I returned I was in charge of all snipers (three teams) attached to Bravo Company. After losing two buddies in my last deployment as a Sniper, I decided it was time for me to get back to the line and get after it, kicking in doors and conducting direct raids.
When I got out, I did government contract work for SOCOM, including 18 months as the Collective Phase Lead for training Afghan special operations. After that, I was selected and assigned to support clandestine services.
My journey consisted of a single overriding choice being made repeatedly: the choice to live beyond my potential. Every choice I made was driven by that overarching decision, even when it meant honoring the choices that were made for me. TW