Jun 27, 2008
Apparently when he was able to get the Moutain Phase Care package, they fed him two meals (they usually are barely eating anything) right before they gave him the packages and only gave them 1 hour to eat it and call home. So basically, a ton of food went to waste. Reamer wrote me and told me that he really appreciated that everyone cared so much to send him so much food but that in the Florida Phase he didn't need as much. He couldn't even carry everything that he got last time. In his letter he sent me a list of items that he wanted me to include and even directed me to put everything in one of his boot boxes so that it would be easy to carry.
I thought that the list he gave me was quite funny and it reminded me of a kid's junk food wish list. Here is what the man who is starving wanted me to send.
Wow! Sounds good, huh? I was just thinking about what I would be craving if I were literally starving. I bet that when he gets this junk food it will be the best meal he has ever had!! He should be getting the package tomorrow so let's hope that history repeats itself and he will receive a phone priviledge as well. Keep him in your prayers. (And go eat some junk food, it is good for the soul!)
Jun 26, 2008
Jun 25, 2008
Jun 24, 2008
Jun 19, 2008
Jun 17, 2008
Jesse. Jesse's personality seems like it is the best for Deanna out of all four of them. He is outgoing, adventurous, and a great guy. I think that they are actually relating on a personal level and could have a very strong relationship. The only problem that I see with Jesse is that I haven't seen them have a "real" romantic moment. Maybe this has occured off camera, but I haven't seen the "sparks" yet. I'm afraid that Jesse is quickly moving into the "friend zone" and if he wants to win her heart he is going to need to step up his game!
Graham. Hmmmm??? I don't know what to say about this one. It is extremely obvious that they have a physical connection. Also, this guy seems like the type of guy Deanna would normally go for. But, I have to say, I'm not sure that this would be a lifelong relationship?? If you watch carefully, Graham never looks her in the eye. He seems like he is a little bit immature for her and for what she wants out of this experience. I think out of all the guys, this seems to be a real relationship with fights and a match of wits, but I don't think that if she gives him the final rose that the relationship will last. Although, we aren't able to see everything that is happening off camera, so maybe things are playing out differently in real life. It is evident that they have a connection, but a lifetime of marital bliss seems like a far stretch for this one.
Thank God Twilley went home!!! He was really weird.
Jun 16, 2008
Ranger School was formed in 1950, during the Korean War, in order to train soldiers in Ranger tactics. The first class graduated in November of 1950. 
Many Ranger students come from the 75th Ranger Regiment, where completing and passing Ranger School is required for any leadership position, but many other students come from regular Army units, and return to them with greater leadership skills. The Army also allocates a select number of training slots each year to other service branches. These highly valued school slots are often competed for and used to augment the training of specialized combat career fields that directly support Army units.
Since the 1950s, students have received a copy of Rangers Standing Orders, a version of the guidance Major Robert Rogers composed for his unit, Rogers' Rangers.
Ranger School training has a basic scenario: the flourishing drug and terrorist operations of the enemy forces, “the Aragon Liberation Front,” must be stopped. To do so, the Rangers will take the fight to their territory, the rough terrain surrounding Fort Benning, the mountains of northern Georgia, and the swamps and coast of Florida. Ranger students are given a clear mission, but they determine how best to execute it.
The purpose of the course is learning to soldier as a combat leader while enduring the great mental and psychological stresses and physical fatigue of combat; the Ranger Instructors (RI) create and cultivate such a physical and mental environment. Field craft instruction is most of the coursework; students wear and carry some 45kg (100lbs) of equipment; plan and execute daily patrolling, perform reconnaissance, ambushes, and raids against dispersed targets, followed by stealthy movement to a new patrol base to plan the next mission. Daily training averages 20 hours, two, or fewer, meals daily, and some 3.5 hours of sleep a day. Rangers sleep more before a parachute jump.
Ranger School students will participate in three airborne, and several air-assault operations throughout the duration of the course, relying on C-130 cargo planes, as well as UH-60 (Blackhawk) and Chinook helicopters, for insertion and extraction. For non-airborne personnel, they will work drop-zone details while the other students jump. The students also have the ability to call-in and utilize close air support in the form of Apache attack helicopters and AC-130 Spectre gunships during many of their missions. All aircraft are provided by other nearby units as part of a training co-operative.
Fort Benning is the home of the Ranger Training Brigade and its 4th Ranger Training Battalion, which hosts the “crawl” phase of Ranger School, where students learn the fundamentals of squad-level mission planning. This phase is critical to success, as it lays the groundwork for the “walk” and “run” phases. At Benning, training is separated into two parts, the Ranger Assessment Phase (RAP) and Camp Darby.
Water confidence course.
The Ranger Assessment Phase has traditionally included:
Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) requiring:
Push-ups - 49+
Sit-ups - 59+
5 mile individual run in uniform and running shoes in 40 minutes or less
Concluding with 6 chin-ups.
Combat Water Survival Assessment and Water Confidence Test, conducted at Victory Pond
Combination Night/Day land navigation test
Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) training, conducted for several hours nightly in the sawdust pits
A 1.63 mile terrain run, followed by the Malvesti Field Obstacle Course, featuring the notorious "worm pit": a shallow, muddy, 25-meter obstacle covered by knee-high barbed wire. The obstacle must be negotiated - usually several times - on one's back and belly
Demolitions training and airborne refresher training
A 12 mile individual ruck march in 3 hours and 15 minutes or less.
Soldier negotiates the Darby Queen Obstacle Course.
The emphasis at Camp Darby is on the instruction in and execution of squad combat operations. The Ranger student receives instruction on airborne/air assault operations, demolitions, environmental and "field craft" training, executes the infamous "Darby Queen" obstacle course, and learns the fundamentals of patrolling, warning and operations orders, and communications. The fundamentals of combat operations include battle drills (React to Contact, Break Contact, React to Ambush, Platoon Raid), which are focused on providing the principles and techniques that enable the squad-level element to successfully conduct reconnaissance and raid missions. The Ranger student must then demonstrate his expertise in both leadership and support roles through a series of cadre and student led tactical operations. As a result, the Ranger student gains tactical and technical proficiency, confidence in himself, and prepares to move to the next phase of the course--the Mountain Phase.
During the Mountain Phase, students are taught military mountaineering and techniques for employing a platoon in combat in mountains. They further develop command ability, and controlling a platoon through planning, preparing, and executing a combat missions. The Ranger student continues learning how to sustain himself and his subordinates in the mountains. The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the psychological stress the student encounters allow him the measure his capabilities and limitations and those of his fellow soldiers.
In addition to combat operations, the student receives five days of military mountaineering training. In the first three days he learns knots, belays, anchor points, rope management and the fundamentals of climbing and rappelling. The training ends in a two-day Upper mountaineering exercise at Yonah Mountain, to apply the skills learned during Lower mountaineering. Each student must make all prescribed climbs at Mt. Yonah to continue in the course. During the field training exercise (FTX), students execute a mission requiring mountaineering skills.
Combat missions are against a conventionally-equipped threat force in a Mid-Intensity Conflict. These missions are both day and night in an eight-day FTX, and include moving cross country over mountains, vehicle ambushes, raiding communications and mortar sites, and a river crossing or scaling a steep sloped mountain.
The Ranger student reaches his objective in several ways: cross-country movement, parachuting into small drop zones, air assaults into small, mountain-side landing zones, or a 10 mile march across the Tennessee Valley Divide. The student's commitment and physico-mental stamina are tested to the maximum. At any time, he may be selected to lead tired, hungry, physically expended Ranger students to execute and accomplish another mission. At the end of the Mountain Phase, the students travel by bus to a nearby airfield and conduct an airborne operation, jumping into Florida Phase. For non-airborne students, or "legs", they are bused to Eglin AFB for Florida Phase.
The Third Phase of Ranger School is conducted at Camp James E. Rudder (Auxiliary Field #6), Eglin AFB, Florida. Emphasis during this phase is to continue the development of the Ranger student's combat arms functional skills. He must be capable of operating effectively under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress. This is accomplished through practical exercises in extended platoon level operations in a jungle/swamp environment. Training further develops the students' ability to plan for and lead small units on independent and coordinated airborne, air assault, small boat, and dismounted combat operations in a mid-intensity combat environment against a well-trained, sophisticated enemy.
The Florida Phase continues the progressive, realistic OPFOR (Opposing Forces) scenario. As the scenario develops, the students receive "in-country" technique training that assists them in accomplishing the tactical missions later in the phase. Technique training includes: small boat operations, expedient stream crossing techniques, and skills needed to survive and operate in a jungle/swamp environment involving learning how to deal with reptiles, and how to determine the difference between venomous snakes and non-venomous snakes. The camp has specially trained reptile experts that teach how to not be afraid of them.
The Ranger students are updated on the scenario that eventually commits the unit to combat during techniques training. The 9-day FTX is a fast-paced, highly stressful, challenging exercise in which the students are further trained, but are also evaluated on their ability to apply small unit tactics/techniques. They apply the tactics/techniques of raids, ambushes and movement to contact to accomplish their missions. The capstone of the course is the extensively-planned raid of the ALF's island stronghold. This small boat operation involves each platoon in the class, all working together on separate missions to take down the cartel's final point of strength.
Afterwards, students who earned graduation spend several days cleaning their weapons and equipment before returning to Ft. Benning. By then they have earned PX (Post Exchange ) privileges, and access to the "Gator Lounge", a place where they can use a telephone, eat civilian food and drink beers and watch television. During that time students are fed three daily meals. The graduation is at Camp Rogers in Ft. Benning. In an elaborate ceremony at Victory Pond, the black-and-gold Ranger tab is pinned to the graduating soldier's left shoulder (usually by a relative, a respected RI, or soldier from the student's original unit). The Ranger tab is permanently worn above the soldier's unit patch.
A student's graduation is highly dependent on his performance in graded positions of leadership. This leadership ability is evaluated at various levels in various situations, and is observed while he is in one of his typically two graded leadership roles per phase. He can either meet the high standards and be given a "GO" by the R.I., or he can fail to meet this standard and receive the dreaded "NO GO". He must demonstrate the ability to meet the standard in order to move forward, and can thus only afford one blown patrol. His success will lie in his ability to essentially manipulate the men directly underneath his charge of leadership. At times, this will be as few as 2 to 3 men - while he may be given charge of up to an entire 50 or 60 man platoon. His success is dependent on the performance of these individuals, whom he must motivate and lead. Missions are broken up into 3 stages: planning, movement, and action on the objective. Key leadership positions, as well as important support positions like the medic and the RTO (Radiotelephone Operator), are reassigned for each of the three stages of a mission.
Another part of the evaluation of the student is a peer evaluation; failing a peer evaluation (scoring less than a 60% approval rating from your squad) can result in disqualification, though usually only if it happens twice. Due to unit loyalties, certain individuals within a squad who may be "the odd man out" will sometimes be singled out by the squad arbitrarily. Because of this, someone who has been "peered out", or "peered", will be moved to another squad, sometimes within another platoon, in order to ensure that this was not the reason the student was peered. If it happens within this new squad, however, this is generally an indication that student is being singled out because he is either lazy, incompetent, or cannot keep up. At this time he will usually be removed from the course.
It should be noted that the evaluation process is often completed via "agreement" within a squad. This means that when the evaluation is issued at the end of a phase, the squad members all agree to rate one another in such a manner that no one is "singled out".
If a student performs successfully, but suffers an injury that keeps him from finishing, he may be re-cycled at the discretion of either the battalion or the brigade commander; he’ll be given an opportunity to heal and finish the course with the next class. While in the status of waiting to re-join another class, the student lives in the "Gulag" attempting not to draw attention and when that fails, getting stuck on detail.
Students can also be re-cycled for failing a leadership evaluation on patrol; however, if a student fails patrols in a given phase twice, he will usually be offered a "day one re-start" and have to begin Ranger school from RAP week onwards. Day one restarts can also be given (the other option being removed from training, never to return) in the case of soldiers who fail patrol leadership positions and peer evaluations. In rare cases, those assessed of integrity violations (lying, cheating, stealing) will also be given the ability to take a day one restart, however these soldiers are usually permanently removed from the course.
Historically, the graduation rate has been around 40%, but this has fluctuated in both directions at certain points. Only around 20% of soldiers make it through all three phases without having to repeat a phase.
It is not uncommon for soldiers to lose 15-30 pounds. Military folk wisdom has it that Ranger School's physical toll is like years of natural aging; high levels of fight-or-flight stress hormones (adrenalin, noradrenalin, cortisol), along with standard sleep deprivation and continual physical strain, inhibit full physical and mental recovery throughout the course.
Common maladies during the course include weight loss, dehydration, trench foot, heatstroke, frostbite, chilblains, fractures, tissue tears (ligaments, tendons, muscles), swollen hands, feet, knees, nerve damage, loss of limb sensitivity, cellulitis, contact dermatitis, cuts, and insect, spider, and wildlife bites.
Because of the physical and psychological effect of low calorie intake over an extended period of time, it is not uncommon for many Ranger School graduates to encounter weight problems as they return to their units and their bodies and minds slowly adjust to routine again. A drastically lowered metabolic rate, combined with a nearly insatiable appetite (the result of food deprivation and the ensuing survivalist mentality) can cause quick weight gain, as the body is already in energy (fat) storing mode.
Jun 13, 2008
Well, I went to the mailbox today hoping to get a letter from my beloved Ranger, but of course no such luck. The letters are few and far between in this school, but a girl can hope can't she? Instead, I find a Department of Defense letter addressed to Reamer. Of course I open the letter to find that it is a survey from the Army's Medical Center. The letter states, "We would like you to complete a survey about your satisfaction with your visit with Captain Dustin S Martin at Troop Medical Clinic on 6/5/2008."
WHAT!?!? What the heck does that mean???? Apparently Reamer went to the hospital on 6/5/08?? At this point my heart feels so heavy. I know that it is nothing serious (hopefully I would get a call if it were), but I can't help but worry about it. I don't understand why the army would send out a letter to alert me to the fact that he has been to the hospital, but give me no way of finding out what happened to him. At this point I feel very frustrated with the situation at hand and am even more anxiously waiting by the phone to find out how my husband is doing.
My office over looks the street in Downtown Columbus. All day, everyday, I see crazy people walking around the streets just kind of hanging out. Today brought an interesting turn of events outside of the normal craziness. I look out the window and see that a police officer is talking to a man on the street. The man is insanely flapping his arms in the air as though he is telling a very animated story. Suddenly another police car pulls over and joins the other to watch the show. Next, another policeman comes on a motorcycle and yet another cop joins them a few minutes later. So that gives us four policemen. My window is literally a few feet from the entire ordeal and I am captivated by the drama. Obviously, since I work in a bank, everyone in the bank starts to stare out the window and wonders what is going on. People begin to pour out of their offices to take a look at the scene.
The guy is stumbling around and acting pretty drunk. I even see the police officer's sort of laughing at him a few times. It is a little scary and hilarious all at the same time. Then a few minutes later a fire truck and an EMT vehicle pull up to join in all the fuss. The man seriously has about 10-12 people surrounding him as he flails his arms around and staggers back and forth. He slams himself into the brick wall column and is acting insanely. At this point the entire bank is looking out the window mezmorized by the drama ensuing out our window. A few minutes later the police officers, EMT's and Firemen get the Crazy Man to enter the EMT vehicle and eventually leave our street.
Jun 12, 2008
Jun 6, 2008
Jun 5, 2008
Jun 4, 2008
Jun 2, 2008
1st Lt. Thomas M. Martin, 27, of Ward, Ark., died Oct 14 in Al Busayifi, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire during combat operations. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Those of you who have been avid readers throughout the years know that Tom stopped updating his website in the summer of 2006 due to OPSEC concerns. Shortly after that he deployed to Southern Baghdad where he served as the Scout Sniper Platoon Leader for 1/40 CAV, 4/25 (ABN). Tom had been in Iraq for more than a year, participated in over 300 missions, and walked nearly 1000 kilometers when he was killed-in-action.
Although he stopped writing online updates when he deployed, Tom continued to send emails home and intended to post those messages to this site upon his return. In celebration of an incredible life and man, we are trying to fulfill his desire. We invite you to share in Tom’s last year through his email updates, and hope that by doing so he will continue to be remembered and maybe others will be inspired- to try a little harder, to push a little farther, and to live a little better.