Here are Billy and Aimee at Billy’s Ranger graduation. Notice the new Ranger tab on his left shoulder. He just finished a grueling 62 day training, and graduated without having to be recycled on any of the training phases (there are 3). Less than 20% of those who graduate do so without be recycled (aka failing one of the 3 phases). There were about 170 graduates, including 1 from the Chinese Army, two from Canada, and one from
To say that the training is rigorous is an understatement. There are intense physical and psychological hurdles as well as just plain dangerous stuff. They learn how to walk up and down vertical cliffs (like Spiderman) with ropes, how to blow things up, how to parachute (Billy got a concussion when they “jumped” into the 3rd phase in the swamps of Florida), and how to do this:
These little dots dangling from the helicopter are actually Ranger instructors demonstrating how to get extracted from a “situation”. A bad situation. They got there by sliding down a rope from the helicopter. They later hooked themselves onto this rope and the helo flew away with them.
They also learned a lot of hand to hand combat skills, all based on ju-jitsu throws. Completely awesome, they throw each other around like rag dolls.
He now moves from Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia (BTW, they had not even ONE yarn store) to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky (unknown yarn store status). He will be assigned a platoon of about 40 soldiers (knuckleheads) who have just graduated from boot camp. His unit (101st Airborne) is on deployment in Afghanistan and will be returning in March sometime. It was an incredible thing to witness, this graduation—definitely one of the highpoints of life, right up there with college graduation or weddings ( even if Columbus is devoid of yarn to quench my habit). Later!!!