Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let me Explain...

Being in a new ward, as well a new town, I often get asked the question... "So, what does your husband do?" After trying to explain myself and our family's current situation, I see the person's expression go from engaged and curious to confused and "I'm sorry I asked". One day I hope to be able to answer this question feeling completely sure and confident. However, I'm not counting on it anytime soon. I'm sure all you other army wives out there can sympathize with this feeling.

Anyway, my immediate answer to this question is, "He is in the Army. He is at Ranger School." That being said, I'm going to try and explain what the heck Ranger School is hoping that the cloud of confusion will be lifted from both you and me. Yes, I am still confused. Welcome to my life. haha.

So in order to fully answer this question I did what any normal person would do, I googled it. Here is the explanation I came up with. I hope I do it justice...

First of all, Army Ranger School is comparable to Navy EOD training or Marine Recon. He is not training to be a Chuck Norris of the Walker Texas Rangers.
Ranger School is an extremely intense 62 day combat leadership course consisting of 3 phases: Benning Phase, Mountain Phase, and Swamp Phase ranging between 18 and 22 days long. Each Ranger candidate is evaluated, tested, and then scored determining whether or not they are allowed to continue on to the next phase. Candidates can expect to get an average of 2 MREs and 3 hours of sleep a day. Ranger School is designed to push soldiers to their physical and mental breaking points. Approximently 50% of each Ranger class is "recycled" at least one time, meaning that they have to completely redo the phase they failed. Only about one third of each Ranger class actually graduates and becomes "Ranger Qualified". There are many rumors floating around about Ranger School that I'm not sure of, but there is one thing that I am sure of... Sometimes it's just luck of the draw, who's in your platoon, and who your Ranger Instructor is... there are many outcomes you simply have no control of.

During the course the only form of contact with loved ones is through written letters as well as one brief phone call after each phase stating if you passed. OH- and they receive one 8-hour pass after the Benning phase to see family(if they are close by), do laundry, take a nap, and resupply. I am so looking forward to a good long talking to at that time. Many people have told me not to expect more than one letter a week. So far, that has been accurate.

As if Ranger School wasn't long enough some regular Army soldiers as well as all Army National Guard Soldiers (which is what Tyler is) are required to pass a 2 week long Pre-Ranger course which is basically designed to weed out as many candidates as possible before letting them go on to Ranger School. During Pre-Ranger, candidates have to perform and pass the same tests as the first 2 weeks of Ranger School. The tests of the first week alone being: RAPT test (push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and a 5 mile run), combat water survival assessment, land navigation, 12 mile road march, familiarization of the M240B and M249 machine guns, the Darby mile, and the Malvesti obstacle course.

If there is still confusion, there is a new Discovery channel series called "Surviving the Cut" that goes into the intense world of military elite forces training, and one of the episodes is dedicated to Ranger School. I thought it was pretty interesting. Tyler thought it was pretty funny. If anything, it makes for a fun FHE activity followed by a crazy obstacle course around the house (thats what we did anyway...haha)
So there you go, that’s all I got.
I feel better now.

Sometimes, I just marvel at what these men go through every day. I can't describe how proud I am of my husband. I wonder what he's doing right now.

Lastly, I want you all to know that it has been a huge matter of faith for me to publish this post. It has been sitting in the drafts pile for a while, and I just keep going over it again and again in my brain. Please don’t misunderstand; I have complete confidence in my husband’s abilities. I know that if there is anyone out there capable of completing this course it is Tyler Payne. After all, you can ask any of the Payne boys; he is the Alpha Male. Haha. However I’m also realistic enough to know that something could go wrong; a infected spider bite, some weird swamp germ, looking over his shoulder at a buddy during a ruck march and stepping into a hole breaking his ankle… it’s like John Wayne says in “Big Jake”… “Your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault”… things just happen. But, I also know that this is what the Lord wants us to do right now, spider bite or no spider bite.


Sylvia said...

I'm glad this one made it out of the draft pile...very enlightening indeed. And I love that you quoted John Wayne!

You will survive and thrive.

Sure love yah!

Devin said...

all I have to see Jess... you are definitely amazing and so strong (emotionally and physically)!! love ya!

Cari said...

Are you 'Army' strong? I say nay.

Tyler is RANGER SCHOOL strong, and Jess is WIFE OF RANGER SCHOOL strong (which is way hard!)

I'm so amazed at how strong you guys are both as a couple and individually. Your stories continue to make me try my hardest and persevere.

You guys are amazing and Rachel and Maggie-to-be (Maggie, right?) are the luckiest girls in the world to have parents who work as hard as the both of you do.

I love the Paynes :)

Random note: my word verification to post this comment is 'fulibela' and it makes me think of a 'nasty swamp germ' that you mentioned earlier.

Mary Anne said...

I like Cari's comment. And I agree. P.S. You did a fabulous job at explaining this! It was perfect. It will take everything in me not to post a link to your blog from my blog so I won't have to write a post like this...although now I feel like it's anti-climactic since Dusty is coming home. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I had no idea what all Tyler was going through! That's crazy! :) And you're just as accomplished by being on the sidelines while he's going through it! Thanks for letting us know what's goin' on! Love ya girlie!

Unknown said...

Wow I knew Ranger School was hard, but I didn't know it was that hard! It's amazing to me how you both do what you do, he's going through a grueling Ranger school, and you are taking care of Rachel and preparing to have another! You are both incredible and I hope everything works out for the best!

Stephanie (Blackhurst) Jones said...

Hey, Jess. I totally know what you mean about getting the question "What does your husband do?" or even "Where is your husband?". I got/get that a lot in the family ward. It's kind of funny to see the expression change when I start telling them and I get all teary eyed. That actually happened last night.