Part 3: Welcoming your Ranger Home
In October of last year my husband graduated Ranger School. Like you are probably doing right now, I went into a frenzy of research hoping to learn what to expect and how to help my soldier through this process. I was stressed about the lack of consistent communication, the up-in-the-air mindset I would be suspended in, and how my husband’s body and mind would handle the challenges of Ranger School. Since I have the ability to look back, I would like to share with you some important tips and tricks I learned as my husband prepared for Ranger School.
The best way you could prepare for your soldier’s time at Ranger School is by understanding Ranger School. Do your research, so you know what to expect. And if your soldier isn’t doing their research make them. Statistics show that military personal who regularly consume literature on their craft are more likely to make it through elite schools. I’ll say that again—your soldier has a higher chance of passing Ranger School if he studies Ranger School! Here are some examples of literature you and your soldier should use:
- Mentors for Military, Mike Ritland, Jacko
- YouTube videos (just type in Ranger School) and documentaries
- Amazon ’s Surviving the Cut Season 1 Episode 1
- Books written by any SOF guy. It just needs to get your soldier in the right mind set, and give you a clear picture of what’s at stake
- Lions of Kandahar, Operator, 13 Hours
- Visit the GoArmy, blogs, and contact people you know who have already graduated.
- Spend as much time together as possible—you don’t have to go on a bunch of fancy dates and spend a ton of money. Go for a walk every night. Get 50 cent cones at McDonald’s. Get up early and do yoga together. It’s the little things that you will miss when they are gone the most. Use this time to soak them in!
- Don’t let the stress of them leaving cause you to bicker at the last minute. Literally the night before my husband left we got into a huge fight about whose turn it was to inspect the neighborhood (part of our job at the time, which only takes about 15 minutes to do). We let our stress get in the way of enjoying one another, and we totally wasted our last night together.
- Don’t give them grief about working out so much. My husband was working out 5-7 hours a day between weights, running, swimming, jujitsu, and calisthenics. It’s worth it!
- Keep healthy snacks and food in the house, it’s easier to eat healthy when junk isn’t around. I personally make 3-4 big healthy meals every Sunday so we aren’t tempted to eat Little Creaser’s all week long.
- You need to buy everything on the packing list. Your soldier WILL GET DROPPED if they do not meet the packing list requirement.
- Buy Ranger Panties (soffe brand) instead of cotton underwear. Wet and dirty 100% cotton chafes BAD.
- Spend the extra money, if you can. We bought my husband Fox River Socks ($10/pair) and that was a huge game changer for him and his feet. You are going to be looking at your soldier’s feet for the rest of your lives…trust me this benefits you too!
- Your soldier may be able to borrow some supplies from friends and the supply office will be able to get him the more traditional materials. However, we still spent about $1,800 sending him. Ranger School is an investment, they will make this money back–you just have to spend it first.
- Help them sew the patches on their uniform. NO rank patches. This will ensure they get their uniform back after each wash cycle.
- Send your soldiers with envelopes that already have your home address, a stamp, and writing paper stuffed inside. Pack them in a zip lock bag.
- Make sure you know how to pay all the bills (mortgage, credit card, phones, etc.) while he’s gone. Know where all the important insurance information is. Know who get ahold of if his pay isn’t coming through. Your soldier will not be able to do any of these things for 2-6 months, so make sure you can!
- Make sure their military issued credit card is not expired (if they have one).
By preparing well and not making the mistakes we made, I’m sure you guys sail through this part of the process. Good luck to you and your soldier as you both begin to navigate the craziness of enduring an elite military school! Read Part 2: Making it through Ranger School.