This past weekend marks one of the most momentous occasions in our little family’s life. My husband finally accomplished the goal he had been talking about since he joined the army 2 years ago…he got his Ranger tab.
The Ranger tab, a tiny black and gold patch that soldiers pin on their uniform, may not seem like much. But to my husband and many other soldiers like him, it’s the culmination of a trial by fire that few can accomplish. To me, it meant that we could finally be together again.
Early Thursday morning, my in-laws and I made the 8 hour drive to GA to make the graduation for my husband. I was terribly sick with a cold, had a fever, horrible sore throat and runny nose, and of course, Caleb screamed at the top of his lungs to let his disdain for being in the car seat be known. But nothing was going to stop me from being there to support my husband through one of the most important moments of his career.
We got there that night, exhausted, hungry, but excited. The hunk informed us that the graduating soldiers were given a 5 hour pass for that night so I was beyond myself to see him again. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction to how big Caleb had gotten, and I couldn’t wait to hug the man that I’m bananas for.
We waited outside the training site among other excited families where I ended up meeting another wife of a Ranger grad (who’s adorably pregnant) AND she reads my blog, haha…hi 🙂
When the buses finally pulled up, soldiers poured out and started running towards their families. The crowd erupted in cheers and claps, and you could hear everyone yelling “congrats”. It was such an awesome moment and one that I’ll never forget. You could just feel all of the pride and joy in the air…
The hunk found us and we hugged and laughed at how much more thin he’d become. Next, he pulled out a picture of Caleb and told us that it had helped him through many rough nights which prompted me to melt into a puddle of happiness right there. God I love this man.
The next day was the day of the actual graduation ceremony. I’ve been to 6 different military graduations but this one takes the cake. It was one big explosion of testosterone where they had all kinds of awesome demonstrations of what the guys had learned.
It started with a few real explosions…
Guys running down towers shooting their rifles…
Then even more guys running down this big tower thingy while holding another dude (who was supposed to be injured, haha).
Then a bunch of the guys hung from a helicopter, flew high into the sky, and dropped into the water. Needless to say, the whole crowd was pretty impressed by this part.
There was a nine man infantry squad team demo…
Then a guy who ziplined into the water, a guy who crawled the tight rope, tapped the Ranger sign, then dove into the water while saluting.
One of my favorite parts of the graduation was the hand-to-hand combatives demo. I recently took a local ju-jitsu martial arts class and now have a new found interest in this kind of thing. To see these guys demonstrating various moves in a very realistic manner was so awesome to me and makes me eager to take some more classes.
Throughout the entire graduation, Caleb was a saint. He hammed it up with the ladies behind us and when there were loud explosions, he flinched a little but that was it. I had more of a reaction from the explosions simply because I was worried about his little ears. But my little man ended up being a trooper just like his daddy 🙂
When it came time to pin the tab on my husband’s uniform, I practically leaped off the bleachers and flew onto the field to greet my husband. This was a moment he had been waiting for, and the moment my husband had been dreaming about for months now.
I pinned that black and gold tab on his uniform, we gave each other a huge kiss, and happily laughed that this journey was finally over.
After that, we were told to return to our seats so the graduation could conclude with a speech from the superintendent from West Point. Finally, the day ended with the graduating Rangers reciting the Rangers creed. Hearing the guys recite the creed in unison with such pride and honor was the perfect way to end the monumental occasion.
Ranger School is one of the hardest leadership courses in the Army. They drive these guys to the bone with sleep deprivation, starvation, mental and emotional stress, and exhaustion. These guys are pushed to their mental and physical limits and beyond, and to know that my husband fought through all of this to reach one of his goals fills my heart with so much pride that I really cannot put into words here. I’ve always known he was tough before, but now I have even more respect for him knowing just how much more stronger he is after all of this.
And of course, seeing him with Caleb again just made this joyous occasion even more wonderful to me.
With copious amounts of paperwork, packing list stress, Pre-Ranger course, and one “recycle” where he had to start over, this whole journey took a total of 5 months, 1 of which I birthed our son without him and 4 of which I practically spent raising a newborn alone.
It was tough for both of us but the sleepless nights, frustrated cries, and lonely meals didn’t matter because my husband made the time apart worth it. Just as he would for me, I supported him through this endeavor and am beyond proud that he made it.
It really is an indescribable feeling to be so happy for the person you love the most in the world.