Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: 'Army Rangers' (8) Currently Viewing: 1 - 8 of 8

July 25, 2013 at 9:43am

Milton to Astoria run honors fallen Rangers

More than 170 miles. A copious amount of runners. Multiple cities. One start and one ending: Milton, Wash. to Astoria, Ore. This is the Honor the Fallen Relay Run. The event, which is set to be held Sunday, July 28, serves three purposes: as a fundraiser in support of the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, to create awareness for the fund and the Sgt. Patrick Gass AUSA (Association of the United States Army) Subchapter and to honor all fallen rangers from the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the family they left behind.

"The concept for the run came about by brainstorming on how we can do something to give back to the Lead The Way Fund, which has been a tremendous organization helping Rangers and their Families in recent years," said event organizer Max Ferguson. "We wanted to do something unique, noteworthy and challenging that would incorporate as much of the community as possible. It's not only helping raise money for LTWF, it's been a great tool to create awareness for both LTWF and the Sgt. Patrick Gass AUSA Subchapter. It's truly a phenomenal community uniting and outreach event."

Two public events are planned. First, at 11:30 a.m., a sendoff ceremony will be held at the Milton Veteran's Memorial at Triangle Park in Milton. It's being hosted by the Milton VFW Post 11401 and the City of Milton. At 2 p.m. Monday, July 29, a finale ceremony and community gathering will take place at the finish line, which will be hosted by the Oregon USO and the Astoria American Legion.

"It's all about awareness and connecting Rangers, Ranger families and the community surrounding Joint Base Lewis-McChord," said Ferguson. "It's about appreciating the goodness of the people in the Northwest." 

Ferguson and the Lead The Way Fund are looking for donators and volunteers.

"We hope anyone who is able to support the event, donate by going to the First Giving website and searching "Honor the Fallen" or by visiting the LTWF site."

Ferguson stressed the Honor the Fallen Relay Run is an AUSA and Lead the Way Fund event; it is not officially sponsored or supported by the 2nd Ranger Battalion or 75th Ranger Regiment.  Any Rangers who are participating or organizing the event are doing so in their own personal capacity as volunteers and does not suggest endorsement by the military organizations. 

"All of the volunteers and supporters are excited about participating in the event on the 28th and 29th," said Ferguson. "We would love to see the community come out and be a part of both of those events."

Filed under: Benefit, Sports, Army Rangers,

July 15, 2013 at 3:58pm

7th ID conducts Ranger School assessment at JBLM

U.S. Army soldiers hurdle over an obstacle during the 7th ID’s Ranger School Assessment on JBLM July 9. Photo credit: Sgt. Zachary Gardner

It only takes a set of orders and a completed packing list to attend Army Ranger School, but it takes mental strength, physical endurance and leadership excellence to pass it.

To help prepare soldiers for the demands of Ranger School, the 7th Infantry Division hosted a Ranger School assessment July 8-10. Only the most promising candidates from this selection will move on to the school.

The point of this assessment is to give Soldiers an idea of what to expect at Ranger School, explained Sgt. 1st Class Kristopher Barnette, a Blacksburg S.C. native, and Ranger-qualified Soldier who helped evaluate the candidates.

>>> Staff Sgt. Trevor Oliveira, a reconnaissance scout platoon sergeant with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, does sit-ups during the confidence course portion of the 7th Infantry Division's Ranger School assessment on Joint Base Lewis-McChord July 9, 2013. Photo credit: Sgt. Zachary Gardner


July 21, 2011 at 9:41am

Missing hand the only change in MoH recipient, friends say

Staff Sgt. Nathan Norton, pointing, and Sgt. Otilio Vasquez, right, both assigned to D Co., 2-75 Rngr., look for Rangers from their company while watching a live broadcast of the Medal of Honor ceremony honoring Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry July 12.

Duane Hardesty's across-the-street neighbor is a lot like anyone else's. He mows the lawn, washes his car and occasionally comes over to sit on the porch and talk.

That's where his neighbor, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, was on an evening in May, after the White House announced that he would receive the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in Afghanistan.

Petry, who lost his right hand throwing a grenade away from his fellow Rangers in 2008, and his wife Ashley, were sitting outside the Hardestys' home in Steilacoom, Wash., when the congratulatory texts and calls started to arrive. But in spite of his recent notoriety, friends and fellow Soldiers say he's the same guy he's always been - and that they couldn't be prouder.

"It's an incredible honor to know them personally and just be able to be a help to them," he said of the Family.

Hardesty, a retired Army colonel, works for a private contractor that assists severely wounded servicemembers. He remembers every detail of the first time he saw Petry without his hand. He had just returned from a business trip when his wife came into his study.

"I thought she'd seen a ghost or something," Hardesty said.

His wife told him Leroy and Ashley wanted to see him. When he came outside, he could see right away his neighbor's hand had been amputated at the wrist.

"I just gave him a bear hug and we cried for a while," Hardesty said.

Staff Sgt. Nathan Norton, 2-75 Rngr., has other vivid memories of Petry. He was part of the mission that day in Afghanistan, but couldn't be at the White House ceremony on Tuesday. Instead, he watched with the rest of D Company (Petry's former company) at Farrelli's Wood Fire Pizza in DuPont, Wash.

"I can't congratulate him enough," Norton said.

He remembers the events of May 26, 2008 as though they happened in slow motion, and knew even then what an incredible thing he was witnessing. There was no question in anyone's mind that Petry deserved to be nominated for the award, Norton said.

Aside from his missing hand, though, not much about Petry has changed. Before, he was known for always joking around - maybe even a little too much. Now his prosthetic arm just gives him another prop to be the goofy guy he always was.

"How the President described him is pretty much how he is," Sgt. 1st Class Aric Daldon, who's known Petry about six years, said after the ceremony.

Now Petry works with other wounded, injured and ill Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Hardesty said there's no better man for that job, or to set an example as a Medal of Honor recipient.

"He's so focused on making sure he represents not only the Army, but every warrior (who has) ever worn a uniform," he said.

Hardesty expects that when Petry comes back to the house across the street, he and his Family will be just as humble, dedicated and duty-driven as they've always been. But he knows one thing for certain - the next time he sees his neighbor, he's going to salute him.

"I couldn't be prouder of him if he were my own son," he said.

September 16, 2009 at 12:13am

NCO: The courage to act


NCO-250-9-17 Sgt. Kenny De La Fuente exudes confidence.

Then again, as a soldier assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Battalion, he is one of America's elite soldiers.

His sense of being the best defines his role as a noncommissioned officer.

"A good NCO should have a clear sense of competence toward whatever the mission is," said the native of Texas. "Not only do we need to be technically competent, we must also be tactically competent."

De La Fuente recently completed the Warrior Leadership Course at the Henry H. Lind NCO Academy. At the end of the course, he captured the Distinguished Honor Graduate award. But it is not the accumulation of awards that drives De La Fuente.

"I think personal courage is the attribute that covers the Army's values for me," he said.

With his brothers already in the Army and after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, De La Fuente joined the Army because he thought he needed to do his part.

"I knew what I was getting into when I came into this volunteer Army," he continued. "It takes courage - personal courage - to take that extra step to join, and I think that people in our age group look up to us."

While De La Fuente thinks he may make a career of his service in the Army, he also thinks that some day he would like to work in the business world.

In his role as an NCO, De La Fuente believes that a large part of his work is to advocate for the soldiers he serves with.

"Whether you are in garrison or in combat, a good NCO looks out for - and fights for - his soldiers," he said.

Before returning to work, De La Fuente came back to his theme about personal courage.

"A NCO must take responsibility for everything his or her soldiers do," he emphasized. "But whether they do it right or wrong, you have to take responsibility; you have to have the personal courage to address the situation and make it right."

Photo:  Sgt. Kenny De La Fuente, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment,
believes NCOs should support their soldiers in all situations. Photography by J.M. Simpson

August 21, 2009 at 12:57pm

Rangers facility update


The Defense Industry Daily reports that The Korte Co. in St. Louis won a $24.2 million contract to build a operations facility for the US Army Ranger Support Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Company at Fort Lewis.  If this rocks your world, read the story here.

August 7, 2009 at 4:07pm

Col. Michael Kurilla now at Benning


Part of the Ranger Rendezvous at Fort Benning included the 75th Ranger Regiment change of command placing Col. Michael Kurilla in charge. Kurilla came to Fort Benning from Fort Lewis, where he led the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

The site covered the change of command:

The capstone event of this year's Ranger Rendezvous took place Thursday at the National Infantry Museum where Col. Richard D. Clarke relinquished command of the 75th Ranger Regiment to Col. Michael "Erik" Kurilla.

Ranger Rendezvous is a four-day event that takes place once every two years to bring together the regiment in anticipation of the regimental change of command.

Read the full story here.

Filed under: Army Rangers, Ceremony, Fort Lewis,

July 10, 2009 at 12:09pm

Fort Lewis to get loud


We just received word that the Army Rangers will amp up the noise level on Fort Lewis:

Fort Lewis, Wash. - 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment will conduct a military training exercise July 13-27, at locations on Fort Lewis, Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, and in surrounding communities. Also, the South Brooks Road - located west of Fairchild Air Force Base - will be closed from July 23-27 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. each evening in conjunction with this training, to protect public safety.

Military aviators assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky., and Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. will support the exercise with fixed-wing (airplane) and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft. Aviators will also conduct nape-of-the-earth flights (flying low to the ground) and aerial refueling missions during this exercise.

Residents of communities where training is taking place may observe increased noise, increased air traffic, air traffic during hours of darkness, and low-flying aircraft during this exercise.

Tough, realistic training is critical to prepare Army Rangers for their mission to stand ready to deploy anywhere in the world and conduct high-intensity military operations at a moment's notice. This is scheduled training, conducted at regular intervals, to maintain individual Solider and unit readiness.

Fort Lewis, the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and Air Force Special Operations Command are extremely sensitive to the impact such exercises has on local citizens, and intends to conduct this training safely and courteously.  Every measure to reduce the amount of noise associated with the training will be taken, and we appreciate the support of the local community.

Members of the community can report concerns about training-related activity by calling the Fort Lewis Community Relations hotline, at 253.967. 0852.

May 28, 2009 at 5:56am

A Ranger leads the way


NCO-Hemmerly In a departure from the usual belief that only noncommissioned officers attend the Henry Lind NCO Academy, Spc. James Hemmerly is an exception to the assumption.

"The academy exists for those soldiers who demonstrate the potential of becoming NCOs," explained Hemmerly.

Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hemmerly has deployed twice to Iraq.

He is quietly confident of his abilities.

Not only did he measure up to the standard for attending the academy, his attitude and work ethic resulted in his being named the Distinguished Leader of his class.

"He's hardworking, very well squared away and quiet," added Sgt. 1st Class Robert Cuthbertson, a small group leader at the Henry Lind NCO Academy. "His decision making processes are superb."

To win recognition as the Distinguished Leader, a board of senior noncommissioned officers interviewed Hemmerly.

He had to demonstrate sound judgment, knowledge of drill and ceremony, exceptional military bearing, outstanding situational thinking during a field training exercise, and overall military and general knowledge.

"He is a great leader; he did a great job," commented Cuthbertson.

As for his reasons for serving, Hemmerly joined the Army for the best of reasons.

"I owe it to my country, and that is the primary reason," he explained.

"I also want to earn money to go to school," said the native of Pennsylvania. If his plans to go to college materialize, Hemmerly wants to study biochemistry.

"He's smart enough to do anything he wants to," added Cuthbertson.

When it comes to the Army's seven core values, Hemmerly ranks selfless service as the one that is most important to him.

"You have to be willing to do things that others may not want to do," explained Hemmerly. "A soldier has to be willing to 'man up' and do what needs to be done."

As he got up to go back to work, he offered some advice for those soldiers thinking about serving as an NCO.

"Always do what is right," said Hemmerly. "And whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability."

Filed under: Army Rangers, Fort Lewis, NCO,

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