Last month, two Fort Hood soldiers joined the Army’s elite.
On July 12, Bravo Troop, 2nd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade Staff Sgt. Carlos Rodarte and Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Greer accomplished their childhood goals of becoming Army Rangers.
An emotional ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., marked the end of a 62-day marathon of Ranger School, which Greer called, “the premier combat leadership school in the Army.”
The Ranger qualification requires soldiers to patrol day and night in small platoons of 12 to 30 troops and carry out difficult missions with heavy packs, little food and less sleep, Rodarte said.
“It is the closest thing to combat that the Army has to offer,” Rodarte said.
“If you see a guy with a Ranger tab no matter how tired he is, no matter how beat up and hungry he is, you know he will complete the mission.”
Earning the Ranger tab was the end of a several years of competition between the two Army scouts, who both have served in the squadron since the unit’s founding in 2010.
The pair shared a bunk during an 11-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2011.
As senior scouts Rodarte and Greer worked closely together and soon became fast friends.
Back in Texas, the two duck hunt together and continue to rib each other about their personal lives.
“We were tracking each other’s career tracks,” Greer said. “It’s kind of like a competition between us.”
At Fort Hood, the soldiers were able to prepare for Ranger School by taking pre-ranger courses and talking with officers who already obtained the badge of honor.
“Just getting to talk to them and know what to expect was really helpful,” Greer said.
The soldiers’ healthy competition may have allowed them to complete the Ranger course successfully on the first attempt, something not all soldiers are able to do, said their squadron commander, Lt. Col. John Cogbill.
“The Ranger tab is one of those skills you want to see in your leaders,” Cogbill said. “I couldn’t be prouder; These NCOs are what make this squadron elite.”
Cogbill said the hardship Greer and Rodarte endured during the course will improve their work performing long-range surveillance missions in the near future.
“This means they are tough men who ware capable of doing tough missions,” Cogbill said.
Not only will it help them perform their tasks but it will increase the enrollment of younger soldiers in the Ranger program.
“They show the leadership that they will pass on to their younger soldiers,” Cogbill said.
“They’re going to see that these guys are physically fit, mentally tough and say ‘I can be a Ranger, too.’”