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    3BCT FISTer powers through to complete Ranger School

    Surviving Ranger School

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ashley Morris | Cpl. David Perez Medina, a fire support specialist assigned to Headquarters and...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Ashley Morris 

    3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

    FORT POLK, La. -- “After I went to Ranger school the first time in July, I ended up falling out of the ruck,” Perez said as he smiled while recalling his first Ranger School experience. “At mile 10 I got pulled out for being too slow. It was sad because it was on July 4th, the most Patriotic Day ever and there I was! I was devastated I was like, I can’t believe I just failed Ranger school.”

    U.S. Army Cpl. David Perez Medina, a joint fire control specialist assigned to headquarters and headquarter battery, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, recently graduated the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, March 6, after initially failing summer of 2019.

    Perez, a small-town native of Hooker, Oklahoma, joined the Army in 2018, after serving six years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

    “It’s been more than what I’ve expected,” said Perez. “So far I’ve actually enjoyed my time in the Army, but I always wanted to do more.”

    Perez set his sights on something he said he felt would be the ultimate challenge: Ranger School.

    He first started prepping for Ranger School at the beginning of last year. Perez said the first thing he did was stop smoking, and he cut back on his drinking.

    He also began working out three times a day, and incorporated more running and rucking.

    June 2019, Perez went through Pre-Ranger Course taught by the 10th Mountain Division Light Fighters School at Fort Drum, New York. After successfully completing PRC, Perez was eligible to attend Ranger School at Fort Benning in July.

    Unfortunately, he did not make it past the first phase of Ranger school. Perez returned to Fort Polk with a more determined attitude.

    “Once I got back here to Fort Polk, I retrained again for another month a half,” said Perez. “I made sure I had my ruck down.”

    Perez went back to Fort Benning, Sept. 15, and finished the ruck march without any issues.

    Ranger School is completed in three phases: Fort Benning Phase, Mountain Phase and Florida phase. The school itself is only 62 days long, for Perez, Ranger School lasted six months.

    Even though six months may seem like a long time, it is not uncommon for Soldiers to have to repeat different phases of the course.

    “Going in, Ranger school was a little bit of a culture shock for me,” said Perez. “It was definitely difficult recycling the first time. I knew it was coming. I did need a lot of work with patrolling. I did not have that tactical know-how.”

    Perez went on to explain that FISTers or forward observers typically do not receive much training in leading patrols.

    Eventually, Perez went on to pass all three phrases of Ranger School, earning him the distinctive yellow tab.

    Now that he has completed Ranger School, Perez says he wants to attend Air Assault and Airborne schools in the future and complete his joint forward observer certification. He has no intentions of stopping there either.

    “I want to be a forward observer in regiment,” said Perez. “I am working on my packet so that I can attend the Ranger Assessment and Selection program.”

    Although the current COVID-19 pandemic seems like it may be slowing down any future plans, Perez says that he will continue to train and set himself apart from his peers so that he will be ready when the time comes.



    Date Taken: 04.04.2020
    Date Posted: 04.22.2020 18:53
    Story ID: 368193
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US

    Web Views: 728
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