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    Army Reserve civil affairs soldier pushes himself through Ranger School

    Army Reserve civil affairs soldier pushes himself through Ranger School

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Erick Yates | Sgt. Justin Arrington, a civil affairs noncommissioned officer with the 450th Civil...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Erick Yates 

    352nd Civil Affairs Command

    FORT MEADE, Md - An Army Reserve civil affairs Soldier and American University student rose to dual challenges this past summer. In June, Sgt. Justin Arrington, a civil affairs noncommissioned officer with the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion in Riverdale, Md., got married. Two weeks later, he was on his way to Fort Benning, Ga., for one of the Army’s toughest training programs: Ranger School.

    “We were married in June and two weeks later, I was in Ranger School,” said Arrington, who married his wife, Shayna, at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood, Md.

    Shayna, who works as an attorney, said that while their lives are usually quite busy, the summer’s events were quite significant.

    “Every day with Justin is exciting, but this past year has been particularly packed with changes in our lives,” she said.

    Arrington’s road to Ranger School was a year-long process. In 2011, then-Pfc. Arrington completed Airborne School and represented the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) in the Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition. After that, his leaders asked the 26-year-old resident of Washington what he wanted for his next challenge.

    Arrington said he knew he wanted to go to another challenging school that would help him develop as a leader. Knowing that civil affairs reservists don’t often get a chance to attempt Ranger School, Arrington said he knew he had to convince his leaders he was up to the task.

    “It was an easy decision for me to make,” Arrington said. “It’s always harder to follow through.”

    Arrington said Sgt. 1st Class Scott Bambu, who helped him prepare for the Best Warrior Competition, came on board again to help him pursue this next challenge. Bambu and a group of Arrington’s leaders worked to both make Ranger School a possibility and, more importantly, prepare him to be successful there. Arrington said the mentorship of those leaders is a big part of what helped him succeed in the arduous two-month program, which sees nearly half of those who attempt it fail, according to the Ranger Training Brigade website,

    “Nobody can do it alone in the military,” he said. “It’s not an individual sport; it’s a team sport.”

    Arrington said Ranger School was by no means an awesome summer adventure; it was hard work. According to the RTB website, more than one-third of those who do finish each of the course’s phases have to try more than once. He said it was the kind of challenging work that made him question his own determination some days. Arrington said he earned valuable leadership experience there.

    “I remember waking up at times and thinking I couldn’t go through the entire day,” he said.

    One of Arrington’s mentors and leaders, 1st Sgt. Erich Muehleisen, said that he had no doubt that his Soldier would be successful at Ranger School.

    “I believe that no matter which route he chooses, he will continue to show the same veracity and motivation that carried him through his training,” he said.

    Arrington’s military path grew out of his interest in international studies and relations. He said that by growing up in the D.C. area, he knew in high school that he wanted to go into some sort of international work, and he felt that Washington’s American University would be a good place to pursue that interest.

    “I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew it would be in international relations,” he said. “I knew I always wanted to be part of bridging the gap between another country and the U.S.”

    After starting at AU, Arrington said his professors and mentors asked him what his career goals were beyond his major in international relations. After those conversations, he said, more than one suggested that what he wanted to do had a lot in common with civil affairs Soldiers. Arrington took their advice and enlisted in the Army Reserve.

    Getting married and completing Ranger School made Arrington’s summer a memorable one, but as he regroups and refocuses his energy on his civilian life and career goals, his passion for international relations will impel him to complete his bachelor’s degree in international relations at American, where he has focused on U.S. foreign policy. In 2013, he will attend the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, Calif., to study Mandarin.



    Date Taken: 11.19.2012
    Date Posted: 11.19.2012 16:58
    Story ID: 98105
    Location: FORT MEADE, MD, US 

    Web Views: 7,570
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