Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ranger Mike Schlitz on The Ranger Creed

SFC (ret) Mike Schlitz posted this on facebook today.  Mandatory reading for Rangers and non-Rangers alike.


The Ranger Creed means so much too so many people. The funny part is you could ask each of them what it means and you’ll get a different answer each time. For being such a short and direct Creed it really hits people differently. I was a young SGT serving in a Long Range Surveillance Detachment (LRSD) responsible for recruiting new members of the unit. We ran a small selection program to ensure high quality Soldiers would be accepted. One of the things I made the candidates do is learn the Ranger Creed. Notice I did not say memorize the Ranger Creed. There is a big difference between the two. When I came to test their progress one of the Soldiers had not even attempted to learn it. He basically stated that he had been told to memorize it several times in the past and since he wasn’t in the 75th Ranger Regiment didn’t see the point. I wanted to lose my cool right there and just scuff him up, but realized this would do no good. So I sat him down and went line by line of Creed showing how it related to everything we do both at work and in our private lives. The next day he came in and recited the whole Ranger Creed. I truly believe if you live and embody the Ranger Creed you can’t go wrong in life.

So now we fast forward many years down the road and now I’m a medically retired Sergeant First Class (SFC) with 14 years’ service. I just spent the weekend watching the 2011 Best Ranger Competition where 2-man Ranger teams compete against each to prove who is better. It’s a grueling 3 day 60 hour event with little food and rest. These Rangers truly give it their all and if they don’t win get very little recognition. As I watched these Rangers compete it made me think back to embodying the Ranger Creed.  So here is the Ranger Creed and how it affects my life today.


Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I did volunteer for the US Army and Ranger training and I went to War in Iraq and knew there was a chance of getting killed or hurt. In my case I was injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and sustained several injuries.

I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment. Rangers are known for not quitting, always pushing forward, and completing the mission. Just because I’m injured doesn’t mean I can quit, not be adaptive, or not complete the mission which is living life.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air. This means no matter what situation I find myself in I can find a way to get there. Setting goals to achieve and not letting any obstacles get in my way.

 I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier. This just means I have to constantly challenge myself in all aspects of my life from daily Physical and Occupational Therapy,  coming up with new ideas how to adapt to the world not the world to me, and waste no time doing it.


Never shall I fail my comrades. Too many of our Veterans are coming home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, and other illness and I feel it’s my job to help them anyway I ca, If you look at the rising number of suicides among Veterans you cannot afford to fail them.

I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some. I can’t expect people to do things for me or be around 100% of the time. I have to do things for myself and if I don’t keep myself physically and mentally fit there’s no way I can do those things. It might not be the fast and easy way but it definitely is the right way. Sometimes that means shouldering a little more, picking up the slack, and giving it the extra little push to get it accomplished. It also means if someone is in trouble you need to step up and help them.


Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier.  I want the world to see that my training and what Military, US Army, and Rangers did for me. They helped me become the man I am today. Without those experiences and lessons along the way there is no way I could deal with the struggles of my new life with understanding I do now.

My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. If I don’t show respect to people, take care of myself, and not lead by example I would consider myself a failure. This is so important because whether you realize it or not people are always watching and what you do is how they determine the kind of person you are. When I was in the hospital I had other wounded Veterans push me and motivate me and now that I’m well it’s my turn to give back.


Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I have two enemies. One I have met and other are the challenges in front of me.

I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. I have defeated the first enemy because though they blew my ass up they didn’t get the best of me. When I went to Iraq 3 times last year I always had a smile on my face to prove it. As far as the challenges in front me I know I will defeat those too in time.

Surrender is not a Ranger word. Exactly that, never give up

I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country. Going back to what I said earlier making sure no Veteran or Ranger feels they are alone, without hope, or the need to give up. We must take care of our own.


Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor. This is the icing on the cake. Everything leads up to this. No matter what happens I will always continue on no matter what.


I know if I sat down and really thought about it and took my time I could easily write a book on the Ranger Creed and what each Stanza stands for. The important thing is to know is no matter what situation you are in the Ranger Creed can be used as motivation and answers. The Ranger was so well written that when you look at other Creeds like the Soldier’s Creed and Sapper Creed they pretty much use the same words, Stanza set up, and sound very similar. That’s one more reason why


Michael Schlitz
Sergeant First Class, USA (retired)


  1. RTLW, Mike
    You've gotten down to the very essence of what the creed not only says, but what it is all about.

    All the way...
    - John Czar

  2. That Creed was and still is very important to me. There have been many times in my life both civilian and military that I have had to recite that in my head over and over to get through something whether it was a combat mission, a hard training event or just a bad day. I did so as recently as this past weekend. My Competition team and I participated in a 15K road race, but we wore cammo pants, boots and 35LB packs. One of my guys rolled his ankle and began to fall back. I pushed hard to get to the finish line, dropped my pack and went back almost one mile to find him and carry his pack in as he struggled beside me. As tired as i was and as much as I wanted to drink the gatorade being handed out at the finish line I kept reciting "I will never leave a fallen comrade." Small example but one that I may not have done without having that intestinal fortitude engrained in me by the leadership I was taught at the great U.S. Army's Ranger School. Class 07-02
    -Sean Dickson
    Former; 82 Airborne Division SCOUT / 18D, 3rd SFG(A)

  3. Being Air Force the Ranger Creed is held up as an example, in the nature of work which I did we had a shorter creed in was on our wall or wherever we went is simply stated this:

    "Failure is not an option"

    Above All!
    Liam Babington

  4. A creed lends focus, perseverance & values under arduous circumstances. Many #veterans need these in post-service life. » is.gd/usaveteran «

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