Friday, July 29, 2011

TNAV: Jon Collins Band and Ranger Rendezvous 2011

This week I had the privilege of attending Ranger Rendezvous 2011 and the events surrounding the Change of Command from COL Kurilla to COL Odom.  Boone Cutler, author of Voodoo in Sadr City again guest-hosted The New American Veteran where he interviewed Jon Collins, of the Jon Collins Band.

Collins is releasing a new album, with the title track Hero.  Hero is dedicated to the US service men and women who have been injured during the last ten years.  A portion of the proceeds from this song will directly benefit organizations that work with and for wounded veterans.  Go to this website to learn more about the efforts to raise funds to produce the music video, and make a donation to help them out!  Listen to the interview here, and if you haven't listened to the Gary Sinise interview, go here for the archive.

Now to Ranger Rendezvous.

Day One featured Rangers from the Regiment parachuting onto Fryar Drop Zone and conducting a small raid demonstration and extraction by Osprey.  Later that day Plankholders (original 1/75 members) and other Rangers socialized at the Fort Benning Officer's Club and the US Army Ranger Association held a social at the Doubletree Hotel.

Day Two featured a Regimental three-mile run, the State of the Regiment Brief and selected individuals inducted as Distinguished and Honorary Members of the Regiment.  Some very interesting details from the State of the Regiment Brief:

  • The Regiment has increased in size, with an authorized strength now exceeding 3,500 Rangers.
  • The Regiment has 55 Military Occupational Skills (MOS)
  • Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) has drastically altered attrition.  Pre-RASP, Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) screened Rangers and sent them straight to a battalion.  Approximately 70% of RIP students graduated, and the Regiment's Release for Standards (RFS) rate approached 40%.  Now RASP graduates about 39% and sends them on to battalion and the RFS rate is less than 12%.
  • The Regiment has suffered 55 Killed in Action and 551 Wounded in Action.  Eight Rangers remain in long-term hospitalization.
  • Thirteen service dogs have given their lives, saving Rangers in the process.
  • The ideal RASP candidate GT score is 107 and the average score of Rangers in Regiment is 109.
  • Regiment has a new and strong partnership with the basic training units at Benning, with Drill Instructors on the lookout for potential Rangers.  This is an opportunity for enlistees not under Ranger contract to have the opportunity to go to RASP, if they meet basic screening and eligibility requirements.
  • There is a new MOS skill identifier for an NCO who is Ranger qualified (i.e. graduate of Ranger School) and has served two years in Regiment - "U"
  • A Ranger Battalion is averaging 100 combat missions per deployment, and has experienced as high as 200.
  • The Regiment has been in continuous combat for 3,569 days as of the Change of Command.  It is on the 15th four month combat rotation deployment.
Some of my favorite quotes from the Distinguished Members of the Regiment:
  • "To be honored to serve among the Regiment is honor enough for any man"
  • "There is no greater accolade than to be able to say, 'I am a Ranger'"
  • "This Regiment bears the burden of our Nation's war on terror"
  • "I never deserved the honor (of serving in the Regiment) but it defined me"
Finally, the RCO stated that the Regiment is the main effort in Afghanistan.

That evening the 75th Ranger Regiment Association held a packed social at the Holiday Inn.

Day Three featured Regimental sporting, combative and other events, selected Rangers (including Mike Schlitz) being inducted into the Order of Roger's Rangers at Regimental HQ, the Ranger Hall of Fame Induction, and Ranger Social hosted by the Regiment with Keni Thomas entertaining the crowd.

Day Four concluded the week's events with the Regimental Change of Command.

Here's the link to the full set of photos.

Ranger Rendezvous video playlist (youtube)

I'm sure I've left out some important details, but this gives you a highlight of the week and a sense of the pride that comes with association with this band of brothers.  There is nothing like being a Ranger among Rangers.

As always, GallantFew is dedicated to helping our Rangers achieve a smooth, peaceful transition from active duty to the civilian world.  We do so by finding Ranger veterans, now successful in their post-military careers and match them in one-on-one mentoring relationships with Rangers just now leaving active duty.  We also help Rangers who've been out for awhile and other Special Operations Forces veterans, with a special focus on the wounded.  We have a commitment written in blood to care for each other.

If you are a Ranger/SOF veteran and can be a mentor, sign up at or email for more details.

If you can donate, give a tax deductible donation.  Consider being a Founding Donor (the first 100 to give $1000 or more).  If you prefer to mail a check, send it to GallantFew, Inc. 6505 E. Central, Wichita, KS 67206.  Make a donation and I'll send you one of our caps (I only have a dozen left).  Email me so I know you saw this.

Thanks to Ranger Up for helping with our ball caps for Ranger Rendezvous, and Rangers everywhere be in Tim Kennedy's corner as he fights Robbie Lawler this Saturday night.

RLTW  Karl

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DB Sweeney - Letters from Hollywood and Rick Kell - Troops First Foundation

Today's guests on GallantFew's The New American Veteran were Rick Kell, co-founder of Troops First Foundation and actor DB Sweeney, who with Cuba Gooding, Jr started the website "Letters from Hollywood".

The Troops First Foundation develops, operates and supports a synergistic group of wellness, quality of life and sports-based initiatives in support of today's military personnel.  I first met Rick Kell in the DC area where I was invited to tag along and have pizza with some wounded soldiers.  Rick takes a group of wounded from Walter Reed to dinner once a week - gets them out of the hospital environment and gives them a safe place to relax and have some comradery.  I was fortunate to also meet SFC Leroy Petry (MOH) at this one.

Troops First Foundation also has a phenomenal program called Operation Proper Exit.  The first time a wounded soldier leaves Iraq or Afghanistan they are usually carried out.  Operation Proper Exit gives that soldier the opportunity to return to the area where they were wounded, talk to the soldiers currently deployed there, and see the impact our presence (and their service) has on the locals.  Then this time they walk out of theater on their own initiative - their own way - Operation Proper Exit.  It is a tremendous healing event for each and every participant.

Troops First Foundation is a nonprofit, and they have their first major fund-raising event coming up later this year.  The call was getting scrambled as Rick closed out, as soon as he emails me the information on that event I will post it here and in the other forums.
Rick Kell and Ranger Schlitz (being goofy)

This is an organization you should support.  Visit their website and drop them a donation.

Actor DB Sweeney has been in a ton of movies and TV, additionally he does voiceover work for the Oprah Winfrey Network and many commercials.  He referred to himself on the show as a "household face but not a household name".  DB's work includes television series The Edge of Night and Spenser: For Hire films Gardens of StoneEight Men OutThe Cutting Edge, and in Lonesome Dove
DB Sweeney in Iraq

What really sets DB apart though is his respect for the military and our veterans and the fact that he acts accordingly.  DB helped found A proud supporter of the US military, Sweeney founded a website Letters from Hollywood to get messages of support to active duty and retired military. The site already features letters from celebrities like Tim AbellBonnie-Jill LaflinCuba Gooding Jr and many others.  DB is reaching out to celebrities from entertainment, sports, politics - and has a goal of releasing a new Letter from Hollywood every Wednesday. 

He has made multiple visits to the Middle East and Europe to visit Service Men and Women. On May 4, 2008, Sweeney flew with the helicopter squadron HMM-364, "The World Famous Purple Foxes", in a CH-46E while in Iraq visiting with service members and promoting his new film, Two Tickets to Paradise.  There is a great story behind Two Tickets to Paradise, as DB wanted to take some of his films overseas to show to the troops when he visited but he ran into roadblocks with the owner/producers of those films.  So DB decided to produce his own film so he could show it to whoever/whenever he pleased - the result was Two Tickets to Paradise.  Now because he made this movie "out of the mainstream" it has not received the attention that would drive viewers - so lets help with that!  I just moved it to the top of my Netflix list.

T10RR:  The Top 10 Ranger Referral program is growing.  We are looking for more Rangers that are employed at large companies and willing to be the job opportunity/referral point of contact.  Email or for more information.

The Marine Corps Times announced this week that the President of the United States will award Dakota Meyer the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan.  We stand in awe and salute Dakota Meyer - thank you for your service, you are a true hero.  Articles about Dakota here:  PoliticoAdair Progress;  Austin American Statesman.  Read the Marine Corps Times article and watch the video.

Ranger Rendezvous is upon us - the 75th Ranger Regiment's Time on Target is 1620 local, Fryar Drop Zone on Monday.  If you're in the AO, look for GallantFew.

We continue to drive on towards our goal of raising $111,111 by 11/11/11 and we thank our newest Founding Donor (first 100 to give $1000) Ranger veteran and combat medic Eric Waters!  To donate visit our site or if you prefer, send a check to GallantFew, Inc, 6505 E. Central #205, Wichita KS 67206.  Any donation you make is tax deductible.

Oh, yeah - go listen to the interview here!

Listen to internet radio with GallantFew on Blog Talk Radio

See you on the DZ.

RLTW  Karl

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gary Sinise on TNAV

This week I interviewed the phenomenal Gary Sinise.  Gary played the beloved character, LT Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, for which he earned numerous awards and an Oscar nomination.  Gary is a huge supporter of our military, veterans, first responders and their families.

Ranger Mike Schlitz, Gary and Mike's niece at the Lt. Dan Band Movie release party.

Gary autographed this for Ranger veteran Ed Tinoco a few months ago.

Click the play button below to listen to the interview.  If you want to subscribe to the free iTunes GallantFew podcast, click here.

Listen to internet radio with GallantFew on Blog Talk Radio

The Gary Sinise Foundation honors our nation's defenders through programs and projects that serve our military, veterans, first responders and their families, as well as by supporting other charities such as the USO, Operation International Children and Snowball Express.  To support the foundation, visit the Lt. Dan Band Movie website and watch the pay per view video online through the end of July - only $3.99.  After that it will be available on DVD.

At the conclusion of the interview I play Gina Gonzalez' song "A Letter Home".  Go here to download a copy.

For more information on the Gary Sinise Foundation, visit the website.

The country and especially the 75th Ranger Regiment stood with pride this last week as Ranger SFC Leroy Petry was awarded the Medal of Honor.  Visit the US Army official Petry Medal of Honor Page.

KOAT TV (New Mexico) Video

Ranger Rendezvous is coming fast!  Time on Target 25 July 2011, 1620 hours eastern.  Look for the GallantFew table near the bleachers at the Drop Zone.

We continue to march towards our goal of $111,111 by 11/11/11 and are adding Founding Donors to the ranks.  The first 100 to donate $1000 or more will be forever listed as a GallantFew Founding Donor.  Don't miss out!  Make a tax deductible donation here.  If you prefer to mail a check, send it to:

GallantFew, Inc.
6505 E. Central #205
Wichita, KS 67206

To learn how you can help mentor a hero transitioning home from active duty, email

RLTW  Karl

Ranger Rendezvous 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CSM Jeff Mellinger, a true American hero is retiring after nearly 40 years of service

I am proud to call CSM Jeff Mellinger a friend, and wish I had served with him at the same unit on active duty.  He remains the last draftee from the Vietnam era to continuously serve, nearly forty years.  My first interaction with him was a phone call, and Jeff asked me to help him.  He had just visited a young horribly wounded soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and that soldier was going to die.  The kid had one regret in his life, that he never earned his Ranger Tab.  Jeff asked me if the US Army Ranger Association would award him an honorary tab.  Leaders like Jeff are precious few and far between.  From placing himself in harm's way constantly - his convoys in Iraq were hit 27 times, and twice his personal vehicle was hit - to his love and concern for the grunt soldier, CSM Mellinger has lived up to the Ranger motto:  Rangers Lead the Way.
Rangers Mike Schlitz, Jeff Mellinger, Karl Monger

Here are some great articles.  CSM Mellinger - from a grateful nation, our thanks.

ABC News video
Michael Yon

This July 4th, Listen to a Veteran (article).  This hits right at the heart of the concept of GallantFew.  A quote from the editorial:  "Abundant research shows that social support — not high-powered clinical approaches, but ordinary, compassionate connecting — has enormous healing power. In other cultures, but less so in our own, communities help the traumatized heal by reconnecting them with friends and others."

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is hosting the National Veteran Small Business Conference on August 15-18th, 2011, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, assisted by Halfaker and Associates LLC. As the largest nationwide conference of its kind, the National Veteran Small Business Conference provides Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs and SDVOSBs) an opportunity to learn, network and market their businesses.  It is the only event of the year where you can learn, exchange ideas, and network with business peers, federal government agencies, prime contractors, and industry experts all in one location.  To learn more about this conference, please go to its homepage at:

And now for something completely different, this week Boone Cutler will fill in for me on The New American Veteran.  He will interview... me.  Boone requested the chance to talk with me about the work GallantFew is doing - and I'm looking forward to the interview!

RLTW  Karl

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bonnie-Jill Laflin on TNAV, Happy Independence Day

The New American Veteran blog talk radio show this week featured Bonnie-Jill Laflin.  Besides being a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Former Miss Dallas-Fort Worth USA and the only female scout in the NBA (LA Lakers), she is a phenomenal human being.  During this interview we talked about some of the projects she is involved in and focused a lot on her charitable work.  Because of her family history (two of her grandfathers served in WWII, one was a Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient - and she said it right) she has a very special place in her heart for the men and women who serve and served.  She has been on an amazing 17 Goodwill and USO tours and heads to Afghanistan in August for number 18.

We'll bring her back on the show after August to hear how the trip went - make sure you go listen to this interview, and enjoy the photos below.  Also stop by and visit Baghdad Pups, Hounds and Heroes, Sirius Radio (Inside the Playboy Locker Room), Bonnie-Jill's website, and her Twitter page.

Despite the loss of a leg... read this story and remember it whenever you feel sorry for yourself.

Ranger Rendezvous is coming fast - see you July 25th on the drop zone!

We continue our fund-raising drive to reach $111,111 by 11/11/11.  Please help us help more Special Operations Veterans by donating online at our website or mail a check to GallantFew, Inc 6505 E. Central #205, Wichita KS 67206.  Any donation you make is tax deductible.  The first 100 donors to give $1000 or more will be forever listed as a GallantFew Founding Donor and will receive a polo shirt and wall plaque.  Our most recent Founding Donor is Ranger veteran Charles DeRosa!

As you celebrate Independence Day, remember freedom isn't free.  It's paid for dearly by those such as Ranger Jeremy Katzenberger, killed in Afghanistan June 14, 2011.  I attended his funeral at Fort Leavenworth this past Tuesday.  Ranger Katzenberger Rest in Peace.  You will never be forgotten.

Rangers Lead the Way.