Saturday, January 25, 2014

ARITS SGT Aaron Barr

There is a tradition in the Ranger Regiment to assign new soldiers an "Airborne Ranger in the Sky".  These Airborne Rangers in the Sky are reminders of the Ranger Creed, the deadly serious nature of our business, and a way to ensure the legacy continues and those who went before are never forgotten.

The father of a Ranger who was killed in a hit and run accident after he left active duty reached out to me and asked that we honor his son's service.  I immediately realized that while we rightly focus on remembering those who gave their lives in combat or in training are always remembered and recognized, that those who pass on later but are disconnected from the community are not always remembered.  This is the first of a series we intend to publish about Airborne Rangers in the Sky.  Please don't send us information just yet, we are working on an SOP for submission, approval and posting.  Rest assured we will do it right and there will be no advertising or expense associated with submitting an ARITS.  If you are interested in volunteering with this team, contact me.  Ranger veteran Jay Erwin compiled this first ARITS piece.  RLTW Karl

SGT Aaron Barr served with 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. He completed four tours of duty, one to Iraq and 3 to Afghanistan.  As a veteran, I take it upon myself to never forget my brothers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. As veterans it is our duty to honor our brothers and sisters that have stood in the face of evil. There are veterans who have served honorably but were killed after they served. Not getting the respect owed to them for their honorable service. Aaron Barr stood before our country and said, "send me," for I am willing to fight, his sacrifices should never be forgotten.

As we pay tribute to this young Ranger we remember those that have served before us. SGT Barr was a hero to his family, to his brothers, and to the United States, and especially to his dad. As Aaron's dad writes, "Aaron was very private about his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I know he was an E-5 Team Leader on his last deployment to Afghanistan."  In 2006 Robert Barr moved to be closer to his son Aaron who was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. 

"I would know when he left, and he would write me and when able he would call.  Then he would call me when he was home and thats when we really got to spend a lot of time together.  We fished and hunted together whenever we could," Robert writes.  He goes on, "His replacement, SGT Justin Allen was KIA soon after Aaron's discharge...Aaron had a really hard time dealing with Justin's passing."

(Here is a picture of Aaron, team leader, and Justin on the right.  Justin became team leader after Aaron's discharge....they were very close friends)

                                          (Picture of Robert Barr and his son SGT Aaron Barr)

Aaron was ran off a road in Macon, Georgia which ultimately cost him his life. We honor this soldier, this Ranger, this hero.  Robert would love to hear from Aaron's teammates and fellow Rangers to learn more about his son's service.  If any Rangers or friends that have stories to share about SGT Aaron Barr please feel free to do so in the comments section below, and you may post them anonymously.  Inappropriate comments will be removed. Help us allow his family to hold Aarons prestigious legacy as a United States Army Airborne Ranger closer in their hearts. His sacrifices should not and will not be forgotten. One for the Airborne Ranger in The Sky!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Ranger Creed Still Applies

I had a phone conversation with a Ranger veteran today.  We talked about his continuing transition, which has been fraught with struggles and instances of the "system" working against him so much you'd think the system was run by the Taliban.

He made an interesting comment which I quote here:
"When you stop hearing from us, it's because we are sucking but don't want to burden our Ranger buddies"
Yet he has personally dropped everything to help one of his Ranger buddies, and would do so everytime one of his Ranger buddies had a need.

But when he was suffering, he did what his quote said.  He went into isolation mode, because he didn't "want to burden" his Ranger buddies.

Or is it because his character, his makeup, his training all told him to suck it up, drive on, handle this yourself?

The true Ranger paradox.

The Creed says:  "I will never leave a fallen comrade..."

The Mentality says:  "I'll deal with this myself, regardless of how difficult or how much the cost."

We Rangers are a unique breed, and we all internally are very much alike.  We all are very adept at hiding pain - a trait that can serve us well on the battlefield, or in an athletic competition - but one that ultimately can cause greater harm if we continue hiding that pain at home.

Harm to relationships, harm to employment, harm to emotional health.

It's OK to reach out to a Ranger buddy and give them a SITREP - and even if you don't feel pain now, maybe he does.  So reach out.  Especially if you haven't heard from him in awhile.  Maybe he doesn't want to burden you.


Monday, January 20, 2014


By: Boone Cutler (original strong language slightly edited)

Check this out. Blast wave injuries. I have this crazy theory about blast wave injuries. 

I have Traumatic Brain Injury relative to Post-Concussive Syndrome ... Blah, blah, blah ... Basically, I got blow'd up. 

It goes like this: BIG WHITE FLASH from know-where while simultaneously feeling HIT hard in the nose, throat, gut and nuts all at the same time. Breath taking really because its instant but really slow too, "lights out" moment that you are unaware of simply occurs, then a "WTF" feeling like no-other, followed by a "God sent me back to my body in a flash" rush mixed with "did that just happen and is my body intact". 

It was not scary; it happened too fast to feel any emotions. After that I was definitely more fearless. I knew what it felt like to be dead. It was a fearless sensation of simply no sensation at all. I've never been the same and my life before the blast seems like somebody else's life. In a way, it was the birth of who I am now. That explosion was my *road to Damascus. 

So to recap it goes like this:
2. lights out
3. Suddenly.... Zap
4. "WTF .... did God just send me back to my body, wow ... did that just really happen." 
What happens next depends on how f*ed up you are but for a flash it's as good as being dead. I felt like I had died. 

I wasn't bleeding other than a tad from the nose and I was able to drive on. I wasn't in a vehicle, no helmet and it wasn't a large mortar but it was close enough to ring my bell. 

I didn't know about blast wave injuries. Soon after I experienced symptoms that were primarily memory and sleep related with headaches, neck pain and poor balance. I even fell off a platform while on a raid and f*ed up my head again. Life became harder and I gradually felt worse. 

At Walter Reed they kept asking about IED's and I said no. At that time "Roadside Bombs" were just all the rage with those silly fellas trying to kill us in Iraq. IEDs got a lot of air-time at home so I think a lot of folks assumed all blasts were IEDs. 

They kept asking and I said no; then finally they said I didn't remember it. I called my team and asked if we took an IED blast and we hadn't. 

I was getting worse and couldn't remember s*** accept from what I had in my notes and they sent me to a poly-trauma unit in Tampa. 

I thought my injury was from the fall until I was asked specifically about being near any "mortar blasts" and I answered, "Yes, but only one got close". And there it was. The doctors pressed the issue because I displayed a blast-wave injury. Truthfully, as I write this I should be more thankful the Docs didn't give up and less bitter about how long it took. 

I felt so dumb for not correlating an IED and a Mortar both were categorized as; blasts. However, that was also part of my injury. The question needed to be very specific to find the answer in my brain. Again, symptom of my blast wave injury. I call it "indexing". If I don't get the right stimulus; I'm frozen inside and nothing exists in my memory. I'm always planning. If I don't need the memory to complete a plan or mission, it doesn't exist. 

Here comes some intellectual s*** so pay attention and answer the questions for yourself. The "BIG WHITE FLASH" moment I described, I later found out was caused by how a blast wave isn't repelled my the human skull and it damages the brain. It zero's you out in some ways, like turning off a computer. 

The "back in my body" sensation was the reboot. The computer is working but the hard-drive struggles. Blast waves tear the s*** that connects s*** to other s*** in the human brain.

Imagine how f*ed the reception of a radio would be if all the wires inside were instantly corroded but not completely broken. No damage to the outside but now you find yourself being creative with coat hangers to try and improve the signal. 

QUESTION: What if the reboot doesn't boot up everything and there's a glitch? 

We know the brain finds ways to learn what it needs by re-attaching neuro-pathways and brain s*** gets re-wired. 

Those with TBI / PTSD combination seem to have more intensified PTSD symptoms than those without TBI. 

Having PTSD and no TBI seem to have less-intensive agoraphobic behavior in the civilian environment. Same frustration in public; hell yes, but less barricading at home. 

I also recall having concussions in the civilian environment from being; lets say, "various forms of an Irish ego". I don't recall a re-boot like I did from TBI caused by a blast wave injury while in war. Maybe concussions occur in various degrees of severity. Getting a bump on the head is different than the mechanism of a blast. 

According to Wikipedia regarding blast waves, "High-order explosives produce a supersonic overpressure wave ..... A blast wave generated by an explosion starts with a single pulse of increased air pressure, lasting a few milliseconds. The negative pressure (suction) of the blast wave follows immediately after the positive wave". Well, that explains a lot; supersonic overpressure followed by supersonic suction in milliseconds. Like I stated earlier,"Blast waves tear the s*** that connects s*** to other s*** in the human brain". 

Here is my theory; when our brains rewire themselves during combat, our drive paths per se, become what it took to survive, complete missions and protect one another in a wartime situation. It's intense and the other behavior important to a civilian environment gets wiped out. All priorities from combat norms become the overall norm.

This explains why those with single diagnosis of PTSD can cope better outside the house in a civilian environment and are less agoraphobic. They haven't had to relearn the "how" part. TBI requires re-learning. 

I stayed in-country for a long time after my injury. Months and months of missions. Is my brain now hard-wired to think as I lived in Sadr City? 

Is my human brain the product of the Military Decision Making Process now? 

If you went through something similar, does this help explain other things? 

All the way, Boone 
Written: January 19, 2014

* road to Damascus:
(idiomatic) An important point in someone's life where a great change, or reversal, of ideas or beliefs occurs.

**I'm just a guy trying to figure it all out and I believe we can if we work as a team. 

As a side-note, add Mef Tox to TBI / PTSD and symptoms intensify yet again. 


Saturday, January 18, 2014

2 Vets Arms Descendants of Sparta Rifle 0001 Opportunity to Win!

2 Vets Arms has become one of GallantFew's leading supporters and sponsors.  This is the second year they have built a special custom rifle for us to give away.  For a ten dollar donation you get a chance to win!  A hundred dollar donation equals ten chances to win.  Learn more about the weapon here and look for the link to donate at the top (to qualify, donations must be made through that link).  On February 3rd we will have an outside party run the random selection program to pick the winner. 

This Rifle is aimed at building awareness of our anti-suicide platform, The Descendants of Sparta.  Please take a moment and see why it's so powerful and share it with a battle-buddy.

The AR on display at SHOT Show

 Ranger Schlitz admiring the gear

Vanna W... I mean Ranger Schlitz models next to the AR

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters!

To bypass and go straight to the donation page, go here.  Oh and we will add some disclaimer language soon - must be eligible to own firearm, pass background check, etc.

Don't forget, Run Ranger Run is fast approaching!  Are you in???

Friday, January 10, 2014

Veteran Job Opportunity - The Caring Connection, Granada Hills CA

Director of Patient Care Services - Home Health

The Caring Connection – Granada Hills, CA

Seeking a RN with diverse healthcare experience in home health. We are a growing JCAHO accredited home health agency looking for an experience DPCS to oversee the clinical function of our company. 

Candidates should have a Nursing degree and 5 years experience in a home health setting, with one in a supervisory role. Ensures all practice standards are met, up-to-date and followed by all licensed staff. Responsibilities include supervision and coordination of care for intermittent patients along with multidisciplinary team. Provide direct supervision to clinical team.
Knowledgeable in use of EHR/EMR software. Familiar with Medicare/MediCal, Title XXII and Conditions of Participation. Ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Responsible for staffing and scheduling appropriate personnel. Excellent compensation. EEO/AA. Flexible schedule. Based in Granada Hills, CA. Please speak to Moira directly about this job.

Best always,


Thursday, January 2, 2014


I love history and I love analogies, parables and the like.  I still wear a drool rag from time to time so I relate to things and learn differently than some.  I have no idea who said this, but it's true "If you can't explain it to a five year old, you haven't mastered it."

I am surrounded by symbols.  We all are.  I have a newly sparked interest in learning.  Seeking.  Here's something that I learned just the other day.

Beehives might have many meanings but I like this one.  They represent industry.  Not necessarily being industrious or manufacturing, or really creating anything.  But working together towards a common goal.  We can all relate to that and I think this is one more way to translate what where we came from to where we are.

I've talked about perception and constantly bettering yourself before.  One person can do a lot of things.  Two people can do more.  If they're working towards the same thing that is.  Now think what an Army of the right folks surrounding you can get done if they work together.  What seems as something to avoid or completely foreign, is more natural than you assume.

It's hard to be observant when you're right in the mix.  My boxing coach used to tell me to think outside of the ring and to listen to him when I'm in the ring.  It's kinda hard to see things when you're getting smacked in the mouth.  Even though I was the one in the fight, he was there.  My entire corner was.  All for me.  It was our fight.  Thankfully, I won more than I lost.  But I knew that as soon as I got in that ring, I was going to get hit.  I learned though, that I wasn't alone, that I always had to learn and that I had to help.

Had it just been me, I would've gotten whooped a lot more.  Same as when I was in, same as it is now that I'm out.  There's a natural ebb and flow to life.  Fight through the tough parts and rely on your team.  Don't squander the slow periods.  Reflect and thank those that stood shoulder to shoulder with you.

Don't forget to look around you.  There is more out there than you think.  So the next time you see bees, maybe you'll be able to see that there is order within chaos and you can walk a little easier.