There are a couple of places I make a point to visit every time I go to Fort Benning. The National Infantry Museum, the 75th Ranger Regimental Headquarters, and the Ranger Monument.
It's hard to describe the feeling when you stand over the name of a Ranger with whom you served, and who has passed on to the patrol base in the sky.
Ken Stauss was my Battalion Commander, killed on 29 Oct 92
It's comforting to see his name surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of other names - Ranger brothers past and present - and then you find yours.
I can't speak for anyone else, but to me being a Ranger means being a part of a community of warriors unlike any other. It means taking risks - personal and professional - because the likelihood of injury or failure are high, and you know that only a special caliber of person even attempts, let alone completes, that path.
Being a Ranger means living the Ranger Creed. It means never leaving a fallen comrade. It means never failing my country. There is no expiration date.
You're darn right I'm proud to be a Ranger. I'm proud of those men who followed the same path. I'm proud to have a stone there on the path, just past the Ranger arch towards the bayonet.
Go here to get the details - and next time you visit the Monument, hit Facebook or Google+ and check in. Upload your photo and we'll display it on both pages.
Oh, and did you know that the Monument is maintained by the National Ranger Memorial Foundation? That same organization gives out scholarships to deserving students who have chosen to dedicate themselves to the Ranger Creed as well as family members that have sacrificed to support all Rangers. Your stone purchase helps to keep this program alive.
The current scholarship application window closes 5/31/14 - and there's still money left for this year. Spread the word!