One thing that leapt out at me is, we have all of us been privates in Battalion, or Regiment, depending on our era. We lived the suck, and it most definitely is a way of life.
Life in Battalion was a harsh school, but it formed me, changed me forever, stamped me, to a point where I am still, and will always remain, a "Bat boy," no matter where I go, no matter what I do for an encore.
As CDW points out, "things move fast" in the unit. It will not be long before he goes to that crucial rite of passage known as Ranger School, and returns to his platoon to take over a fire team. That is when shit gets good, in my opinion.
For me, the experience was similar, but different, because I was a medic.
But there was no doubt that life changed, immensely, and for the better, after I survived the suck and got the tab. For better or for worse, the tab is the prerequisite for leadership in the Battalions. I was technically a company senior medic when I went to Ranger School, but I was suddenly able to actually play a leadership role after I returned. I wrote the medical annexes for patrol orders, for example. When shit went down, the call went out for "Doc" as it had before, but it was different. I was on the spot in a much different way, and my voice had much more authority, and the responsibility level was much greater. My admin responsibilities were much greater, ranging from evacuation liaison with supporting units, to maintenance of shot records and updates, to DZSO responsibilities, and running rifle ranges.
I was always struck, after I went out into the broader Army as a tabbed E-4, at how much more experience and seasoning I had compared to other E-4's. I jumpmastered my first aircraft as a Corporal, when I was TDY to Ft. Dix for OJT after the old 300F1 course. The jump was for the reserve SF unit in the area, but I had more jumps, and more experience as a jumpmaster, than most of the other NCOs in the unit with which I straphanged. It was awesome. I had my very own C-130. And jumpers for whom I was wholly responsible.
Later, when I went to the full SFQC, I was a buck sergeant. I was one of the few combat veterans there. It was a very different era, obviously, but I was able to draw on a wealth of experience that stood me in very good stead. I remember being shocked, and deeply honored, one evening, when an old 1SG who was a Vietnam veteran made the statement that "there are only two combat veterans in this room," and when I looked around and did the math, I realized that he was including me with him in the category. I was an E-6 at the time. I was staggered. But his point was valid.
Life is faster in the Regiment.
Life in Battalion is a pressure cooker, and the longer that you stay there, the more seasoned that you become, the more deployments that you get under your belt, the more skill schools, the more leadership positions, the more "real world" experience, the more and more professional you become, and the deeper your connections to our tribe. If you are privileged to go to combat as a member of a Ranger unit, you truly become part of its history, in my opinion, and you will never, ever, leave, no matter where you go, or what you do afterwards.
I have said before on this site that my heart remains up on the third floor of the A Co billets, with the other Bad 'Muthers. I have not been there in decades. I may never, ever have the opportunity to go back. But that place is my home. And those guys who lived there with me, back in the day, remain my brothers, and always will.
It just is.
Classes 12, 13, and 14-81.
Company A, 2d Battalion (Ranger), 1st Platoon, "Bad 'Muthers," 1980-1984;
Company B, 2d Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), ODA 151, 1984-1986.