Yeah, the course is gay, but pay attention to what's being taught. Coming from Batt, the guys on your team will expect you to pick up the ball and run with immediately. Put your best foot forward and don't make the Regiment look like a bunch of prima donas'.
This is about the smartest thing posted in this thread, yet.
In my era (note that I say "era," and not "in my day," because it was a long time ago that I left Bat and went to Group myself), former Bat boys on ODAs were the heat. We were more seasoned, more experienced, and we knew how to soldier. It was almost like you could tell a former Ranger from that era's version of an 18X at a glance.
It was the simple, fundamental stuff. When we went to the bush, we soldiered. No fires, no fucking camp chairs. We observed stand-to, by the numbers. We trained, and we trained to standard, because in Group, we had the liberty to do our own planning. And when I say that we trained to standard, I do not mean the standard in the AR. I mean the real world standard. Our team sergeants in those days were Vietnam veterans.
I mean, what a fucking boon
. No canned bullshit from the S-shops. We planned, organized, and coordinated our own training. If a vehicle was not on station, we knew which guy on the team had not followed through and double checked to make it happen. If a range was not ready, we knew who was wrong. Going from Battalion to Group was amazing in those days, because you went from an environment of total discipline to one where discipline was self-imposed, you were given the rope to hang yourself, and if you wanted to make yourself and your Battalion look like shit, you could.
We were hell on that, though. We had the prestige, honor, and high esprit d'corps of our Ranger Battalions to uphold, and even though we were wearing green hats rather than black ones, we never forgot where we came from, and we policed our own.
I have no idea what it is like on an ODA these days. In my era, it was pretty cool. As was stated, the team sergeant set the tone. My team sergeant was a former platoon sergeant in Battalion, who had also served on an ODA in Vietnam. He and I were the lone Bat boys on our ODA, so we were thicker than thieves. The guys on our ODA followed our lead, and we did some great training. Very unconventional, incorporating the best elements of SF and Battalion as they existed in that era. We were competent as hell in the field. Our planning was goddamned good. Our team commanders just leaned back and let us tell them what to do. They kept the company commander off our butts, and they served as a sanity check.
It was a different Army, and a different era.
The head space and timing in Group was radically different from Battalion in those days. I packed on about ten pounds of muscle after I left Battalion, because our deployment schedule was slower, and we had more control over where we went, and when, and we were able to incorporate gym time. We had more control over our diets. We also did a hell of a lot more rucking in Group, which stresses different muscles than running. We were some running motherfuckers in Battalion, and we did not really have time to lift weights so much. There was no gym in the 2d Bat compound at that time, and the "compound," per se, did not exist as it does today. So going to Group was a relief. My body was worn out after four years in Battalion, and I was ready to back off on the running, and to focus more on rucking and on weights. I remember one day I went back to A Co to visit the boys, and I ran into LG in the hallway. He was saying "look at you! Goddamn, Ranger! You got big!" And he did not mean fat.
The admonition to pay attention in class is a good one, though. As I say, Battalion and Group were very different in that era, and I am sure that it is true today, as well. The missions are radically different. One of the primary things that I picked up in Group was the whole "sensitivity to other cultures" aspect. I do not know what is taught in the Q these days, but back in 1984, and then again in 1994 (when I went back as an O), learning to work with HN counterparts was a primary focus.
A pure Ranger line grunt might have some difficulty making the transition, but there was room for all types. If a guy did not have the finesse to evolve into a good 18F, there was no sin in being a great weapons sergeant. In those days, there were guys on ODAs who made SFC, then stayed on their ODA until they retired, or they got poached to run one of the companies. Some guys were not a good fit for team sergeant slots, so some guys did not get them.
I could go on and on and on. These reminiscences are probably not so valuable, if only due to the time that has passed. To sum up, going to Group from Battalion in my era was a very cool thing to do. It was rewarding, it was good for Group, it was good for the Army, and it was very good for the individual Ranger, as long as he could make the transition to the SF mind set.