Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pitiful Rock Games

Today Ranger Johnny actually begins climbing up mountains and rappelling back down them. They've spent the past 3 days learning how to tie the proper knots and hopefully everything anyone would ever want to know about belaying and rappelling. Kinda nerve wracking for me, but I'm sure he is having a blast! So, if you think of him today and tomorrow, say a little prayer for his safety.

I got a postcard over the weekend that he had written a week or 2 ago while he was still in Phase 1. He said they have a game to help them stay awake. They pass a rock around. That's all...that's the actual game. He said it sounds silly, but it does work! Want to hear something even more pitiful? He said when he gets so tired that he starts to see double when he's writing me a letter, he closes his right eye. He said, "That's how every letter goes, one eye opened, one eye closed." PITIFUL.

Hope everyone is having a GREAT Wednesday!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Mountain Phase!

We're on to Phase 2 everyone!

Mike had a wonderful visit with Johnny this past Friday and said he was very positive and seemed to be mentally handling everything as well as one could! I think Johnny's time at The Citadel has really given him an edge over some of the other guys there because he is able to ignore a lot of the mental games and harassment they get from the RI's. Apparently Ranger School is nothing compared to Knob Year at The Citadel! Johnny has definitely dropped some weight, mostly muscle mass and the little bit of fat he did have. Enjoy the pictures. Thank you for taking these Mike!

Phase 2 brings a whole new set of obstacles and tests for him. Please continue to keep him in your prayers for his safety, health, mental strength and focus, and emotional state (he really misses home). I also have his new address - so drop me an email (amandaryantaylor @ and I'll forward it right along to you!

Below I've included a description of what can be expected during the Mountain Phase. It's kinda long...sorry!

During the Mountain Phase, students receive instruction on military mountaineering tasks as well as techniques for employing a squad and platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment. They further develop their ability to command and control a platoon size patrol through planning, preparing, and executing a variety of combat patrol missions. The Ranger student continues to learn how to sustain himself and his subordinates in the adverse conditions of the mountains. The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the emotional stress that the student encounters afford him the opportunity to gauge his own capabilities and limitations as well as that of his "Ranger Buddies." In addition to combat patrol operations, the Ranger student receives five days of training on military mountaineering. During the first three days of mountaineering (Lower) he learns about knots, belays, anchor points, rope management and the basic fundamentals of climbing and rappelling. His mountaineering training culminates with a two day exercise (Upper) at Yonah Mountain applying the skills learned during Lower Mountaineering. During the two FTXs (field training exercises), Ranger students also perform patrol missions requiring the use of their mountaineering skills.

Combat patrol missions are directed against a conventionally equipped threat force in a low intensity conflict scenario. These patrol missions are conducted both day and night over a four day squad field training exercise (FTX) and a platoon five day FTX that includes moving cross country over mountains, conducting vehicle ambushes, raiding communications/mortar sites, and conducting a river crossing or scaling a steep sloped mountain. The Ranger student reaches his objective in several ways: Cross-country movement, air assaults into small landing zones on the sides of mountains or an 8 10 mile foot march over the Tennessee Valley Divide (TVD). The stamina and commitment of the Ranger student is stressed to the maximum. At any time, he may be selected to lead tired, hungry, physically expended students to accomplish yet another combat patrol mission.

At the conclusion of the Mountain Phase, the students move by bus or parachute assault into the Third and final (Florida) Phase of Ranger training, conducted at Camp Rudder, near Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Peanut-Butter Shots in the Butt

Today, I’m frustrated and sad. And that’s how I felt yesterday too. I hadn’t heard from Johnny in about a week and was dying to hear from him and to just know that he was doing alright. I finally got 2 postcards from him yesterday! YAY! Thank goodness! He wrote both around July 15th and I’m sure hasn’t had the time or energy to write since because they have been out in the field doing missions, raids and ambushes. Each mission usually takes around 12-24 hours to plan and execute. He is still averaging about 1-2 hours of sleep a night and is getting about 1 MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) every 24 hrs. The daunting task of completing the infamous “Darby Queen” obstacle course consisting of 26 different obstacles didn’t even faze Johnny. He said he “smoked the Darby Queen and killed (metaphorically, not literally) all 26 different obstacles!” Even his Special Forces friend got 3 “No Go’s” on it, so I think that really helped give Johnny a boost of confidence considering he made it straight through, all Go’s!

They have been giving the guys Penicillin shots in their butts about every 2 weeks. For those of you who don’t know Johnny very well, he does NOT like shots. Actually, he tries to avoid them at all cost and he has a very long list of shots (like 15 different shots) he’ll have to get when he gets back home before he deploys because he has successfully beat the medical system and not gotten them in the 2 years he’s been stationed at Hunter…haha! I guess he’s learning to deal with them in Ranger School – hopefully he’ll be a pro with them by the time he gets home! Here’s what he said, “What did I do to deserve this?! Here, I am, JW, trying to be the best Ranger I can be and they want to put what they compare to peanut butter in my butt. My level of comfort right now is amazingly low.” HAHA. I can’t help but to laugh. My man still has his sense of humor and I love it! These two postcards seemed to be the most upbeat and light-hearted of them all. He said he is doing awesome and even with not getting hardly any sleep for the past month he doesn’t feel too bad yet.

Oh, but back to why I’m frustrated and sad. I’m super frustrated because Johnny informed me that the RI’s (Ranger Instructors) ARE NOT GIVING THEM ANY MAIL. You have GOT to be kidding me. We had heard rumors that they sometimes do this, but didn’t really think it was true. Well, it is. That means he hasn’t heard from me or anyone else for that matter this entire time and our letters are just piling up somewhere. He even says in one of the postcards, “They are about to do our first mail call. I’m so pumped.” Then the next day he started writing again and said, “The only people who got mail were the guys who joined our class late (ones who recycled). So I was a little down and just want to hear from you.” OMG. MY HEART BROKE WHEN I READ THAT. You know what, how rude of those RI’s. Seriously. I’m SO thankful that despite the circumstances, he can still be positive. He said he knows I’ve sent mail and knows that I’m doing well, he just needs to get it from them. So he understands that they are keeping it from them and it probably upsets me (well, clearly) than it does him. Hopefully they won’t do this during the next two phases – so don’t be discouraged and not write him letters! I really think they are doing this to continually try to wean the weak out of the program, especially in the first phase.

And I’m sad because I just miss him. Plain and simple, I miss my best friend.

But anyways, enough of the depressing stuff. Want to hear a funny story?! In one of the postcards from July 15th, he says, “Today I really wanted to watch Ratatouille. Don’t know why though.” I WATCHED THE MOVIE RATATOUILLE ON THE NIGHT OF THE 15TH!!! Isn’t that CRAZY?! I know that’s the night I watched it because it was still in the dvd player when Christy and Elena came over the next night. I love love love that! And despite the fact that we’ve had no contact over the past month, our brains still work together! You really know you’re destined to be with someone when you both want to watch a cartoon movie about a rat who cooks while you’re two worlds away. That makes me smile :)

Mike (Johnny’s Dad) is actually traveling as I type this to Columbus, GA. Johnny gets an 8-hour break tomorrow before he begins the Mountain Phase to eat, catch up on sleep, do laundry and purchase more supplies, equipment and toiletries before Phase 2. After our last good-bye we decided that it probably wouldn’t be the best idea for me to go back up for that 8-hour break because it was just so difficult on us. We also didn’t want it to un-focus him before the next phase. So, while I know that it’s the best thing for both of us, it kills me to know that I could see him tomorrow but am not going to. I’m so thankful Mike is going to be there and I know he is SO excited to see his son, it is just tough – you know? But the good news is that I get to talk to him! No, seriously – like really talk to him – on the phone and everything!! I’m so excited to at least be able to hear his voice again. He has already informed me like 2 weeks ago that he wants to eat ribs, ice cream and pancakes and eggs and bacon from IHOP. Oh man. What a combination.

So that’s what’s happening here on the Webb-end of things. You know, I actually feel much better after writing everything out. So even if no one reads this thing, it helps me sort out the feelings and thoughts piling up inside of me.

Oh, and I just finished painting my half-bath green. Bright green. With zebra rugs. It is F-U-N! I’ll have to post pics soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Darn Deer

The deer are eating my bushes! I have an herb garden out back which appears to be unharmed, yet this poor bush is completely gone! You can even see bite marks! And I know it's deer because I've seen their tracks in the empty lot next to our house. It takes a lot for me to keep plants and such alive, so I'd really like to keep what I already have.

Any advice on what I can use to keep them away?!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

RAP Week is OVER!

Well, he's made it past the hardest part of Ranger School - the first week! Rap Week is officially over and he got "GO's" on everything and the first time through on each task as well. Apparently they will give you a second chance on some tasks if you don't pass it the first time before they recycle you and he never needed any second chances!

I got a VERY long letter from him yesterday. He said to heck with the postcards and mailed me a 12 page letter! (Don't worry - it's not on 8.5 x 11 paper...just small paper from a pocket notebook he has!) I can definitely tell by reading through the letter that the exhaustion is having an effect on him because many times he didn't make any sense and he repeated himself often. However, he seemed to have high morale and he definitely stills has his sense of humor!

He said the heat is the worst part because they just stand around in the sun all day long. But they do keep some of the water ice cold for them, so he was pretty excited about that. His company began with 114 and they are now down to 59 guys....just after the first week! He is meeting a lot of new people, several of whom are stationed in Savannah at Hunter Army Airfield with the 75th Ranger Battalion. I see new friends in our future! :) He even ran into a guy from Hilton Head who he use to hang out with when they were kids...isn't that wild?!

They had a "Demolition" class a few days ago where they actually got to make explosives and then blow them up. He said it was probably the most fun he's had yet. haha. He's still a little boy at heart!

He still isn't getting much sleep. The night before his 12 mile Ruck March he only got 45 minutes of sleep. In regards to food, he said, "The longer I'm here the more hungry I get. My intake has not changed, I'm just in need of more food! But, I'm fine - promise!" He said he can tell he is not nearly as strong as he was 3 weeks ago. He said he put some of his gross dirty clothes in a trash bag for a couple of days and when he went to wash them, he opened the bag and it smelled like pure ammonia. Apparently, when you start burning your muscles off, it smells like ammonia. Yuk!

In his letters, he reminisces a lot about our life at home and he said those thoughts keep him going. He also said, "Please tell everyone to write and send pictures! It is hard to have all this, all the time, so I think my mental escape will be letters and so forth." Geez, I can't wait to have him home again. We're almost 1/3 of the way done! YAY!

Here are some pictures from me, Christy and Elena's photo shoot last night. We wanted to take some pictures to send to Uncle Johnny!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Address for Johnny!

I finally received my first letter from Johnny since our latest goodbye last weekend. He is doing very well, getting "GO's" on each task he is presented with. He is averaging about 1-2 hours of sleep each night while the remaining 22-23 hours of the day are filled with non-stop physical activity.

They began with about 450 guys starting Ranger School on the 7th and we were told they try to get the number down to about 250. The majority of those guys will be out within these first two weeks. He said 60 guys didn't make it through on Tuesday. That is CRAZY! They really are weaning out the weak to leave the best of the best! This first week is called "RAP" week and the Ranger Instructors (RI's) make it their mission to get as many guys to quit as possible. Either by physical exertion or they are known to play mental games with them testing to see if they really want to do whatever it takes for a Ranger tab. Johnny said he was able to block most of it out! He said he has high morale as long as he sets small goals for himself. Even with the non-stop activity and lack of sleep he is still able to write a few sentences on a postcard each day to me (he mails it once the card is filled up) and he said he reads his devotional book every day.

He would love mail, so if you would like to mail him a letter, please email me or leave me a comment on the blog with your email address so I can email you the address. I don't want to put it on here for security reasons.

**Keep in mind, he will only have this address for the next 12 days. After that they begin the Mountain Phase and it is in a totally different part of Georgia with a different address. I wouldn't mail anything to him past the 22nd because he probably won't get it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Uplifting Words

I have to admit - this has been a really tough adjustment. Not only is Johnny gone, but I can't even talk to him. No kidding, we talked like 4-6 times a day...and that was usually just while we were away from each other at work. So needless to say, it's been tough. And unfortunately I find myself feeling uneasy at night in our big ol' house by myself...and I HATE that feeling. I have been trying to stay positive and busy and focused on God's Word. Last night I was reading my devotion in Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman and it was perfect for how I was feeling. So I thought I would share it with you.

Devotion for July 9:

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10)

"Doesn't God's Word come to us like a soft rain shower, dispelling the fury of the flames? Isn't it like fireproof armor, against which the heat is powerless? Then let afflictions come, for God has chosen me. Whatever occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me.

Dear Christian, do not be afraid, for Jesus is with you. Through all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never forsake those He has chosen for His own. "Do not be afraid, for I am with you" (Genesis 26:24) is His unfailing word of promise to His chosen ones who are experiencing "the furnace of affliction."

The burden of suffering seems to be a tombstone hung our necks. Yet in reality it is simply the weight necessary to hold the diver down while he is searching for pearls."

It uplifted me and I hope if you too are going through something tough in your life, that this will give you a peace and fill your heart with happiness and God's love.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful 4th of July with their friends and family! Thank you to all the soliders who selflessly fight to protect our independence.

A Quick Hello from Ranger Webb

Hey yall. I finally get to spend a little time with my Bride again. I just finished the Pre-Ranger course on the 3rd. I have until the night of the 6th(D-Day, June 6th 1944), then I go back to the Warrior Training Center where they will give us a ride to the Ranger school at about 0230 where we will start the course. The past two weeks have been a great training aid for what is to come. It really helped me understand what I am getting into and will hopefully put me ahead of the power curve.

I have missed the heck out of Amanda, but I know she is strong and will be alright and that helps me not to worry. When we report on the morning of the 7th we start with our RPFT(Ranger Physical Fitness Test) followed by the Combat Water Survival Test. Throughout the rest of the week we will have a land navigation test, timed ruck marck and a couple other graded events we must pass in order to continue on with the course. I feel really confident going into this and look forward to getting started. It is a long course and will be tough, I just have to stay focused on what I am there for and I only have to do this once.

I can get mail while I am there so PLEASE feel free to send me a letter, you can get the address from Amanda. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers, it definantly helps me get through the hard times. Take care and I will be keeping Amanda updated on what is going on throughout school.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Growth Plates

I just left my chiropractor's office and we viewed and discussed the x-rays they took of my back and neck yesterday during my first appointment. Well, at age 23 I'm still not done growing! He showed me on the x-ray exactly where I still had growth plates and said that I'm going to grow another 1/2 inch...and he said that it would be my legs that grow, not my upper half! haha! Most people's growth plates close by age 18. Well, not Amanda's. Does this mean I'm still going through puberty?! I just thought this was the funniest and oddest thing ever and had to share!