Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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
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 @ yahoo.com) 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
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 (
Thursday, July 24, 2008
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
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
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
Any advice on what I can use to keep them away?!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
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
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
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
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.