In case you didn’t know, Ranger School is no joke. Of course, I didn’t attend the school (nor will I EVER), but stories and videos can show you the training that they do there. It’s crazy.
There are 3 phases and Darby is the first.
Darby is at Fort Benning and consists of a lot of “getting smoked” and just doing what you’re told. You can look up tons of Youtube videos of soldiers going through this. For me, it’s cringy and I hate seeing it.
I’m going to tell you what I did, as a loved one, for my soldier.
Throughout this phase:
- I wrote 1 letter a day
- Every letter had a paragraph about something that occurred within my day, so he could have a sense of what’s going on in my life. At the end I would write a devotional and how I thought it related to something that happened in our life. I maintained a positive attitude throughout all of my letters. I also made sure he knew how proud I was of him and how much I loved him. If you’re loved one is going through Ranger School, join the Facebook group for their class. They provide tons of resources about mailing letters, addresses and calendars. The calendar’s let you know exactly what they’re doing each day. I would include this in my letters as well, I would say things like, “Good luck on your robe test, I know you’re going to kill it”.
- Just so you know, he didn’t get the letters until the day of his Darby pass. This frustrates me because I sent them all in order and I obviously wanted to encourage him throughout this time. I know the instructors do not care about mail, they care about instructing. Well, on his Darby pass he got a huge pile of letters right before I saw him and I know it made his day.
- I wrote in a journal
- While my letters were extremely positive, I bought a little journal from Michael’s that I wrote about the real stuff that was happening to me. How I was stressed about wedding planning without him, how I didn’t know what I was doing without him and just how I sad I was without him. I made sure this sadness wasn’t reflected in the letters so he can feed off of the energy that I was giving. But I still wanted him to know once he was done, what I was really feeling.
- I PRAYED
- I prayed a lot! I prayed that God would stay with him, give him strength and guide him. I prayed for other soldiers that he mentioned in his letters and also for his instructors. Praying definitely helped me.
Darby pass is 8 hours where your soldier is able to get a refit, so new equipment, a haircut, maybe a nap and lots of food.
This pass was AMAZING!
I was so nervous to see him, but also so excited. I knew once he came out that in a blink of an eye he would be going back and I was trying to make every moment last.
I woke up early to get ready, around 5 am. I had Powerade, coconut water, coffee (as requested by him in a letter), a breakfast sandwich and a cinnamon roll in the car waiting for him. I was prepared.
As the soldiers came out of Camp Darby, the amazing volunteers had donuts, pizza, candy and fruit waiting for them. He had plenty of food. We went back to the house so he could change and went straight to get new equipment. He got what he needed and then we got coffee, lunch and ice cream, which was his idea. We then spent time at the house, he took a bath with Epsom salt, we talked about everything and I shaved his head. Once we were done hanging out, we got dinner and I then the last hour came and I had to take him back to Ranger School. The last hour was so depressing but I tried to stay positive for him.
In all, Darby pass was such a gift for me and I know Jacob feels the same way.
I’ll be honest, this phase was extremely hard for me. Not being able to talk to Jacob was tough for me to live with. The longest I’ve been without talking to him prior to Ranger School was probably 4 days while he was at IBOLC. But 3 weeks is way too long.
The first week was okay, nothing special. But then the second week came, and it hit me hard. I came home crying for 4 days straight. Then I got a letter from him in the mail one day after work and I just sat in my car crying so much. He was positive which gave me so much hope but still I missed him.
The volunteers that run the Facebook Group pages are amazing, they are so willing to answer questions that you have. It’s also awesome to meet other people who have loved ones at Ranger School.
I met a girl on this FB group who was from the same city that I was living in and I was so excited. It turns out that her solider was one of Jacob’s friends in Ranger School, it was such a coincidence. We ended up leaning on each other during that time which helped so much.
Darby phase is now over and thank God for that!
Coming up next to the blog is how to stay healthy while traveling, a distillery, and a review of Smile Brilliant! I cannot wait to share with you all everything that is coming! If you have any recommendations of what I should write about next please share, I want to write about what you want to read about.
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