"Chicken Man" Ranger???
By Jim Regan
During my tour with the Ranger Dept. at The Mountain Ranger Camp, had many opportunities to; Observe, Evaluate, Counsel,
and Harass Ranger Students (STUDS.) On one particular Patrol, a Platoon Size Combat Patrol, me and my Assistant, a SSG,
picked up the Patrol in their Combat Base at O'dark thirty. After talking with the Lane Advisers/Graders from the previous
day, found that some of the STUDS were seriously lacking in some skills. We issued the orders, watched the preparations and
prepared to move out to the Objective.
After we had moved about fifty meters from the Patrol Base I told SSG Kennedy (his Dad was one of our Squadron SGMs @ Phuoc Vinh), to hold up the Patrol for a Security Halt while I went back to check the area. I returned to the Patrol Base and looked for all the tell tale signs that the STUDS had been there. Some of the positions looked as if an elephant had spent the night! As I cruised the area I began to get a real case of the "Hips." Lots of sign that about forty Ranger Studs had RON'd and failed to cover their tracks. Suddenly I heard a strange noise... "aahwk...aahwk...aahwk!" I walked slowly around the perimeter and the sound got louder..."AAHWK...AAHK...AAHK!!!" As I rounded a good sized bush I saw the source of the sound. There, in all it's glory was a chicken, tied to the bush! The previous night the STUDS had received a ration of chickens, rice, and carrots from a "Friendly Partisan." That was all the chow they would have for the next day or so. I liberated the chicken and shooed it off. Took the twelve foot survival rope, coiled it and stuck it under my rucksack.
When I got back to the Patrol I told Sergeant Kennedy to form them up for an equipment check. Should have seen the looks on their faces. Well, I start out and do a "rigger" check on the first Stud, top to bottom, front to rear. As I move on down the line I see several nervous STUDS. I finally reach my main man! As you know, the Survival rope is secured to the web gear w/ a snaplink, usually on the right side of the suspender. As I let my fingers do the walking on this STUD'S gear I stop at the snap link and step back amazed!! Oh my, oh my, Ranger! Where oh where is that Survival Rope??!! Did the Good Fairy get it? No, then it must be the one I found tied to a chicken. I whip the rope out from behind me and the STUD wants to die on the spot. What's the story morning glory I asked. Well, Sergeant, he says, me and my Fire Team just could not bring ourselves around to killing the chicken and eating it. Sorry 'bout that Ranger, guess you'll be pretty hungry today. Minus twenty five points Spot Report. Minus ten points for your Cohorts. Head them up and move them out Sergeant Kennedy. Start of a really Bad Patrol.
As we stumbled from ridge line to ridge line, down in the bushes, I really got disgusted with their lack of Security, noise discipline, and general ability to navigate. I pulled the RTO back to the rear and got on the ADMIN Net with my Ranger Cadre buddies. PULEEZ! Please come and "Hit" these STUDS. I gave them the area and we knew there was a logging trail ahead that they had to cross. You'll hear them coming, I told my buddies. Sure enough, as we approached the trail, all hell breaks loose. Gun Jeeps w/ M-60s, Aggressors w/ M-16s all on full automatic, smoke and total bedlam. The Patrol freezes and drops to the ground. I sidle up to the Patrol Leader and ask him what he's going to do. He looks at me, reaches into his shirt and pulls out his map. What are you going to do with that, beat them to death??!! You're dead Ranger! The bad guys break contact, roar off in their Jeeps; yelling, laughing, and jeering the STUDS!! Smoke clears and I pull the patrol in to critique the contact. Nobody is happy, only two Studs had returned fire. All weapons were cold. New Patrol Leader! You got it, you know the mission, lets go. Need to make a map check he says. OK, the Squad Ldrs gather 'round and they look at the map, play with their compasses, and disagree on where they are. Once in a while they glance at me for a clue but no go. Finally, I tell them to look at the map, I grab a nearby bush and begin shaking it vigorously. Can you see this on the map!!? ? By golly, they are all on their belly looking for the shaking bush on the map!!! Saddle up and let's move, you're bound to get hit again if you stay here. On we go, stumbling and mumbling. They finally figure out where they are when the see a Forest Ranger Tower in the distance. Happy days, on to the Objective.
Spent a lot of time the next morning counseling and advising the Studs that I graded. Took time to talk with the whole Platoon with our Relief Advisers/Graders listening in. Not really sure what became of "CHICKEN MAN." Heard a rumor that he did not make it through the Florida phase. That's were you get to kill and eats snakes and Possum. Can't picture a Possum tied to a Cypress Knob in the swamp.
For a long time after that, my buddies would holler at me, back at MRC, AAHWK...AAHWK!! Find any Chicken Rangers today Regan!!!??? Jim RLTW
We need some Vietnam War Stories!