Army Rangers Grant Child's Wish
February 23, 2007
By Paula Smith
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fl. (Army News Service, Feb. 23, 2007) - For Army Rangers, soldiering is a way of life. For 14-year-old Riley Woina, who has cystic fibrosis, "rangering" is a dream come true.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, Ranger Training Brigade, made Woina's dream come true here this week.
"I wanted to train with the Army Rangers because they are heroes and their motto is to 'leave no one behind,'" Woina said after completing a full day of training with the 6th Rangers Training Bn.
Dressed in a military flight suit with Army and Air Force insignia, Woina flew in a C-130 aircraft, observed an airborne jump, sat in an Air Force fighter jet and experienced a training flight in a UH-1V Huey provided by the U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment, 5th Aviation Battalion of Fort Polk, La.
Woina's Ranger experience also allowed him to negotiate a Zodiac boat along a river, cross a river on a one-rope bridge, conduct a swamp movement, participate in snake and rappelling demonstrations, and enjoy tours of Eglin Air Force Base and the Air Force Armament Museum.
Woina's skill and inner strength inspired the Rangers who had the opportunity to train him.
"When you've been in the Army for a long time, you forget what it feels like when you first join. I will never forget the look on Riley's face as he got off the helicopter, or when he conducted a rope-bridge crossing with the other Ranger students cheering him on," said Capt. Jeremiah Cordovano, 6th Ranger Training Bn.
Riley, of Plymouth, Conn., will travel to Fort Benning, Ga., next week, where he will stand alongside the Rangers he admires to participate in the U.S. Army Ranger School graduation ceremony.
The 6th Ranger Training Bn. conducts the final phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School, whose primary mission is to train Rangers who are flexible and adaptive combat leaders.
"I can't believe the time and effort that you guys (6th Ranger Training Bn.) have put into this," the boy's father, Gary, told the Soldiers. "Riley will never forget this experience."