By Maj. Tony MayneJanuary 27, 2017
The 75th Ranger Regiment's Spc. David Soflin became the Army's first junior enlisted multimedia specialist to earn the coveted Ranger Tab during the US Army Ranger School's graduation at Fort Benning's Victory Pond on Jan. 27.
The Ranger Regiment has a multimedia specialist?
That begins the rest of the story.
Freezing rain poured on Soflin and his fellow Advanced Individual Training and Public Affairs Qualification Course Soldiers as they conducted the Army Physical Fitness Test at the Defense Information School on a dark afternoon in Feb. 2015 at Fort Meade, Maryland. During the two-mile run, he passed a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment at the mile-and-a-half mark to take the lead and win the event.
"After the run, a Ranger officer introduced himself to me and asked me what I wanted to get out of the Army," Soflin said. "He did not ask me what my job was, but what my goals were the day I joined the Army."
"I told him that I wanted to maximize my opportunities and do challenging Army missions," Soflin continued. "He said, 'OK, meet me tonight for dinner in the DFAC.'"
After receiving an impromptu brief about the role of the 75th Ranger Regiment to develop leaders for the Army and an overview of the unit's combat role, Soflin was hooked.
"I did not know that a multimedia specialist could be a special operations Ranger," Soflin stated. "The Ranger Regiment has over 100 career fields for Soldiers, but I guess when you think Ranger -- you think of infantry only."
Soflin contacted the Ranger Regiment's recruiters to apply for a chance to earn assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment after completion of the eight-week Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1 at Fort Benning. After completing AIT and Airborne School, Soflin awaited the start of his RASP 1 course.
"At first I was intimidated by RASP," Soflin said. "You have self-doubt not coming from a combat arms background, then you realize RASP is all about building leadership and character."
"The tasks are physically demanding, but if you have heart and are a team player, you can push through and graduate no matter your career field," Soflin continued.
After completing RASP 1, Soflin was assigned to the Ranger Regiment's public affairs section where he rapidly integrated into the team. Within his first year in the Regiment, Soflin produced multiple products utilized by the United States Special Operations Command and the US Army while receiving advanced Ranger skill training in small arms and pistol marksmanship and breaching.
"I never thought I would have the chance to be a certified small arms instructor, but a training slot opened up and I got to go to the course," Soflin said. "The best thing about being in Regiment is that we are all Rangers first."
Soflin also completed advanced skill training in videography and deployed in support of a special operations task force before attending Ranger School.
"It was an eye opening experience for a Specialist," Soflin said.
Within three weeks of returning from deployment, Soflin began the Ranger Regiment's Pre-Ranger training known as Small Unit Ranger Training.
"SURT was a smoker, but it was a means to an end," Soflin stated. "The Regiment's cadre definitely prepared me for Ranger School."
After having his Ranger Tab pinned on his left shoulder, Soflin was asked what was next.
"I have to be ready for the promotion board so I can be a Ranger NCO," Soflin replied. "Once you get to Regiment, it is about the next leadership assignment and more responsibility."
Upon graduation, Soflin learned that a documentation specialist recently graduated from RASP 1 and will be his Ranger mentor.
"I can't wait to show him the ropes," Soflin beamed.