Written by 1st Lt. Olivia Fairfield, 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment
SSG Chengjie Liu, a squad leader assigned to Iron Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, moved from China to the United States when he was just 11 years old. Since then, he dreamed of one day being an infantryman.
"When I first moved to America, my family and I did not have anything, but America provided us with the opportunity for a better education and a job," said Liu.
In 2011, Liu made his dream come true by enlisting in the U.S. Army as an 11B. However, his dreams did not stop there. After enlisting, he set a personal goal of earning the coveted "Ranger Tab" that many infantrymen don on their uniform.
Liu received his first opportunity to attend the rigorous two-month course in August 2018.
Once he received the confirmation he would be attending Ranger School, he conducted many aerobic exercises and bodyweight workouts to better prepare himself physically for the challenges ahead. He also learned about mental and physical endurance in order to reach his peak performance. Liu arrived at Fort Benning, Ga. determined to graduate. In just 124 days, he successfully completed Ranger School, graduating Dec. 16, 2018.
Liu knew Ranger School was going to be physically and mentally tough but came out realizing that it also taught him a lot about leadership. For Liu, having earned the Ranger tab shows your Soldiers that someone who will not give up on them, no matter how hard the situation, is leading them.
"I went to Ranger School with it being a personal goal, but once I graduated I realized Ranger School was not a school you attend for yourself, it is a school that you go to for your Soldiers and their families," said Liu.
For Liu, having your Ranger Tab shows your Soldiers' families that their loved one is being led by someone who will do everything possible to make sure their Soldier returns home safely.
Since returning from Ranger School to rejoin his unit, Liu wants to first and foremost take care of his Soldiers. Looking ahead, however, his next goal for his Army career is to earn a slot for and successfully complete selection to the Special Forces. Special Forces represents his ultimate Army goal and is deeply meaningful for him.
"I am extremely grateful that America has provided my family and me with what we need, so I want to give back to America and be the best I can be to serve our country," said Liu. "For me, I believe that means serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces."
Until then, Liu looks forward to seeing the next young leader in the Wolfpack returns with a Ranger tab on his arm.