By U.S. ArmyJanuary 30, 2020
Sgt. Zachary Gibson joined the U.S. Army in 2011 as a petroleum supply specialist. While proud to serve his country in any capacity, the Batavia, New York, native said he always felt the need to strive for more.
"I always wanted to challenge to myself," said Gibson, who is currently assigned to the 227th Composite Supply Company, 129th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Sustainment Brigade. "I wanted to be more than just a fueler; I wanted to be more than just a Soldier, in general. I wanted to go for the elite of the elite."
This is Gibson's second time being stationed at Fort Campbell. In 2013, he was assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and earned the coveted Air Assault badge. Returning to Fort Campbell in 2016, Gibson decided that he wanted to push himself even further and become an Army Ranger.
Determined to fulfill his goal, he learned the steps he needed to take in order to attend the Ranger Assessment Selection Program. RASP, an eight-week program at Fort Benning, Georgia, is designed to prepare Soldiers for a future assignment to the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment.
With a strong desire to be a part of this elite organization, Gibson knew he first needed to raise his general technology score in order to qualify for the program. The Army offers a class that enables Soldiers to raise their GT score from the original score received on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which is taken upon enlistment. Gibson applied himself, and took what's known as the "Fast Class," twice, eventually raising his score and meeting RASP's prerequisites.
"I may not be the smartest guy in the world," said Gibson who refused to let small setbacks stand in the way of his success, "but I'll give you everything I got, and that's all that matters to me. I had to work hard just to get to RASP, three years of hard work and trying to raise my GT score, showing my chain of command [that I have] what it takes to go through that course and come out victorious."
In the summer of 2019, Gibson finally had the opportunity to achieve his dream and departed to Fort Benning to attend RASP, however, he sustained an injury early on in the training. Sustaining the injury did not deter him from reattempting his hand at the course. After five weeks of rehabilitation at Fort Benning, Gibson attended the next RASP rotation. This meant he would be away from his family for 17 weeks, and he would even miss the birth of his son.
"The most memorable experience was standing there on graduation day realizing that all of my three years of hard work and dedication finally paid off - putting that tan beret on, wearing that scroll, knowing that I gave everything I got, and I was able to achieve what I wanted," said Gibson, who graduated from RASP Nov. 7, 2019. "Most of all, my kids got to see that; that's all I wanted, especially since it was the first time I've ever saw my son, since he was born three weeks prior to that day."
Gibson had to endure challenging courses in order to graduate the program. Everyday there were numerous cardio and strength tests that he had to complete. He became stronger and smarter, and remain motivated through his dedication and perseverance.
Gibson said he has challenged himself to be successful throughout his entire life. He acknowledges that he is an Army leader and, therefore, must set the standard for others to emulate.
"You just have to be 100 percent fully committed to it," said Gibson, referring to completing RASP. "It's not easy; it's definitely one of the hardest courses I could ever think of, or ever go to. A lot of great leaders come out of RASP, and I wanted to be a part of that history of the 75th Ranger Regiment."
Gibson will be assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment this summer. He also plans on attending and graduating from the elite U.S. Army Ranger School in the future.