By Tracy A. Bailey, 75th Ranger RegimentJanuary 5, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- For the first time in the history of the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., a U.S. Army veterinarian technician earned the elite Ranger Tab.
Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Klagenberg, the regimental veterinarian technician for the 75th Ranger Regiment, graduated Nov. 12, from the U.S. Army Ranger Course.
"All in all, Ranger School didn't feel too physically demanding. It was just a 61-day suck-fest," said Klagenberg. "Once you embrace that suck and understand that the men to your left and right are in the same boat, it's a lot easier."
Sixty-one days of minimal sleep, very little food, and rugged terrain is designed to induce the most amount of stress upon a Ranger candidate in the least amount of time. Once this condition is set, then the Ranger candidate must perform and be rated successful by Ranger instructors conducting various missions under simulated combat conditions.
"One of the hardest things to do was to try and motivate a platoon of Rangers to move quickly to our next objective," said Klagenberg. "Especially when they are starved, have only slept for just a few hours over the last three or four days, and every part of their bodies are sore."
Even though Ranger School is a "suck-fest," there is an upside to attending this course.
"The best part was the mountaineering portion up on Mount Yona," said Klagenberg. "The views were amazing and the adrenaline rush was crazy."
Graduating Ranger School is not the only first for Klagenberg. He is also the first vet medical tech to serve with the 75th Ranger Regiment.
"The Ranger veterinarian at the time presented me with the opportunity to join the regiment," said Klagenberg. "It doesn't get any better than the 75th Ranger Regiment."
Klagenberg was recruited by then-regimental veterinarian, Maj. Justin Schlanser, for his experience and technical skills to be a mentor and subject matter expert for the dog handlers and future technicians at the battalions.
"Sergeant First Class Klagenberg truly required no on-the-job training and hit the ground running and ready," said Schlanser. "He knew the standards and traditions of the unit he was getting into and never wanted anything but to meet those standards."
Klagenberg obtained his Expert Field Medical Badge within a month of his arrival at the regiment, and volunteered for the U.S. Army Ranger Course.
"It is truly remarkable to see an AMEDD NCO at this stage and level in his career," Schlanser said. "This is another one of his traits. He is willing to humble himself to attain greatness, which is something all great leaders do."
Klagenberg, a native of Natalia, Texas, has been with the regiment for about a year and his job is to take care of the regiment's military working dogs.
"I ensure that our dogs are healthy and ready for the next training cycle or the next deployment," Klagenberg said. "Vaccinations, blood work, and physicals must be up-to-date, much like any Ranger, before our dogs can deploy."
In addition, Klagenberg tends to minor sick call issues, conducts inspections and monitors the dogs living conditions to ensure they are properly housed and fed.
Klagenberg's duties and responsibilities also include ensuring the dog handlers and medics are tactically and technically proficient in canine first responder skills.
"The strength of the regiment is individual Rangers like Sergeant First Class Klagenberg, who even though they have what may seem to be a less 'tactical' position, prove through their accomplishments that they are the best the Army has to offer," Schlanser said. "As every Ranger in the 75th Ranger Regiment is selected and assessed so too are the canines and only the best are chosen to serve."