By Rob McIlvaineMarch 19, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. (March 19, 2012) -- Congressional staffers viewed explosions, Ranger infiltration techniques by boat, rappelling down a 60-foot tower, and dropping from a helicopter to extricate Soldiers from the ground.
It was part of a three-day visit by about 53 congressional staffers to Fort Benning, March 14-16, to learn about the many aspects of infantry and armor training.
Friday's demonstration, dubbed Rangers in Action, was awe-inspiring from the first exhilarating action. A Ranger began by sliding down a rope from a 34-foot tower and dropping to the water as a huge explosion occurred behind him.
Then, the Ranger showed the versatility of plastic explosives by shaping C-4 into a ball and throwing it up into the stands for a staffer to catch. When he did, an explosion occurred behind the stands, whereupon the Ranger offered up a roll of toilet paper.
The humor of these highly-skilled professionals filled the morning along with demonstrations of lifesaving techniques, and various entries into battle by boat and helicopter.
During hand-to-hand combat, the Rangers enjoyed showing their bravado in demonstrations of knife, hand-gun, rifle, and the jujutsu fighting style. But after showmanship equal to the best of Hollywood actors, staffers came away with memories and the knowledge of what Rangers can accomplish to take back to their congressmen and senators.
"I've been on two STAFFDELS (staff delegations), and I really liked the pace and fun of this one," said Julieann Martin of this trip sponsored by the Army's Office of Congressional Legislative Liaison. Martin is a legislative assistant for Rep. Joe Barton from the 6th District of Texas.
"This was fun and I want to do it again," said Kenya Handy, legislative assistant to Rep. Yvette Clarke of the 11th District, New York.
Clarke said seeing the kind of activity on display at Fort Benning makes budgeting numbers more real.
"We just view funding in terms of numbers and this gives us more human experience," Clarke said.
Maj. Richard Scott, deputy commanding officer of the 75th Ranger Regiment in an earlier brief to the congressional staffers, said the regiment is a lethal, agile and flexible force, capable of executing a myriad of complex, joint special-operation missions in support of U.S. policy and objectives.