Al sends this AP story in the Army Times about the 6th Ranger Battalion (TNG) helping a young man realize a dream:
Sick child gets wish to train with Rangers
By Melissa Nelson - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Feb 26, 2007 13:02:59 EST
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Weakened by his lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, 14-year-old Riley Woina dreams of being strong like the war heroes he watches in movies.
The Army’s 6th Ranger Training Battalion on Eglin Air Force Base recently helped him realize this unusual dream.
Susan Woina joked that her son could have taken his Plymouth, Conn., family to Walt Disney World or gone on a shopping spree through the Make-A-Wish Foundation instead of spending a week crawling in the mud with soldiers in the Florida Panhandle.
“You always want what you cannot have and he’ll never be able to join the Army because of his cystic fibrosis, so of course he wants that more than anyone else would. He would join the Army today if he could,” she said.
The family has no connection to the military, except through the many war movies Riley loves to watch. Inspired by his favorite movies, “Black Hawk Down” and the HBO World War II series “Band of Brothers,” he researched Ranger training and learned about 6th Ranger Training Battalion.
Riley said he couldn’t think of anything better — not even visiting a chocolate factory — than seeing Camp James E. Rudder, where Rangers face their final and most difficult training challenges.
“I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything like this again. They do everything down here, the swamp training, everything,” he said, while eating with his new Ranger buddies in the chow hall.
And the 80-pound 14-year-old, weakened by his degenerative illness, said he doesn’t feel any sympathy for the physical punishment Rangers experience for 18 days at Camp Rudder.
“It’s a way of life for them; they are the ones that signed up for it so it’s their fault,” he said to the chuckles of the Rangers around him.
What he likes most about the Rangers: “Their determination to leave no man behind.”...