I had a phone conversation with a Ranger veteran today. We talked about his continuing transition, which has been fraught with struggles and instances of the “system” working against him so much you’d think the system was run by the Taliban.
He made an interesting comment which I quote here:
“When you stop hearing from us, it’s because we are sucking but don’t want to burden our Ranger buddies”
Yet he has personally dropped everything to help one of his Ranger buddies, and would do so everytime one of his Ranger buddies had a need.
But when he was suffering, he did what his quote said. He went into isolation mode, because he didn’t “want to burden” his Ranger buddies.
Or is it because his character, his makeup, his training all told him to suck it up, drive on, handle this yourself?
The true Ranger paradox.
The Creed says: “I will never leave a fallen comrade…”
The Mentality says: “I’ll deal with this myself, regardless of how difficult or how much the cost.”
We Rangers are a unique breed, and we all internally are very much alike. We all are very adept at hiding pain – a trait that can serve us well on the battlefield, or in an athletic competition – but one that ultimately can cause greater harm if we continue hiding that pain at home.
Harm to relationships, harm to employment, harm to emotional health.
It’s OK to reach out to a Ranger buddy and give them a SITREP – and even if you don’t feel pain now, maybe he does. So reach out. Especially if you haven’t heard from him in awhile. Maybe he doesn’t want to burden you.
Ellis Reyes says
Brilliant, Karl. I have been on both sides of this paradox myself. Thank you for articulating it so clearly.