Fort Polk Guardian 08-03-2018

Vol. 45, No. 31 Published for the community of Fort Polk, La. Aug. 3, 2018 Guardian Fort Polk Inside the Guardian Lawyers train ............. 3 Active dummies .......... 6 Rotation 18-09 action .. 7 School bus safet y ........ 9 BOSS activities .......... 12 Zydeco fun ............... 17 Weekend weather Today Saturday Sunday 93 90 92 71 0% 40% 50% 72 74 Rain chance Rain chance Rain chance FORT POLK, La. — Spc. Darren Hopes, a hori- zontal construction engineer or “earth mover” with the 687th Engineer Company, 46th Engineer Battalion, is still getting used to his rank — he was private first class last week. But on the 17- month anniversary of his date of enlistment, July 27, Hopes was officially promoted to specialist because he added a Ranger tab to his uniform, a feat few young engineers achieve. “It is unusual for an engineer, especially one so young in his career, to go to Ranger school,” said Command Sgt. Major James Mitchell, 46th Eng Bn command sergeant major. “For a young man to be that focused speaks volumes about what he is going to become in the future.” The promotion is in line with an Army pro- gram that grants automatic promotions to pri- vates that successfully complete Ranger school. “We are doing the promotion today (July 27) in front of the whole battalion. It’s fantastic and we are excited,” said Mitchell. Command Sgt. Maj. David W. Bass, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk com- mand sergeant major, attended the promotion ceremony, demonstrating how important Hopes’ accomplishment is to the installation command group. “I want to point out the significance of this Soldier’s accomplishment,” said Bass. “Not many engineers have a lot of exposure to small unit tactics, which is what Ranger School is all about, but to do it as a private first class — mean- ing he didn’t have a lot of experience in the Army yet — shows that he wants to do better for himself. He stepped out there, took a chance and was successful.” Bass said earning the Ranger tab means Hopes will get more opportunities to lead Soldiers, like- ly in positions of responsibility that exceed his peers. “People will see that tab and know this Soldier has the leadership skills it takes to handle greater responsibility. I’m sure he will be successful in his (future) leadership roles.” Mitchell said Hopes is “extremely mature,” and physically fit — attributes that undoubtedly aided him during his trials at Ranger School. “He is one of the top physical fitness testers in the battalion. He scored more than 340 out of 300 points, so he is above standard scale. He’s not your average young private — he is very fo- cused and highly motivated.” Ranger School is held at Fort Benning, Geor- gia, and is 62 days long. Sometimes Soldiers get “recycled,” which means they have to start the course over, and that was the case for Hopes, ex- tending his time at Fort Benning to 90 days. The setback did not affect his determination to finish. “This opportunity was offered to me, and I thought it was just too good to pass up. Plus, I’m young, and I believed I could do it, and I wasn’t sure I’d get another chance to go,” said Hopes. Master Sgt. Andrew Messick, the only Ranger and Sapper (elite engineer) qualified NCO in the battalion, is Hopes’ former first sergeant. He said he saw something in Hopes that made him sure he was a good fit for Ranger School. “As I was once told by Command Sergeant Major Bass, the (Ranger) tabs on my shoulder stand out like a billboard, and it is my duty to sell the product for the betterment of the Army. I instantly recognized this Soldier’s potential and was fortunate enough to guide him in the right direction so he could stand out from his peers,” said Messick. “I take the military education of my subordinates seriously. I do my best to instill a competitive attitude within my formation, with a heavy emphasis on physical fitness.” Being a newly tabbed Ranger has given Hopes a new sense of purpose, he said. “I feel like I know a lot more now, and with the (Ranger) tab, I feel like I have a purpose to in- still motivation in others,” Hopes said. “Now I want to be the Soldier that others see and think, ‘well, he made it through and was a private, why can’t I do it too?’” Messick said while some Soldiers may still see Hopes as an equal, those with greater aspiration may regard him in another way. “I think those Soldiers who are motivated to achieve great things will most certainly see him as a role mod- el,” he said. Bass said some Soldiers in the Army don’t challenge themselves by doing things like attend- ing Ranger School for fear of failing, but Soldiers like Hopes can serve as an inspiration. “I’m opti- mistic that Hopes’ success will show others that this is an attainable goal, that they can prepare themselves to go to this course,” said Bass. “We need more Soldiers and leaders in our Army to go through this because it teaches you a lot about Fort Polk private earns Ranger tab, gets promoted By JEAN DUBIEL Guardian staff writer Please see Ranger , page 5 COURTESY