Nick Irving: An Army Ranger NEVER Gives Up - The History Reader (2023)

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Posted on January 15, 2015
by Nick Irving

Immediately after graduating high school, I was sent to Ft. Benning to attend US Army Basic training under the Option 40 contract (US Army Ranger Contract). Before enlisting into the Army, my life long goal was to become a Navy SEAL sniper. My childhood revolved around this dream and joined the Navy Sea Cadet program where they allowed me to go through the baby SEAL program. I was Scuba (Padi) licensed at the age of 16, and could pass the Navy SEAL PT test. As time came near, I went to MEPS, and the medical in processing portion before shipping off to the Navy for basic. The lifelong dream ended fairly quickly for me after the color vision portion of the in processing. It was evident that I was color blind (Red/Green). The only number I could see in the Ishihara test was the one you aren’t supposed to see. Every other page in the book was a mystery to me. A sympathetic nurse next door heard the issue and peaked her head in and waved me to her section. She asked me if I wanted to join the Army and “re-take” the test. While taking the Ishihara test, the nurse traced her finger along the numbers in the book allowing me to call them out. Color vision test passed!

My new contract had the guarantee to try out for the 75th Ranger Regiment. Option 40. I had no idea what a Ranger was at the time, other than seeing the movie Black Hawk Down. The Army informed me that Rangers were just like SEALs, except they don’t swim as much and they were Special Operations. As long as they were Special Operations, it was fine with me and wanted nothing more.

(Video) EP.# 44: Nick Irving – “The Reaper” – One of the Most Deadly Ranger Snipers in History

There is a BIG misconception that a Ranger is a Ranger. “I have a Ranger Tab, I’m a Ranger!” Negative! You are Ranger qualified. Not saying that those who graduate Ranger School shouldn’t be proud of their accomplishment, it’s a tough school. That being said, it is just a school. It’s a 62 day leadership school broken up into three phases, Darby, Mountain, and Swamp. The Army, Navy SEALs, Marines, etc., are all allowed to attend this school. The SEAL’s who attend are not Navy SEAL Rangers, they are SEAL’s.

Ranger Battalion is an entirely different entity and in no way is “like Ranger School”. Ranger Battalion is a Special Operations, all male unit, and has been deployed in support of the GWOT since October 2001 (RRD was in Afghanistan only a few weeks after the attacks), continuously,4778 days. The 75th Ranger Regiment has also killed/captured more HVT/enemy than any other Special Operations unit or regular unit in the US military. The 75th may deploy for only 90-120 days at a time, but the operational tempo is extremely high. My deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, we would average 100+ special operation missions over the course of 90 days. A better look at the op tempo, 1st Ranger Battalion conducted more than 900 missions in Afghanistan in one deployment: the battalion successfully captured nearly 1,700 enemy combatants (386 high-value targets) and killed more than 400. The exact opposite of Ranger School. The only way to join the ranks of 75th Ranger Regiment, you must attend the RASP selection. From there, you are granted the right to wear the Ranger scroll. Your selection doesn’t end at this point, at any given time, you may be released from the Battalion failing to meet the standards. During your time in Ranger Battalion, it is your duty to attend Ranger School as well and earn the ranger tab.

(Video) EP.# 98: Nick Irving – “The Reaper” – One of the most deadly Ranger snipers in history

My time in Ranger Battalion was by far one of the best experiences in my life. I had the honor to serve with a group of men that I look up to and view as my heroes. Absolutely great men! A life changing experience for me came on a 5 day recon mission I was apart of in 2009 Afghanistan. This mission changed my life in many ways, but if it weren’t for my brothers, I wouldn’t be hear today. I owe these men everything.

Nick Irving: An Army Ranger NEVER Gives Up - The History Reader (1)

(Video) Episode 6: The Reaper | American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories Podcast | PBS

This is a picture that I’ve held onto for personal reasons and will continue to hold onto many more. Whenever things seemed to be a little tough, I would refer back to my time in service as a Ranger, and especially the moment this picture was taken.

This picture was captured immediately after my recon/sniper team of 6 men was pinned down for a few hours against an enemy sniper and surrounded in a 360 ambush. At this moment I’m telling my spotter to “go high” and get ready to work. Three of our men shot, 1 was only a couple of feet away from me and another inches away. Close enough to hear the round impact his upper chest and feel the warm spray of blood smack my face while pinned down in a small ravine during a nearby ambush. The water soaked uniforms me and my spotter are seen in in this photo, isn’t just water, it’s also mixed with the blood of two of our men, one who ultimately died of wounds, and is currently recovering in a place we cannot see ( Cpl. Ben Kopp). We all fought hard that day. The majority of the guys had bullet holes in their uniform.

(Video) Worlds DEADLIEST Sniper Or A FRAUD?

I dream every night and think every day what else I could have done to change the outcome on my end. Call it survivors guilt or whatever, but it’s something….something that I consciously choose to take with me until it’s my time to recover under the dirt.I frequently dream at night telling my spotter, “P…I got less than a mag.” and him informing me that he had to pick and choose targets with less than 10 rounds of .300 Win Mag left. I can still feel his fist bump with me when we thought we were done as we popped smoke and proceeded to bound back to a rescue element from the small hole we were in and backs against the incoming fire and him simply saying, “Let’s do it bro!”

Those are the moments I look back onto when things don’t go as planned, I feel stressed out, etc. The mindset we all had on that day. “Sure, things sucked, we hadn’t slept in 5 days, little food, guys are dying and being shot, yes I’m scarred, I’ve made peace with whatever happens, and yes we’re surrounded. But a Ranger NEVER gives up until his last breath. After his last breath, he sucks one more from his enemy. No matter how bad things are. Take the situation for what it is at the moment, adjust, adapt and overcome. It could always be worse.

(Video) 002 Nick “The Reaper” Irving

NICK IRVING spent six years in the Army’s Special Operations 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, serving from demolitions assaulter to Master Sniper. He was the first African American to serve as a sniper in his battalion and is now the owner of HardShoot, where he trains personnel in the art of long-range shooting, from olympians to members of the Spec Ops community. He lives in San Antonio, Texas. His latest book is The Reaper

Tags: 3rd ranger battalion, 75th ranger regiment, Afghanistan, army ranger, gwot, hardshoot, master sniper, nick irving, ranger school, rasp, sniper, special operations, the reaper

FAQs

Is Nick Irving colorblind? ›

He thought he had come prepared. IRVING: The test that I did not prepare for, I don't think anybody could prepare for was the color vision test. And I didn't know I was colorblind. Still have the test to this day.

Can Army Rangers be color blind? ›

Generally, you can be partially color blind and work in many ground combat-related Army jobs, but youmust be able to distinguish between red and green. The Army's MOS 11X Infantryman-type jobs allow you to be partially color blind if you can distinguish between red and green.

How many years did Nicholas Irving serve? ›

But the book is much more earnest than that. Irving, who served as a direct-action sniper with 3rd Ranger Battalion, saw too much combat during his six years in uniform to give his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan the Rambo treatment.

How old are Army Rangers? ›

Interestingly enough, the average age of army rangers is 20-30 years old, which represents 70% of the population.

Who is the best sniper in the world? ›

Military snipers
NameLivedConfirmed sniper kills
Gary Scott1948-2018N/A
Carlos Hathcock1942–199993
Dejan Berić2014-presentN/A
Simo Häyhä1905–2002505–542
59 more rows

Who is the deadliest sniper in American history? ›

Known as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who served during the Iraq War, has become renowned as the American Sniper. Chris Kyle was born in 1974 in Odessa, Texas.

Can you be an Army Ranger If you wear glasses? ›

Yes, it is acceptable to wear glasses when you are in the military. However, like everything else to do with being a member of the armed forces, the military sunglasses you are allowed to wear are decided by the military and any variation from this acceptable list is considered breaking uniform.

What color beret do Army Rangers wear? ›

The distinctive headgear of the 75th Ranger Regiment is the tan beret. The beret is a mark of distinction that brands the wearer as a proven warrior. The tan color is reminiscent of the leather caps worn by the original rangers of American heritage and lore.

What night vision do Rangers use? ›

The Rangers are wearing woodland Multicam BDUs and AN/PVS-15 night vision goggles mounted on their helmets. The foremost Ranger's M4a1 carbine is fitted with a M320 40mm grenade launcher.

What's the farthest a sniper can shoot? ›

Confirmed kills 1,250 m (1,370 yd) or greater
RankSniperDistance
1JTF-2 sniper (name withheld)3,540 m (3,871 yd)
22 Cdo Rgmt sniper (name withheld)2,815 m (3,079 yd)
3Ukrainian National Guard sniper (name withheld)2,710 m (2,964 yd)
4Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison2,475 m (2,707 yd)
17 more rows

How much does an airborne ranger get paid? ›

Average Salary for an Army Ranger

Army Rangers in America make an average salary of $43,087 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $74,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year. What Am I Worth?

Are Army Rangers snipers? ›

Every branch of the military uses snipers in some capacity. The SEALs, CCT, and Army Rangers all have sniper elements in their units. And although they all have their respective sniper schools, there is one school that stands out -- the United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper School.

How do Army Rangers greet each other? ›

The United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard use hooyah. The phrase originated with the U.S. Army Rangers and in the early 1980s was considered a trait of Ranger battalions, spreading locally through Fort Lewis, Washington and Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the three Ranger battalions at the time.

How hard is it to join the Army Rangers? ›

To become a Ranger is no easy task. You have to go through grueling training to ensure you have the mental toughness, physical fitness, moral character, and motivation to endure the challenges you'll face in the field.

What's the oldest you can be to be an Army Ranger? ›

Who Is Eligible to Apply? Army Ranger candidates must be U.S. citizens who are 17 to 34 years old. They must be Army volunteers who pass written tests with a minimum required score and who qualify for airborne training.

Who is the deadliest soldier in history? ›

Häyhä estimated in his private war memoir that he shot around 500 enemy soldiers. The memoir, titled Sotamuistoja (War memoirs), was written in 1940, a few months after he was wounded, and described his experiences in the Winter War from 30 November 1939 to 13 March 1940.

Who is the deadliest female sniper in history? ›

Born in present-day Ukraine in 1916, Lyudmila Pavlichenko fought for the Red Army during WW2 and became the deadliest female sniper in history. Known as 'Lady Death', her name struck fear into the hearts of German soldiers.

What country has the best snipers? ›

DVIDS - News - Greece Wins European Best Sniper Team Competition 2022 in Hohenfels, Germany.

What is the most feared sniper rifle? ›

Three Deadliest Sniper Rifles in the United States Military
  • Barrett M82. The Barrett story has a rather strange and unique origin story. ...
  • M40. The M40 has been the mainstay of Marine Corps sniper teams since it made its combat debut in the mid-1960s during the Vietnam war. ...
  • Barrett MRAD.
27 Mar 2021

What sniper has the most confirmed kills in history? ›

Charles Benjamin "Chuck" Mawhinney (born 1949) is a United States Marine who holds the Corps' record for the most confirmed sniper kills, having recorded 103 confirmed kills and 216 probable kills in 16 months during the Vietnam War.

Are there any female snipers? ›

Long-range precision shooters may be interested to hear the U.S. Army recently announced the successful graduation on November 5, 2021 of its first female soldier from the U.S. Army Sniper Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

How elite are Army Rangers? ›

Army Rangers are an elite light infantry unit.

They are a large scale force that is typically involved in joint special operations raids, airborne assaults, reconnaissance missions, and search and rescue.

Are Army Rangers considered special forces? ›

Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has its own elite forces in addition to their regular enlisted units. The Army's Special Operations units include the Rangers, the Green Berets and the Night Stalkers. Here's what Army soldiers can expect from a career as a member of one of these special forces units.

Which Ranger Battalion is the best? ›

The 75th Ranger Regiment is the U.S. Army's premier large-scale special operations force, and it is made up of some of the most elite Soldiers in the world.

What does a GREY beret mean? ›

With their storm-colored (grey) berets and nearly two years of required specialized training, the Air Force's Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT) are the commando forecasters for the Department of Defense.

What does a Brown beret mean? ›

According to an official U.S. Army article, "SFAB soldiers will be on the ground with their partners - fighting side-by-side with them in all conditions, so the brown beret symbolizes dirt or mud akin to the 'muddy boots' moniker given to leaders who are always out with the troops."

What are Army Night Stalkers? ›

Known as the Night Stalkers, these Soldiers are recognized for their proficiency in nighttime operations. Their mission is to organize, equip, train, resource, and employ Army special operations aviation forces worldwide in support of contingency missions and combatant commanders.

How much sleep do Army Rangers get? ›

Sleep During Training

U.S. Military Academy cadets sleep fewer than five hours during the week and are woken up several times during the night for training. Even on the weekends, when they're encouraged to sleep more, they still get fewer than seven hours. Those in Ranger School only get around three hours per night.

What armor do Rangers wear? ›

Ranger Body Armor (RBA) is a U.S. military-issue ballistic vest that was designed for, and used chiefly by, Soldiers of the United States Army 75th Ranger Regiment ("Rangers") in the 1990s and 2000s.

Can a civilian own night vision? ›

A: Yes, here in the United States, U.S. Persons (Citizens, or Permanent U.S. Residents) may own and use Night Vision and Thermal Optics. However, it is against the law to take these devices out of the country, unless specifically approved by the U.S. State Department with proper licensing.

What caliber shoots the farthest? ›

1. .

223 Remington or 5.56 NATO is more than capable of shooting over 500 yards with accuracy. . 223 Wylde chambered 20” barreled rifle. With the popularity of this cartridge due to America's favorite rifle, the AR15, more and more people are stretching out its legs.

How long can a sniper stay up? ›

Hotch: A sniper can wait up to 72 hours without sleeping. Mays: Seriously? Rossi: That's part of their training. They can stay awake for 72 hours and remain completely focused on their target.

What's the longest shot with a rifle? ›

A team of long-range shooting experts in Wyoming set what appears to be the new world record for the longest rifle shot ever completed: 7,774 yards or 4.4 miles. Scott Austin and Shepard Humphries led the team from Nomad Rifleman, a shooting range and instruction center based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

How tall is the average Army Ranger? ›

According to the Army's Special Operations Command, the average height and weight of an Army Ranger are 69 inches and 174 pounds.

What's the highest paying job in the military? ›

Highest-paying Military Career Jobs
  • Aircraft Launch and Recovery Officers. ...
  • Armored Assault Vehicle Officers. ...
  • Artillery and Missile Officers. ...
  • Command and Control Center Officers. ...
  • Infantry Officers. ...
  • Special Forces Officers. ...
  • Military Officer Special and Tactical Operations Leaders. ...
  • Medical, Pharmacy, and Dental Services.

Do Rangers get special duty pay? ›

Soldiers previously not eligible but now eligible for SDAP are those serving as Rangers, E-5 and above (SD-2 or SD-4, the higher band serving with 75th Rangers); Ranger or Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader Course instructors (SD-2); and nominative sergeants major rated by general officers or senior executive ...

What knife is issued to Army Rangers? ›

The Trench Knife M3 has been developed to fill the need in modern warfare for hand-to-hand fighting. While designated for issue to soldiers not armed with the bayonet, it was especially designed for such shock units as parachute troops and rangers.

Do Rangers carry pistols? ›

The latest and greatest from the Regiment is that Rangers are rolling with the 7.62 variant of the SCAR operationally and continue to rely on the M4 when 5.56 is preferred. The M9 Beretta pistol is essentially the military version of the civilian 92F.

Are Rangers an elite unit? ›

While the Ranger Regiment has traditionally been considered an elite light infantry force, its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 to 2012 demonstrated its ability to conduct a full range of special operations missions.

How can you tell if someone was an Army Ranger? ›

Verification of Military Service

Please use the Defense Manpower Data Center's (DMDC) Military Verification service to verify if someone is in the military. The website will tell you if the person is currently serving in the military. The site is available 24-hours a day.

Why do Rangers say Hooah? ›

It's said the expression started as "How d'ye do!” with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in the Second Seminole War. A more current interpretation is Hooah represents an acronym “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.”

What is the motto of Ranger? ›

The motto "Rangers Lead the Way" has proven true for more than 60 years. Since the first group of handpicked volunteers was activated in World War II, Rangers have led the way on more than 50 military campaigns, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Are Rangers tougher than Marines? ›

Army Rangers go through much more of an in depth and grueling training process than that of your average Marine, such as SERE, Pathfinder, Air Assault, Airborne, and so forth. In order to join this elite fighting force, you must volunteer for the Rangers and complete airborne training.

Do Rangers see a lot of combat? ›

Expect to see combat and see it often, but also expect the unexpected.

Do Army Ranger get paid more? ›

The average Army Rangers in the US makes $74,714. Army Rangers make the most in San Francisco, CA at $112,827, averaging total compensation 51% greater than the US average.

How much does a retired Army Ranger make? ›

$92,907. The estimated total pay for a Retired at US Army is $92,907 per year.

Can you join the army at 60? ›

The maximum age to join the Army as an enlisted Soldier is 35, while Officers must accept their commission before age 31. However, the Army can lift some restrictions based on the need for certain roles to be filled. It's possible to receive an age waiver if you retire with 20 years of military service by age 55.

How much does it cost to train an Army Ranger? ›

It costs between $55,000 to $74,000 to send a recruit through training, depending on if they attend one-station unit training or a combination of basic combat training and advanced individual training. McGurk said his center uses $50,000 as a general figure for a trainee who fails to complete the training.

Which famous painter was color blind? ›

Claude Monet also had cataracts, eventually losing his ability to tell colors apart. And the 19th-century artist Charles Meryon, who was famous for his etchings of Paris, was colorblind. You might have heard the theory that Vincent van Gogh was colorblind — that one's actually not true.

Which artists were color blind? ›

Some famous artists such as Constable, Picasso and Van Gogh are thought to have been colour blind and yet were very successful.

Who was the first colorblind person? ›

Abstract. John Dalton described his own color blindness in 1794. In common with his brother, he confused scarlet with green and pink with blue. Dalton supposed that his vitreous humor was tinted blue, selectively absorbing longer wavelengths.

Is Keanu Reeves colorblind? ›

Keanu Reeves has stated in interviews that he might be colorblind.

Why did Monet go blind? ›

He developed cataracts and, painfully, slowly, began going blind. He admitted to friends that he would likely have to quit painting soon, and the thought crushed him: for Monet, life without painting was no life at all. There was one hope, however—surgery to remove the cataracts.

What is the weakest color blind? ›

Achromatopsia is extremely rare, occuring only in approximately 1 person in 33,000 and its symptoms can make life very difficult. Usually someone with achromatopsia will need to wear dark glasses inside in normal light conditions.

What color can most colorblind people not see? ›

There are different types of colour blindness and in extremely rare cases people are unable to see any colour at all, but most colour blind people are unable to fully 'see' red, green or blue light.

What color eyes are more likely to be colorblind? ›

Red–green color blindness is the most common form, followed by blue–yellow color blindness and total color blindness.
...
Color blindness
SymptomsDecreased ability to see colors
DurationLong term
CausesGenetic (inherited usually X-linked)
Diagnostic methodIshihara color test
5 more rows

What do colorblind people see black? ›

Achromatopsia is also known as “complete color blindness” and is the only type that fully lives up to the term “color blind”. It is extremely rare, however, those who have achromatopsia only see the world in shades of grey, black and white.

How rare is being fully colorblind? ›

Frequency. Achromatopsia affects an estimated 1 in 30,000 people worldwide. Complete achromatopsia is more common than incomplete achromatopsia. Complete achromatopsia occurs frequently among Pingelapese islanders, who live on one of the Eastern Caroline Islands of Micronesia.

Is being colorblind rare? ›

The most common form of color blindness is red-green color blindness. With this condition, the gene is passed from the parent to the child on the X chromosome. Globally, 1 in 12 males and 1 in 200 females are colorblind. Current research states that color blindness affects roughly 8 percent of Caucasian males.

Is colorblind from Mom or Dad? ›

Males have only 1 X chromosome, from their mother. If that X chromosome has the gene for red-green color blindness (instead of a normal X chromosome), they will have red-green color blindness. Females have 2 X chromosomes, one from their mother and one from their father.

Did humans used to be colorblind? ›

By around 30 million years ago, our ancestors had evolved four classes of opsin genes, giving them the ability to see the full-color spectrum of visible light, except for UV. "Gorillas and chimpanzees have human color vision," Yokoyama says.

Is Mark Zuckerberg a color blind? ›

According to The New Yorker, Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, which means the color he can see best is blue.

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