The swamps of Florida. A random reptiles class, a greuling 11 day FTX, being soaking wet 95% and a rucksack so full there's hardly room to fit your MREs. There doesn't seem to be anything like Phase 3 of Ranger School.
My husband made me feel the love when he told me that by this phase, "you don't talk much about family or your life back home. You talk about food all the time - things we were going to eat, restaurants we were going to visit. The guys came up with this idea for a modified s'mores, made with a Reeses peanut butter cup instead of a Hershey bar!" Wife, shmife. Pass the junk food!
He also told me quite a few interesting stories about going to the bathroom within a patrol base, holding onto a tree while an OPORD is being briefed six feet away from you. But I'll save the details for your Ranger to share with you! Lucky girl...
Calls started around 8PM on the Sunday after the final FTX. My two minute phone call came at 10:38PM. He had only been given one patrol during the 11 day FTX. He got his GO. My husband was getting his Ranger tab, and we were done with Ranger School forever! He hung up quickly, so that everyone else in line could make their calls. But he said he could call back the next day with more details about the passes and graduation.
My Ranger Buddy and I went all out on (read: threw together) the final package of Ranger School. I did bake my now-famous funfetti cookies, which I knew would be a hit. I also included pepperoni, ritz crackers, peanut butter, candy bars, Gatorade, Starbucks Frappucinos and a bottle of water (which Andy made fun of me for, but I thought, after 57 days of canteen, clean water might be refreshing).
We sent our packages out the Wednesday before the final weekend of Ranger School. We got tipped off, by another RS wife, that you can print postage for flat rate boxes at your home and leave them out for your postman to pick up (as if he didn't take enough mail for me already). I didn't have to wait at the sweaty post office, and I'd get a discount for staying home? Too easy. I printed our labels and set them outside my door with a bag of candy (it was Halloween!) and a note of thanks for my postman. They arrived in Florida on Friday, with plenty of time to spare.
The guys received their packages on the final Monday of the phase at 12:30AM, the night before taking the bus back to Fort Benning. They had as long as they wanted to eat them. My husband was pounding his cookies while on the phone with me and often would go silent on the other end of the phone. "Honey are you still there?" 'Yeah. Sorry. I was just shaking the crumbs from the bag into my mouth. DON'T JUDGE ME!' What he didn't stay up to eat that night, he finished on the bus the next morning. He ate every single thing in that package. Nothing was leftover. This should have clued me in to the appetite he'd come home with, but nothing could have prepared me...
I only received one letter from the mountains, on the Wednesday of grad week. Andy had written it and sent it out before the FTX, and I read it with him sitting next to me on his pass.
He wanted to make sure future rangers know that the mailbox at the base was a mysterious thing. It looked real and legit, but really it was a black hole. If you wanted your mail to actually get picked up and sent out in a timely manner, you were better off handing it to one of the servers in the DFAC.
Also, Andrew didn't receive any of my letters until after they had returned from the FTX, on Monday. Good thing I took a break from writing every day during this phase, since it didn't matter anyway...
None of it ends up mattering once he gets his GO!
Any secrets for surviving the swamps?