Aside from being one of the most lethal and effective special operations units in the world, the 75th Ranger Regiment has some extraordinary chaplains and religious affairs specialists.
Part of the Ranger Unit Ministry Teams (UMTs), these chaplains and specialists assist senior commanders with morale and provide religious and informal psychological support to Rangers.
That support can come in the form of confessions, counseling, or group activities. For example, last summer, when the Coronavirus pandemic was even more dangerous than it is today, the Rangers’ UMT organized and led several one-day retreats for over 100 Rangers as a way to decompress.
But to be an effective team, Ranger Chaplains and religious specialists must also train and bond together.
Recently, the 75th Ranger Regiment’s UMT conducted a three-day training event that offers a glimpse inside the life of these unique commandos. The training included pastoral skills, community revitalization, understanding generational shifts, operational religious support planning, crisis ministry, and self-care.
“This training is vital to our ability to minister to our formation. There are generational gaps between senior leaders from Generation X, millennial leaders, and young Rangers from Generation Z,” Staff Sergeant Jared Engel, the 75th Ranger Regiment Regimental Religious Affairs non-commissioned officer, said in a press release. “We have to understand our people and their needs, in order to advise our commands and provide the best possible ministry.”
The 75th Ranger Regiment is the world’s premier light infantry special operations unit. It’s one of the few units in the entire U.S. military to have been continuously deployed since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Rangers have been continuously overseas in active operations for over 7,000 days.
“Being a Religious Affairs Specialist with the 75th Ranger Regiment has provided me with rewarding experiences I never could have imagined, and training like this is one of them,” Sergeant Tyler Geurkink, the Religious Affairs NCO at 3rd Ranger Battalion, said. “Whether its environmental training, mountaineering in the cascades, engaging in graduate level discussion with university faculty members, or throwing on night vision goggles to sharpen our skills in casualty care, this is the kind of event that equips us for the future, and brings the team together.”
The Ranger UMT also did some tactical training, operational planning, and casualty ministry—perhaps one of the more difficult aspects of the job, notifying next of kin about their beloved’s death.
“The 75th Ranger Regiment is ultimately in the people business, and our Chaplains and Religious Affairs Specialists are at the heart of that effort,” Colonel Todd S. Brown, the commanding officer of the 75th Ranger Regiment, said. “Taking care of our force and Families can take a toll, and training like this helps us better care for the caregiver.”
Specializing in direct action missions and airfield seizures, the 75th Range Regiment is comprised of a headquarters, three infantry battalions (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), a Military Intelligence Battalion, and Special Troops Battalion.
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