Altus AFB Airman graduates U.S. Army Ranger School
By Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos, 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 21, 2014
ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. - -- United States Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Maloney, 97th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, whose mission is to protect, defend and fight to enable joint, Air Force and coalition missions, was selected to attend the U.S. Army Ranger School in Ft. Benning, Ga.
Maloney wants to become an Air Force combat controller and attending Ranger School gave him an idea of what he would possibly be doing.
"I have been trying to retrain to combat controller and my leadership knew this," said Maloney. "An Air Force pre-ranger course dropped and my chief encouraged me to attend because I met the perquisites as well as their knowledge of me wanting to retrain into CCT."
The pre-ranger course was held at Creech AFB, Nev., starting with a class size of 32 students and finishing with only seven students that were permitted to continue.
"I received a "go" and finished in the top three percent of class and my name was put on a list to attend Ranger School if a slot opened up," said Maloney.
Once he returned from a deployment, Maloney began his 61 day Ranger School journey. The course consists of three phases, Darby at Ft. Benning, Ga., Mountains at Dehlonega, Ga. and Swamp at Eglin AFB, Fla.
"Some of the things we learned were squad-combat operations, but mostly platoon combat operations," said Maloney. "In mountain phase, we learned basic mountaineering skills such as knot tying, repelling, mountain climbing and how to operate in a mountainous environment. In the Florida phase, we learned small boat operations, stream crossings and skills to operate in a swamp or rainforest."
The students are constantly being pushed to their physical and mental limits throughout the entire course.
"There was no easy day during this course, physically or mentally. Overall, throughout the course we rucked over 200 miles with anywhere from 80-130 pounds in our rucks depending on the day," said Maloney. "We did all this on a max of 2,200 calories a day and, at most, three hours of sleep a night, usually less and sometimes we didn't sleep at all."
"Being able to operate when you are the most tired, cold, and hungry you have ever been in your life was all mental," said Maloney. "They want to challenge you and putting you under the stress of all the elements and seeing the decisions you make dictate how you will perform under actual combat stress as a leader."
Only 260 U.S. Air Force Airmen have graduated the U.S. Army Ranger School.
"Being able to attend this course was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and a really great learning opportunity not only as a leader, but also learning combat operations," said Maloney. "The new skills I have learned will definitely affect the way I accomplish my mission. I am now very knowledgeable on squad and platoon operations in multiple environments. I love what I have learned and would enjoy teaching it to other people in my squadron or other units. Not many people are going to receive the type of training I have, to the extent I have, so being able to share that knowledge with others is gratifying in itself."