Movement from Batt to Group


Designated Hoops Sniper!
Jul 25, 2009
Siaton, Neg. Or.
Hi Guys,

I read this piece from someone who seems to be an "old-timer" and had the privilege of joining both worlds. I have no mil background, and I do not mean to start comparisons -- this is just out of curiousity.

My creation of this thread stems from the single sentence I marked as bold on the last paragraph, but I figured you guys wouldn't probably understand my question if I posted just that line, so I decided to paste his entire post. (Looking at his avatar and his username, I guessing he might also be a member here.)

Now my question is that isn't a career move from Battalion to Group still a "cool thing to do"? I realize the guy is comparing what he saw during his time but how is it now? I do hope I'm making sense here.

If I have strayed out of my lane then I apologize and a mod can lock this thread. Thanks.

In my era (note that I say "era," and not "in my day," because it was a long time ago that I left Bat and went to Group myself), former Bat boys on ODAs were the heat. We were more seasoned, more experienced, and we knew how to soldier. It was almost like you could tell a former Ranger from that era's version of an 18X at a glance.

It was the simple, fundamental stuff. When we went to the bush, we soldiered. No fires, no fucking camp chairs. We observed stand-to, by the numbers. We trained, and we trained to standard, because in Group, we had the liberty to do our own planning. And when I say that we trained to standard, I do not mean the standard in the AR. I mean the real world standard. Our team sergeants in those days were Vietnam veterans.

I mean, what a fucking boon. No canned bullshit from the S-shops. We planned, organized, and coordinated our own training. If a vehicle was not on station, we knew which guy on the team had not followed through and double checked to make it happen. If a range was not ready, we knew who was wrong. Going from Battalion to Group was amazing in those days, because you went from an environment of total discipline to one where discipline was self-imposed, you were given the rope to hang yourself, and if you wanted to make yourself and your Battalion look like shit, you could.

We were hell on that, though. We had the prestige, honor, and high esprit d'corps of our Ranger Battalions to uphold, and even though we were wearing green hats rather than black ones, we never forgot where we came from, and we policed our own.

I have no idea what it is like on an ODA these days. In my era, it was pretty cool. As was stated, the team sergeant set the tone. My team sergeant was a former platoon sergeant in Battalion, who had also served on an ODA in Vietnam. He and I were the lone Bat boys on our ODA, so we were thicker than thieves. The guys on our ODA followed our lead, and we did some great training. Very unconventional, incorporating the best elements of SF and Battalion as they existed in that era. We were competent as hell in the field. Our planning was goddamned good. Our team commanders just leaned back and let us tell them what to do. They kept the company commander off our butts, and they served as a sanity check.

It was a different Army, and a different era.

The head space and timing in Group was radically different from Battalion in those days. I packed on about ten pounds of muscle after I left Battalion, because our deployment schedule was slower, and we had more control over where we went, and when, and we were able to incorporate gym time. We had more control over our diets. We also did a hell of a lot more rucking in Group, which stresses different muscles than running. We were some running motherfuckers in Battalion, and we did not really have time to lift weights so much. There was no gym in the 2d Bat compound at that time, and the "compound," per se, did not exist as it does today. So going to Group was a relief. My body was worn out after four years in Battalion, and I was ready to back off on the running, and to focus more on rucking and on weights. I remember one day I went back to A Co to visit the boys, and I ran into LG in the hallway. He was saying "look at you! Goddamn, Ranger! You got big!" And he did not mean fat.

The admonition to pay attention in class is a good one, though. As I say, Battalion and Group were very different in that era, and I am sure that it is true today, as well. The missions are radically different. One of the primary things that I picked up in Group was the whole "sensitivity to other cultures" aspect. I do not know what is taught in the Q these days, but back in 1984, and then again in 1994 (when I went back as an O), learning to work with HN counterparts was a primary focus.

A pure Ranger line grunt might have some difficulty making the transition, but there was room for all types. If a guy did not have the finesse to evolve into a good 18F, there was no sin in being a great weapons sergeant. In those days, there were guys on ODAs who made SFC, then stayed on their ODA until they retired, or they got poached to run one of the companies. Some guys were not a good fit for team sergeant slots, so some guys did not get them.

I could go on and on and on. These reminiscences are probably not so valuable, if only due to the time that has passed. To sum up, going to Group from Battalion in my era was a very cool thing to do. It was rewarding, it was good for Group, it was good for the Army, and it was very good for the individual Ranger, as long as he could make the transition to the SF mind set.

I am a new guy on SS myself, but I left Bn for Group as those Vietnam era guys were very few. The 180 on my first team had been in 'Nam on an ODA and my Team Sergeant was a support guy in 'Nam.

I will concur that those days were grand. Company Commanders in SF were commanders and not just overpaid team leaders like today (at least like it was when I left my last ODA in '04). The team "planned the dive, and dove the plan" without all the over supervision and micromanagement.

I also agree that coming out of BAT was a plus. When I show up to Group and met my first Co. SGM, I was standing at parade rest, eyes locked forward. He laughed at me and said, "Sit down Ranger, we don't play like that here, but it is good to see you know who's in charge." He gave me pick of my first team since medics were hard to come by at the time...

From today's perspective the Rangers don't like it much when you make the jump, they weren't too thrilled right after Panama either when I left...

Here is how I would put it. The Rangers are and always will be the premier light infantry strike force in the world. SF is a different mission. You get more autonomy to think outside the box and be creative (the micromanagement increased everywhere).

Bottomline, if you want to do something different and expand your capabilities outside the infantry arena, then go to SFAS. You won't regret it, even in your era...
I got quite a few bat boys on my team. My warrant and Sr. Medic came from 2/75 and my Jr. Bravo came from 1/75. All three are solid performers.

To me it doesn't matter where a guy comes from. The question is can he do his job to the best of his ability and can he pull the trigger when needed. That's what counts. I've seen Bat boys who come to SF and become Dirt bags and I've seen SF guys who become dirt bags. I rather have 10 solid guys then baby sit some drama queen.
I was in Regt from 97-02. While I was there, going from Batt to SF was not necessarily the “cool thing to do.” When someone stated they wanted to go to group, they were usually just asked, “Why???” It was not always viewed as a step up, but instead a lateral move.

I knew more guys who went to the other selection than went to SF selection.

I did know some good Rangers that went to SF. I also knew quite a few Rangers who went to SF selection because they couldn’t pass, or didn’t want to go to, Ranger School. These probably didn’t make through selection anyway, or were kicked out of group later on.
never been to Bat but just a quick story.. back in 97 when I went to SFAS I was one of like 10 support guys there and there was like 100 Rangers and a few from Bat there.. well by the end of the 2nd week there was like 5 support guys left and I have no idea how many rangers left.. but I did see alot of Tabbed Rangers fall to the wayside during team week. Only 3 Bat guys left, I think 1 got hurt and the other 2 quit. The morale of the story is this.. you have dirt bags everywhere..
But when I was with 5th back then there was a few Bat guys there. And I learned alot from them.