We regroup at Pointe Du Hoc and get to sandtable the next progression. The sun is out in full force and the class has to take a knee while some lucky few get to draw out what they see. You would think that taking a knee would be pretty comfortable because you aren’t walking anywhere or carrying heavy shit but you would be wrong. After taking a ton of knees your knees get raw like, well, you know.
Sand table being finished, Cadre Aaron talked to us about how the 2nd Ranger Battalion was walking along looking for shit to do (e.g. shoot mother f ing Nazis and blow shit up) when they come across the guns they were looking to blow up. By all accounts, this made them happy. As we are learning about the field the Rangers ended up taking, a WWII vet (PFC Apple) walks by and talks to us for a little bit. He was happy we had so much interest in this because he said most of those guys weren’t around anymore and a lot of them would be leaving us soon. After that, we walk to some fields and cadre tell us that right where we are standing is where the 2nd Rangers made a stand. They were overrun eventually and made their way back to Pointe Du Hoc and were able to keep the Germans at bay, eventually linking up with 5th Rangers and 116th Infantry Division. Just being in that field was a special moment. You can take tours all you want in Normandy but a GORUCK tour is the best tour.
After that we walk. And walk. And walk. Cadre Montreal is trying to clear the road for us to cross over so he’s waving a Frenchman down to stop but the Frenchman speeds up and lets Montreal know he’s number one. “You’re welcome for your freedom to flip me off.”
Around here is probably one of my more stressful times during the Heavy when I kept swapping in and out on weights and there were a group of like 10 people who weren’t doing shit. Medical issue is one thing but shitty attitude is another. I’ve been guilty of it myself but fuck, carry a bag or push the bike.
(Oh hey we had to push a bike. Apparently a group of soldiers were training to infiltrate by bike. One of our UK teammates’ grandfather was in a unit that rode in on bicycles and kicked some ass while Tour De France-ing. Our bike had a crate on the back that we had to fill with empty plastic water bottles. As a team, we were to all have one extra 1.5L water bottle and then we had like 30 more to carry. We never drank out of them and at one point I went to set them down and the makeshift carrier someone created for it blew up, sending water bottles everywhere. Cadre Dan called us dumb asses and asked why we didn’t drink those water bottles…”uh…?”)
More walking and as cars pass by that wave, I let out a Ranger “AHHH!” or what I interpret it as. Apparently when you’re a Ranger and you hear something you like, you’re supposed to yell “AHHH!” and as a class we suck at it. It sounds like “AWWW” and then transforms to pirate time with “ARRRR”. Anyway, after like 15 AHHHs in a row that shit gets old.
So we get to a memorial and miss the time hack. For our slowness, we get to do pushups and mountain climbers and squats and I can’t do the first two due to a right tricep cramp. As soon as I extend my right arm I get an insta-cramp. If my arm gets anywhere near being locked out I let out some bitch noises. After some PT we head over to a soccer field (pitch?) and get to do some runs the length of the field. Not being good enough, we get promoted to buddy carrying a few people and then the highlight of the field, we get to do “I’m up, he sees me, I’m down” with using our rucks as guns. This is fun because you get to yell “pew pew pew” and shoot all the cadre like a million times but it’s not fun because if you’re not on-line you have to low crawl up to the line. More PT and casualties later, we make our escape and head to another site where we take a cool class pic then head to the water.
We messed something up so Cadre Jason told us we were going to the beach to fill our sandbags up to 100% and do PT with them. LOL yeah sure thing buddy. We died with 50% full sandbags and you want us to go full 100%? You must not have met us yet.
We are about 300 meters from the endex when two of our flag bearers decide to stop giving a shit and wander across the street by themselves. “uh…” and they become instant casualties. We divvy up their load and I get promoted to giant USA flag and we end up “sprinting” to the Ranger Museum. It happens to be open so the class gets to walk in and do a mini tour. In a small part of my mind I think we are finished but I know these dudes like false finishes but there is hope. All the shadows are there to help with transportation and earlier I asked the nice lady what “season it was” when I wanted to ask her the time. Instead of butchering French I found it’s easier to point at where the wristwatch would be. She’s showing me her phone and cadre is walking…whoops
We endex and Jason G., Cadre Jason and I get the Heavy picture we’ve been after for about two years.
Success! Oui oui! Everyone bails because that’s what you do at HCL after a Heavy. We go to a dumb cafe and all I eat is a large omelette and someone’s leftover fries. This would prove to be my downfall later.