After hearing various mental and physical challenges Sean faced while at RASP, Sasha asks what motivated him through it.
“I’m a very stubborn person and I don’t like to quit. I can accomplish a lot of things if I focus and I know I have the talent to do most things. I’m a lazy person but if something challenges me, I’ll do it,” he shares with her.
Not yet knowing anything about the additional training he had to go through once becoming a Ranger, his deployment, his injury, or his recovery, “lazy” was still not the term anyone in the room would use to describe Sean. Yet we all could sense the change and pride Sean had in his experience becoming a Ranger.
Thus, through incredible perseverance and determination, Sean passed and qualified to join the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as a Forward Observer (FO) where he would go onto participate in special operations and missions during a 2012 deployment to Afghanistan.
“To minimize our risks, we only go out at night,” he explains to Sasha. He shows her the Rangers’ distinctive unit insignia (DUI), the Rangers’ emblem that is in the shape of a shield that bares the symbols of a sun, lightning bolt, and star.
“We go after high-valued targets. They pretty much compile a list of the main leaders and weapon manufacturers. We go directly after the people of power who are committing the crimes; the people who are confirmed terrorists. They would be sleeping and wouldn’t see us. We had night-vision goggles and when you wear them, you don’t have depth-perception. You walk into things that you thought were five-feet away and the ones I worked with didn’t have perisperhal vision,” Sean says as he grins. He goes onto explain the intention of his missions, “It was aggravating, to risk our safety and lives to bring him in safely for him to be put on trail, to get more information out of him, and ultimately for his president to bail him out. He’d be back on the streets after a few months.”
Yet, no matter how frustrating internally, you do not show it as a Ranger and complete your missions. As a FO, Sean was in charge of aircraft. “On a typical night, I would have three to five planes on man-drones to look at certain parts off the village and look at our route. Then I would get on the radio and tell them to look at certain parts of the village. I would have two teams of apache helicopters. I had an important job because I was communicating between aircrafts and anyone on the ground. I was the middleman. In my headphones the left ear would be aircraft and the right [ear] would be squad leaders on the ground.”
He went on of the environment and climate of the dangerous Ghanzi Province in Afghanistan, “The altitude change there sucked. The elevation was almost eight-thousand feet. You run out of breath after just walking in a straight line.” He shook his head. Sasha maintained eye contact as she wrote notes, intently listening.
“My group, we had the most action out of anyone there.”