Thursday, June 2, 2011

FOMC Week 3 - A Day in the Life of a ProRanger

This week has been filled with adventure. I did not work Memorial Day but we had a surprise visit from the notorious, Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin and her family stopped at Fort Mchenry for about thirty minutes as a part of their mysterious One Nation Tour. Not only did she arrive, but the media piled in right behind her. Despite the huge crowd that formed all around her family, the interpreters managed to illuminate the history behind the historical monument.

Tuesday I worked in interpretation. I easily got acquainted with the front desk of the Visitor Center and greeted visitors as they arrived. The following day I received UTV training as well as spent the day at the Fort Meade gun range. I observed the seasonal rangers shoot pistols, rifles, and shot guns. Our skillful instructor said something that is forever etched into my mind. The instructor began by stating that most people believe their best for of protection is the weapon they keep in the holster on their hip; however, he pointed out that they are mistaken. Our biggest weapon is our mouth- it can get us into and out of trouble. He also said that our smartest weapon is our brain. If we use both these together we can both control the situation and keep the situation at a controllable level, which can help prevent physical altercations. Our instructor also taught us very valuable things about trusting our equipment. He let the other rangers shoot a a 20 year old ballistics vest at close range to prove its effectiveness. Even after 20 years it still does its job. Even at close range, the vest stopped every bullet that penetrated it. He then cut a hole in the fabric of the vest and fished out the bullets to show what happens to the bullet. It was amazing to see the bullets bent and smashed from the impact of the vest. This drill allowed me to gain trust in the bullet proof vests, as well as acted as proof to why it is so imperative for rangers to wear their vests at all times. It really will save your life.

Today, I spent the day down in Prince Williams National Forest with 7 other ProRangers. It was a day filled with sweat and laughter. We did field day training and the pack test so that we can obtain our Red Cards. Everyone was successful today and passed the pack test! The training was very informative as well as so much fun! We dug a fire line, learned all the terms for the tools, learned how to assemble the fire hoses, learned how to safely and successfully deploy our fire shelter, and most importantly, had the chance to wet each other with the hoses! It was such a great experience and I hope to do more group activities with the other ProRangers!

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