Magazine article Newsweek

Tomorrow's Fire Fight: In the Bunker, as the Army's Elite Braces for a New Enemy

Magazine article Newsweek

Tomorrow's Fire Fight: In the Bunker, as the Army's Elite Braces for a New Enemy

Article excerpt

It's hard to know what the most difficult part of the exercise was: parachuting into the trees in the dark of night, or coping with the anxious State Department official who wouldn't leave the besieged embassy without his pet dog. The 135 men of Charlie Company, part of the Army's elite Ranger regiment, have to learn how to handle more than fire fights to prepare for the chaotic battlefields of the future--where civilians will be hard to tell from combatants and the booby traps may include TV cameras. A NEWSWEEK reporter and an MSNBC camera team tagged along on Operation Savage Strike, a training exercise that simulated the sort of real-life action the Rangers will face in future hot spots. The stresses are real, if much different in nature from the tests faced by the Rangers in their brave and bloody combat history.

The Rangers--who scaled the heights of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day under murderous German fire--get more live-fire training than any other Army unit. But the 2,200 men of today's Rangers must learn to exercise good judgment and self-restraint as well. "The battlefield today is a lot more difficult," explained Col. P. K. Keen, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment. "[Rangers] have to have more discipline. When they go in to clear a room, they have to make a split-second decision on whether to pull the trigger or not."

Keen, 48, likes his training hands-on. Daubed in camouflage paint, he spent the sleepless 80-hour exercise making life miserably unpredictable for Charlie Company. As it fought its way through the African jungle (actually, a forest in southern Virginia) the company was ambushed by rebel groups (played by Marines). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.