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2nd Lt. Matthew Grange made history Friday when he graduated from Class 1-13 of Ranger School.
Not only did he join the ranks of Soldiers who can call themselves Ranger, he became the most recent of many men in the Grange Family to earn that honor. Matthews father, retired Brig. Gen. David L. Grange, and grandfather, retired Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr., are both Ranger Hall of Fame inductees. David L. Grange commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment from 1991 to 1993. David E. Grange served as director of the Ranger Department, predecessor to the Ranger Training Brigade, and commanded the U.S. Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning. The annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition is named in his honor. Several other Grange relatives also earned Ranger tabs.
Matthews maternal grandfather, retired Brig. Gen. Charles Getz, is also a Ranger Hall of Fame inductee. He is a former commander of the Florida Ranger Camp, now known as the 6th Ranger Training Battalion. Getz and both elder Granges attended Matthews graduation ceremony Friday.
Ive got some big shoes to fill, but this is the first step in getting there, Matthew said. Getting my Ranger Tab is something Ive always dreamed of. It feels surreal to actually be here. It feels amazing.
Matthew graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in June, where he majored in defense and strategic studies. He said his father and grandfathers played a large role in inspiring him to join the Army and become a Ranger.
They never put pressure on me, but growing up and seeing the respect theyve gotten Ive always wanted to be like them, Matthew said.
Earning his Ranger Tab has already brought him closer to his father and grandfathers by allowing him to better relate to them, Matthew said.
I know theyd be proud of me regardless, but just telling stories with them about Ranger School the last few days Ive been on leave, theres a bond there, he said.
David L. Grange expressed a similar sentiment.
It makes me feel wonderful that hes maintaining the Family legacy, and its a great feeling to have him join the ranks of the brotherhood, he said. Someone with a Ranger Tab, you know theyve been through what youve been through.
David E. Grange said he was very, very pleased to see his grandson graduate.
Im almost in awe that this is really happening, he said. I used to bring his father here when he was a little guy, and Ive watched Matthew grow up, and now hes a Ranger. Im very blessed. Im very pleased to see him continue our Family ties to Fort Benning. Its a great day for the Grange clan.
The eldest Grange said he was impressed with todays Rangers and the continually high standards of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
I think its as well kept today as it ever was, and thank goodness for that, he said. Getz, whose own family military lineage goes back to a grandfather who fought in World War I, said he was very proud of Matthew.
Hes not only a third-generation Ranger, hes got both grandfathers who are Rangers, he said.
David L. Grange was the graduations guest speaker, and in his remarks, he reminded the 120 graduates of Class 1-13 that earning a Ranger Tab is only the beginning of a lifelong commitment to excellence.
Selection is a continuous process, he said. This is not a check in a box. It is a continuing mission.
After his remarks, David L. Grange presented Matthew with a very special Ranger Tab the same one his father, Matthews grandfather, gave him when he graduated Ranger School more than 30 years ago.
Conquering mental challenges was the most difficult part of Ranger School, Matthew said, and he credited his classmates with helping him get through them.
The unknown of whether or not you passed was difficult, he said. You go through these patrols and tests not knowing until later whether you passed, so you have to just go 100 percent. Everybody works together to get this tab; you cant really get it on your own.
Matthews next assignment is as a platoon leader with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. He is currently serving an eight-year commitment to the Army.