As 16 Rangers were inducted into the 23rd Annual Ranger Hall of Fame on Wednesday, retired Col. Skip Chittenden said he may be known as author of the original "Ranger Handbook" but he is most proud of training soldiers.
"It's very humbling to remember back to all of the super, super soldiers I served with, the Rangers," Chittenden said after the 1 p.m. ceremony in Marshall Auditorium at McGinnis-Wickam Hall. "I can't tell you how proud I am today of those on the stage."
Organized by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade and the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Hall of Fame honors the elite soldiers for their significant contributions, selfless service, loyal sacrifice and character.
Guest speaker for the event was Brig. Gen. David L. Grange, who served in Vietnam, the Balkans and the Middle East in the Gulf War. He recognized all the
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Rangers and invited all elite soldiers in the auditorium to a possible assignment against the Islamic State of Iraq. "Let's cut a swath through ISIS and get this over with," the decorated general said to a loud applause.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, and Gen. John Philip Abizaid, former commander of U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, were also present as inductees for the ceremony.
Chittenden, a 1959 graduate of the Ranger School, said he is proud to have helped train more than 5,000 soldiers while serving as an instructor at Fort Benning during the mid 1960s.
"I think helping the Ranger student through the training and seeing the results of what comes out the other end, that gives me great satisfaction," Chittenden said.
At age 78, the retired colonel said just the thought of Ranger training makes him tired. "I think there are a lot more deserving Rangers than I am," he said. "I was there."
Lt. Gen. Steven L. Arnold of Big Canoe, Ga., said he was able to receive some promotions, awards and honors during his 35 years of service but none mean as much as induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame. "This is important and I really cherish it," he said.
Arnold, 75, served two tours during the Vietnam War where he served as company commander, platoon leader and adviser. Ranger training allowed him to feel like he was doing something and doing it well. "The Ranger program allowed me to do that to best of my ability," he said.
As men and women take part in Ranger training, Arnold said training at Fort Benning is the most important that soldiers will ever receive in the Army. "It will be one of the most challenging of their life because I found it to be more challenging than combat itself," he said of the grueling training. "The training prepares you to do some things that you weren't sure you were capable of. Whether you are successful in Ranger training or not, you are going to learn a lot about yourself."
Jim Sisler was on the stage to accept the award for his father, 1st Lt. George K. Sisler, who was killed in Vietnam on Feb. 7, 1967, as he single-handedly charged into an enemy onslaught with grenades and firing his weapon to keep his position from getting overrun.
"I'm sure he certainly would be proud," the son said of his father. "He would recognize the people he served with. It was his desire, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do. Unfortunately, he was killed in action."
2015 RANGER HALL OF FAME CLASS
The U.S. Army Ranger Association Inc. inducted these 16 Rangers into the 2015 Ranger Hall of Fame during a Wednesday ceremony at Fort Benning's McGinnis-Wickam Hall:
1st Lt. George "Ken" Sisler
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall
Gen. Stanley McChrystal
Gen. John Abizaid
Col. John Philip Geraci
Lt. Col. Rex G. Masters
Sgt 1st Class Tyler Yates
Maj. Robert Bishoff
Col. Thomas Henry
Lt. Gen. Steven Arnold
Sgt. Maj. Gregory Matteo
Lt. Col. Rembert G. Rollison
Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy L. Broyles
Col. Skip Chittenden
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Russell L. McIntyre
Command Sgt. Maj. James P. Regan