Whenever anyone asks me what that red symbol on my hat or shirt means I want to say, “Sit down and I’m going to tell you about the craziest, toughest, and best fighting unit the military has ever known: The Rakkasans.” It’s up to us to tell our Rakkasan stories to the world because we aren’t only telling our individual stories, we are telling the collective stories of the ones that came before us. The time for us to grow our prestige, our legend, and cement the Rakkasans in history isn’t always when we’re in battle, it’s when we come home.
Every Rakkasan I’ve met has crazy stories, one day I’d like to get all those stories together somewhere. They aren’t always stories of heroism, they are stories of our unique culture, insane soldiers, and immense pride. The Rak changed all of us, and in those transformations come our stories. When I came to 3rd Brigade, I was a skinny kid from Iowa and by the time I left, I was a Rakkasan forever. Telling the stories of who we are and where we come from will help our friends and family better understand us. Sometimes we tend to think of the Rakkasans like Fight Club, first rule is “You don’t talk about the Rakkasans.” You just know we were there because there are Toriis drawn, painted, put up, and displayed and everything is destroyed.
We have a legacy to not only protect, but to grow. I don’t know what the battlefields of the future will look like, but I know we will be there on the front lines. One of my regrets from my Rakkasan deployments is that I didn’t record or write down all the crazy things that happened or that we did. Hell, I can’t even remember a third of the insane things that happened while I was in the 187th.
Our leadership wants us to be quiet professionals, to stop having to answer for us fighting with other units, being so loud, and drawing Toriis everywhere. But we are more the ‘bull in the china shop’ type of warriors than ninjas. We’re Vikings, who fight hard and party hard and those stories deserve to be told. Who else besides us would keep charging up Hamburger Hill? When you talk to someone about the Rakkasans, when you’re in another unit or if you’re out of the Army, don’t just shake your head and say, “you wouldn’t get it.” Tell them a story, because Rakkasan stories are the story of America.
Tell the stories of fallen Rakkasans, we all know a few and their legend deserves to live on. The stories of those of us that have fallen in battle and those of us that lost different battles. Honestly, there isn’t a way to track it, but I think being a Rakkasan lowers your life expectancy a bit even compared to other combat units. We live harder than the rest of the military and that can mean we die younger. Let’s face it, we’re the ones in other units leading others with the Rakkasan mentality. 3rd Brigade doesn’t just lead the 101st , we lead the Army. Soldiers from underneath the Torri go out into the Army and are the tip of the spear. Get out there and scream your Rakkasan story for the world to hear.
Screaming Your Story
Start writing down or recording some of your Rakkasan history. Your story belongs to all of us and is the history of the best unit in the Army. You can even record it on your phone. Tell your children and your friends and family about the Rakkasans. Whatever you do, don’t let your story go untold. Message us with your story if you want, from the battlefield to the barracks, we’d love to hear it.
-As always, let valor not fail