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Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger Hardcover – July 3, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“For 250 years, Rangers have stepped forward to take on the toughest and most dangerous missions to defend America. Dick Couch has done us all a favor by taking us inside the way in which we select and train our contemporary Rangers. I read this book swelling with admiration for the young men who volunteer to serve in the Ranger Regiment. They deserve our heartfelt thanks for their service, just as Dick Couch deserves our thanks for Sua Sponte and this engaging 'insiders’ account.”-- Dr. Andrew Exum, author of This Man's Army

"An outstanding read for anyone considering the very challenging physical and mental rigors and high standards required to be part of this elite 'Brotherhood.'"-- Tim Abell, Actor/Producer and 2/75 Ranger

"Sua Sponte is a detailed and vivid look at how the Army Rangers train for war. Couch’s nuts-and-bolts narrative is well-told with the perspective of an experienced special operator. He knows what he’s looking at and reports it faithfully. It is informative and at times moving. Readers will learn what it takes to be an elite soldier, and how much work it takes to earn the title ‘Ranger.’" -- Larry Bond, author of Exit Plan

About the Author

A 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Dick Couch served with the Navy Underwater Demolition and SEAL Teams. He led one of the only successful POW rescue operations of the Vietnam War, while a platoon leader with SEAL Team One in 1970.

On release from active duty in 1972, he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as a Maritime Operations Officer. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1997 with the rank of captain. The author of numerous books and articles on military special operations, he serves as a consultant and keynote speaker on issues of tactical ethics and moral battlefield conduct. Dick and his wife Julia live in Idaho.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425247589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425247587
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Rosenhan on July 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoy Dick Couch's writing. He has a really easy-to-read style that isn't as dumbed down as C.B. Colby back in the day. This book is extremely informative and fun to read. It gives a really human insight into the Rangers that people don't often get. Even (especially?) Soldiers often elevate these guys to godlike status, and makes them seem completely aloof and inaccessible. Dick Couch makes them accessible, without dragging them down to a level of not being special anymore, because the Rangers are the best on the planet at what they do, make no mistake about that.

The only complaint I have about the book was the lack of editing. I want to mark up every error in the book and send it back to the publisher. The first 100 pages are rife with so many factual errors that they distract from the fine content of the book. It's not anything big that would make you think Couch made anything up, they are a large number of simple errors like saying that Darby did not live to see D-Day, when he was in fact in Washington with the War Department and didn't die until 1945 (perhaps the meaning was Darby wasn't in Europe to see D-Day?), and that the British were defeating Francis Marion in South Carolina in 1881.

I don't want to discredit the book, I really enjoyed it, I just hope the second printing shows more attention to detail befitting the Rangers. Mr. Couch, if you need a better editor, I would be happy to work for you!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dick Couch is a retired United States Navy SEAL. He has written on various special operations forces, focusing mainly on his own SEAL community, coming from a position of a veteran who served in Vietnam and has watched the various entities that make up this world evolve. He teaches at the Naval Academy, and therefore has a certain view and viewpoint of those who aspire to be officers in one of our larger military branches.

First, allow me to address what Sua Sponte is not. It is not a discussion, or even description, of what the 75th Ranger Regiment is doing in the war on terrorism. It is not a biography of an Army unit that has been incredibly busy over the last 11 years. This operational tempo is touched on, but never fully explored. There is no discussion of the night raids that make up such a large part of the war in Afghanistan now, and in which the Regiment plays a huge part. There is no mention of the Ranger QRF that accompanied NAVSPECWARDEVGRU into Pakistan to accomplish the hit on UBL. Pat Tillman, the most famous Ranger of this current period of warfare is not mentioned at all. General Stanley McChrystal, a former commander of 3rd Ranger Battalion and the whole Regiment, does not make the pages. In the same way that his previous books such as "The Sheriff of Ramadi" avoid the mention of anything controversial or outside a very straight-line narrative, this one sticks to its guns.

Sua Sponte does a phenomenal job of explaining how Ranger Assessment and Selection Program works. There is some wave top covering of the Fort Benning, GA basic training program, along with jump school, and the army's infantry training program. Then it goes into RASP and its two components.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
RANGERS Lead The Way!!!

"Sua Sponte: The Forging of a Modern American Ranger" by Dick Couch is an excellent and lively tribute to the modern Rangers of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. I severed in the Regiment prior 9/11 and moved onto other Special Operations units. I can tell you what I learned in the Rangers set the foundation of my special operations background. This book clearly sets the record straight on what it takes to be in the Regiment and what life is like in the unit. If you ever wanted to really know about this unit this book is for you. The author briefly covers the ranger history and then delves into the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP), which was Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) back in the day. I can tell you from when I served in the 75th they have fine-tuned the selection process down to fine science with almost eleven years of straight combat under their belt.

RASP is designed to weed out those who do not truly have the physical or mental capabilities to serve in the 75th Ranger Regiment. The training curriculum was specifically designed to "smoke" the trainees through endless punishment via constant physical training. In the second week of RASP, the class is sent to "Cole Range" a remote training area of Fort Benning. It is designed to test the individual to their breaking point both physically and mentally; trainees sleep on average 4 hours total throughout Cole Range as they spend their nights doing tedious tasks such as the "hitting the wood line" for being incapable of meeting the given time hacks. Although training such as patrolling and land navigation is taught at Cole Range, the main focus is to mentally and physically break down the individual.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a must read for anybody who is an aspiring Ranger, or the family of a Ranger. This is the best, most definitive account of the modern Ranger and well worth your time. The story of the modern American Ranger is finally told, and Mr. Couch did a great job representing the fine men of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
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