Sam Harper

Ranger Selection Mental Fitness Evaluation - Transcript Excerpt
This interview will be recorded and my conclusions presented to the Ranger Selection Board. For the record, you are Sam Harper?
Yes, sir.

No need for the formality. You surf regularly, correct? Stay in shape that way?
Totally, dude.

I see. Please try to be more forthcoming in your future responses. Why the career switch from Engineering to Military Intelligence? That's quite a leap.
Like building things, but even more, enjoy figuring things out. Solving the types of real-time challenges to prevent people from being killed. Saw it as closer to fulfilling the real reason why I joined the Army in the first place.

We'll get back to that reason. Growing up in foster care, do you find it difficult to work with a team? Rely on them? Your relationship with a certain infantry captain, for example.
Haven't always fitted in growing up. Bit of a nerd, messing with technology. Played what some might consider the more thoughtful sports; although cross country, soccer, and track prepared me well for the physical aspects of RASP.
Not a lot of good social role models. Moved around between foster homes and group homes. I recognize I could improve on some of my social skills, but the captain and I simply had a healthy competition. Pushed each other during the exercise, that's all. The team I led won that contest, anyway.

Uh-huh... results oriented. And your buddies? Friends? Don't appear to have many.
Tough to becomes buddies with the men you command, especially when most are experienced engineers older than you are. Plus, like I said, moved around a lot, growing up. Michelle is probably my oldest friend. Call her my wise-wahine. Always giving me advice. Sometimes, I even listen.

Ex-girlfriend, you mean?
Back in High School, sure. We're still friends, though, and who knows what'll happen in the future. Maybe the distant future, if I had to predict anything. Not ready to totally settle down yet. There's a Global War on Terror to fight. Lots of bad guys between me and retirement.

I see you wrote your Selection Paper on taking initiative. Do you have problems following orders?
Of course not, especially when they're the right orders. It's just that sometimes a leader needs to be flexible and creative to accomplish the commander's intent.

Hope that works out for you. Do you ever find it difficult to communicate? When you fall back into a surfer accent, I mean.

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