It seems like just last week Smitty and I were sitting down in Baghdad, Iraq designing a camo koozie that said, "Made by TSAF" as a joke. I never thought in a million years "TSAF" would have the meaning it has today. People are always asking how TSAF got started and it was exactly that... Bored out of our minds in Iraq, we designed a simple koozie that had the platoon's abbreviated "This Shit Aint Free" tag and put up a pre-oder form in out platoon barracks. Within a week, we made over $500.00 selling beer koozies at $5.00 a piece.
August 2009 - Once we got back from deployment, I decided to make the website. We lost 2 great fellow Rangers that deployment; CPL Ryan McGhee and CPL Ben Kopp. Within our website (that was still our platoon website at the time) I dedicated a video and pictures of Ryan and Ben. A couple weeks later, Ryan's mom had emailed me through the website and wanted to tell me how much it meant to her that we did that. She later called me and spent time talking to me and just venting how she felt and how the website was a total reminder to her that we will
never forget our brothers.
At this time, I knew there was a different direction for TSAF Ind. It wasn't just a joke anymore. It was something that had more meaning to people who mattered more than our laughs and jokes did. We then moved to supporting our whole Ranger Battalion, and not just our company. Families all across 3/75 were reaching out to us and wanting to buy a shirt that memorialized our brothers who were no longer with us. After meeting and talking to so many Gold Star families (Families who have lost a loved one to war), I wanted us to do our part in making sure that they and their son,
would never be forgotten.
One of the first questions we ask a brand new Private when he comes into our platoon is "Who is your Airborne Ranger in the Sky?" It is paramount to being a Ranger, that we have someone on our "wrist" who reminds us, that this shit isn't free and we need to suck it up. We not only make them have an Airborne Ranger in the Sky, but he must learn about him, his family, and his way of life.
The beginning of 2010 we expanded to the entire Regiment. Now meeting Gold Star families from all across Regiment. Families who lost their son as far back as 1987. I was barely 3 years old when PFC Neil Secor was killed. I was completely humbled and honored to be able to hear stories about this young Ranger who had an entire life ahead of him.
Both the Gold Star families I have met, along with the Veterans, I could not be more thankful for the route we have taken with TSAF. We have grown into a family and larger brotherhood than what we were before. We have lost many more brothers since we have started this endeavor, some of which who were involved with TSAF and the foundation of what we stood for. SGT Andrew Nicol, SGT Anibal Santiago, and SPC Brad Rappuhn. They were all a part of B company 3/75 and were a part of TSAF from the beginning. I have no doubt that if they were still with us, they would be proud of how far we have come with the company, and it's only possible because of men like them.
In just these 2 years, we have been able to donate more than $15,000 to various organizations that are directly linked to the Ranger Regiment. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Ranger Assistance Foundation, Ranger Memorial Fund, Homes for Our Troops, and many other Gold Star families within Regiment have benefitted from all of your loyal support to us. Also, this month we should reach over 10,000 fans on Facebook. Although that may not seem like a lot to most of you, I am completely humbled everyday that that number continues to grow by the hundreds every 24 hours. Thank you for your loyalty and support to us, your troops and above all, your Rangers.
Rangers Lead the Way!