By Jack Mandaville I want to make a few of my...
Hero of the Week Lance Vogeler
Since 9/11 Sgt. 1st Class Lance H. Vogeler deployed for twelve combat tours, four to Iraq and eight to Afghanistan, twelve. The 75th Ranger Regiment, because it’s a Special Operations unit, doesn’t deploy to theater on a standard timeline the way that the 101st or 82nd does. To give you some perspective, having served in the Regiment, I can assure you that SFC Vogeler spent well over three and a half years since September 11th, 2001 in a war zone.
Over one third of his life since this nation was attacked was spent putting rounds down range and defending the freedom we all hold so dear. Spent feeling the grit of sand on his face from a dust storm or helicopter landing, hearing rounds crack over his head so often it became common, going through cycle after cycle to get ready for and then deploy to combat. Growing from a private or tabbed spec-4 to a team leader to a squad leader and finally to a PSG, leading men into harm’s way the entire time.
You can’t read a story about SFC Vogeler without reading how devoted and loving a father and husband he was. His family by all accounts was the center of his life, and it showed in how hard he worked to be a father and husband when he wasn’t deployed in our nation’s service. When he died he left two children, a wife, and soon to be born baby behind. Having such a great family is no easy task with the extremely high divorce rate amongst Special Operations troops.
SFC Vogeler was so respected for his faith and the strength of his character he was ordained as a minister, mostly so he could perform the rites of marriage for his troops. Search his name and you’ll read the stories of how his guys might not have always believed as he did, but he was the only person they’d have trusted to officiate the day that they said “I do.”
Part of me isn’t sure how to finish this up. How to convey to anyone reading this just how incredibly dedicated a guy like a Lance Vogeler is. To tell you how much everyone in our nation should be thanking whatever God they believe in that we have men like him kicking doors down in the middle of the night and teaching young Rangers how to do the same. To show you just how hard it is day in and day out to grind the way he did, as a member of the Ranger Regiment for our freedom.
I personally didn’t know SFC Vogeler, but if I’d remained on active duty and had been blessed enough to stay in the Ranger Regiment, I’d be in roughly the same spot he was in that day in the Helmand Province. Same pay grade, same level of responsibility, same everything. I loved being a Bat Boy, hands down the greatest time in my life. I also haven’t forgotten how hard it was. The all night patrols, the marathon marches, week after week of getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night in training and in combat to do things I still can’t believe I was able to do in the middle of the night under a set of PVS-14’s. I did it for 5 years and two tours. He did it for nine years, twelve tours. I led a team, he was leading forty hard charging muldoons out into harm’s way, and until he died you’d never have known he was doing it.
Isaiah 6:8 goes: “And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me.”
SFC Lance Vogeler went again and again and again to keep us free and to keep us safe. People wonder sometimes why I am so proud to have served in the Regiment, it’s because I was blessed enough to serve with men like him.
Rest in peace brother, and one for the Airborne Ranger in the Sky, you will be missed.