The FBR’s work is dangerous. Rangers are often armed with whatever weapons they can find—shotguns, 22s, AK-47s—and have been the target of enemy fire on a number of occasions. Since 1997, 13 Rangers have died in the field—one caught and tortured to death by the Myanmar Army, others killed by land mines, malaria, and a lightning strike…..Today there are approximately 350 Rangers, divided into 70 teams operating in the states of Karen, Kachin, Kayah, and Shan. Each team consists of four to five Rangers: a team leader, a medic, a photographer, videographer, a security specialist to map their route and liaise with rebel armies, and a Good Life Club counselor, who is in charge of the education and health needs of village children. Once trained, the teams are deployed by veteran Rangers, who work with rebel militias and Scott to determine where to send them.
Thanks to David Isenberg for pointing these guys out. I had heard of them before in the past but really didn’t know much about what they were doing. Outside magazine did a great little article about what they are up to and I thought I would share that.
The leader of this group, who happens to be former Special Forces, reminds me a lot of the Machine Gun Preacher guy in the Sudan named Sam Childers. In both cases, these men are trying desperately to help a people being oppressed and they are putting a lot on the line to save lives. That is cool.
Of course I am not that interested in the religious angles that these folks bring to the table, but as far as the act of defending others and doing what they can to empower the local populations against oppressive regimes, well then that is pretty awesome in my book.
If you are interested in donating money or getting involved with this group, here is a link to their website. It sounds like they have a few veterans working with them as well. The FBR does train folks in the combat arms, so if you have those skills or have something to offer in the realm of warfare, these guys would probably appreciate the help. -Matt
The Jesus-Kissed, War-Fringed, Love-Swirled Rangers
By: Adam Skolnick
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
The leader of the Free Burma Rangers keeps his identity secret. But he’s real, and he’s definitely hardcore. A former U.S. Special Forces operative—and an ordained minister, climber, and triathlete—he trains rebels and refugees in the fine art of outwitting one of the world’s most oppressive regimes to deliver humanitarian aid. Adam Skolnick hits the trail with a soldier on a mission from God.
On a sticky 90-degree day last November, the sun blazed high over a village in northern Karen, a province of 7.5 million people in southeastern Myanmar. At the edge of a riverside clearing, farmers dressed in rags, sweaty and soiled, trickled home from the fields to their thatched-bamboo huts for lunch. They chatted and laughed freely—until a mortar exploded 50 feet away.
Within seconds men in Myanmar Army uniforms strafed the village with semi-automatic gunfire. Shouting soldiers dragged women to the ground and held pistols to the men’s heads. The platoon leader wandered from hut to hut, using a torch to ignite grass roofs.
Then something strange happened. A young blond girl—dressed in black and wearing flip-flops, her face streaked with grease—suddenly leaped to the top of a boulder, holding a bow and arrow. Narrowing her eyes, she pulled back and fired.
“Way to go!” A lean, fit American guy, dressed in running shorts and an Army green T-shirt, emerged from the sidelines, clapping and cheering like a proud parent at a soccer game. “Did you see that? She jumped up like Robin Hood and just nailed the guy!”