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  Home > Fallen Ranger Memorial > 2001 > Pat Hurley

Pat HurleySGM Patrick R. Hurley entered the Army in 1972 and initially served with the 27th Engineer Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps. Fort Bragg, NC. It was during this first assignment that SGM Hurley volunteered for and completed the U.S. Army Ranger course and became a second-generation Ranger, following in the footsteps of his father, Robert Hurley, who served in the 2nd Ranger Battalion in World War II. In 1975, SGM Hurley volunteered for the newly formed 2nd Ranger Battalion at Ft Lewis, Washington and served honorably as an anti-tank team leader and as the anti-tank section leader.

It was here in mid-1977 that SGM Hurley first volunteered to serve with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta. After his selection and training, SGM Hurley served with distinction in such operations as Desert One in Iran.

In 1985, SGM Hurley once again volunteered to serve with his beloved Rangers, this time as a First Sergeant of Company C of the newly formed 3rd Ranger Battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia. SGM Hurley served for 18 months with Charlie Rock and set the example in all that he did for subordinates, peers, and superiors alike. SGM Hurley served in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in Southwest Asia.

SGM Patrick R. Hurley was killed while returning from a Special Forces mission on February 21, 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. He fully knew the hazards of his chosen profession and always upheld the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers.

From a fellow Ranger:

 In 1974, I had the privilege of serving as Asst OIC and later OIC of the 82d ABN Recondo School at Ft Bragg. All cadre were Ranger qualified and among the finest instructors I've known. In one of the classes we put through that year, there was a skinny Sp/4 from an engineer unit at XVIIIth Abn Corps who, from day one, set an example of personal motivation and self discipline no other student in his class could touch.

I walked a lane with his patrol at the request of our TAC NCO, PSG Lajos "No-Slack" Noszak, ("Sir, you gotta see this kid") and graded him on a "planning phase" and later a "route phase". As I remember, his OPORD beat many I'd heard in Ranger School, and his actions as a PL enroute to the objective were dead on. He played the game as very few did. Later, in a patrol base, I told him how much his actions were influencing his peers to "drive on" in spite of fatigue, etc. and what an outstanding example of leadership he was setting, even when not in a graded leadership position. His response: "I've always wanted to be a Ranger, sir, they're the best."

I later found out his CO promised to try to get him a slot into Ranger School if he finished #1 in Recondo School AND could get a recommendation from us. Sp/4 Hurley was the top man in his class. Our guest speaker at graduation commented about the "skinny engineer" who "set the example for the Infantry NCO's" in the class. When presented with his plaque, he never smiled like most did. He looked straight at each of us, his instructors, with those glacier-blue eyes, and he got his LOR for Ranger School. 

In 1999, I had the privilege of attending the Best Ranger Competition at Ft Benning with two of my children, in their teens. After watching for a while at the old Todd Field site, I decided to show them the Victory Pond area with the slide for life and 40-foot rope drop. More stuff Dad did.

After parking the car and starting to walk up the hill with my kids, I saw a plaque ... and a name from 25 years earlier. I read it. Several times. And sat in the bleachers. Numb. Remembered. Later returned to the car. We were now on Hurley Hill, I explained to my kids, named after a Ranger who set and achieved goals and will be remembered by all who ever came in contact with him. The Creed in every sense of the word, you always were a Ranger, Sergeant Major Hurley, the very best. 

Respectfully submitted by H. Denton

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US Mountain Ranger Association 1999