How to Combat Daylight Saving Time, According to a Ranger Instructor

March 11, 2019Katie McCarthy
A U.S. Army Ranger School instructor calls out commands to Soldiers during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, Ga., April 21, 2015. Photo by Sgt. Paul Sale, courtesy of U.S. Army.

A U.S. Army Ranger School instructor calls out commands to Soldiers during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, Ga., April 21, 2015. Photo by Sgt. Paul Sale, courtesy of U.S. Army.

Feeling groggy because you lost an hour of sleep this morning due to the start of Daylight Saving Time? If you’ve never been through Ranger School — the U.S. Army’s premier leadership course — you probably don’t know what real sleep deprivation is, or how to overcome it. So we reached out to a former Ranger Instructor who knows firsthand what it takes to keep going no matter what!

“Back when Ranger School was hard and students could have dip, putting tobacco juice in their eyes was a technique,” said a former RI, who is still serving and agreed to speak to Coffee or Die on condition of anonymity. “At one time, putting Tabasco sauce [from MREs] in their eyes was a thing, too.

A group of Ranger School students contemplate why they ever joined the Army in the first place. Photo by Sgt. Austin Berner, courtesy of U.S. Army.

“These days they can’t do much but chew gum, and that supply is limited,” he continued, “so they chew it until it’s rock hard and then swallow it to take up space in their stomach. However, we do teach them that if you see your Ranger buddy falling asleep, punch him. Hard.”

But sometimes the simplest task is the most effective — just standing up is one of the most popular ways Ranger students use to stay awake. Of course, they run the risk of falling over.

A Ranger School student attempts to waterboard himself in order to stay awake. Photo by Sgt. Austin Berner, courtesy of U.S. Army.

“In terms of sneaking in a nap but trying to maintain the appearance of alertness, students would prop up their heads on a buttstock so it looked like they were pulling security,” the former RI said. On one occasion, the instructor recalled having to backtrack in the woods to find a student who fell asleep while taking a knee.

Curious as to what happens to sleepy Ranger School students? “If an RI catches somebody sleeping,” said the former instructor, “they risk getting blown out of the patrol base — basically, prepare to be woken up by artillery simulators.”

The commander of Ranger School, Colonel Michael A. Scarpulla, definitely pours entire bottles of Tabasco into his eyes. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade.

So, if your eyelids are heavy from skipping the clocks one hour forward, instead of being roused from an impromptu afternoon nap by an attention-seeking child, pet, or your manager at work (side note: we need to implement siestas into American work culture), try asking your coworker to punch you awake instead. Maybe even try the Tabasco-in-the-eye route if you really want to send a don’t-fuck-with-me message to your colleagues or kids.

Or just, ya know, drink more coffee … like a normal person.


Katie McCarthy
Katie McCarthy

Katie McCarthy is the managing editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. Her career in journalism began at the Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer in 2008, where she learned to navigate the newsroom as a features reporter, copy editor, page designer, and online producer; prior to joining Coffee or Die, she worked for Outdoor Sportsman Group as an editor for Guns & Ammo magazine and their Special Interest Publications division. Katie currently lives in Indiana with her husband and two daughters.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
US: War Crimes on All Sides in Ethiopia's Tigray Conflict

The Biden administration announced Monday that it has determined all sides in the brutal conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

March 20, 2023Associated Press
military pilots cancer rates
Higher Cancer Rates Found in Military Pilots, Ground Crews

In its yearlong study of almost 900,000 service members who flew on or worked on military aircraft b...

March 20, 2023Associated Press
whiskey pour
Veterans Lead the Way Among America’s Growing Craft Distilleries

American veterans are taking the lessons they learned in the military and changing the craft distilling industry.

March 20, 2023Mac Caltrider
military suicide veteran suicide
Military Moves To Cut Suicides, But Defers Action on Guns

In a memo released Thursday, Austin called for the establishment of a suicide prevention working gro...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
us military drills japan-south korea
US, Partners Stage Military Drills Amid Japan-South Korea Talks

The Sea Dragon 23 exercises that started on Wednesday will culminate in more than 270 hours of in-fl...

March 17, 2023Associated Press
leo jenkins a word like god
‘A Word Like God’: New Book From Army Ranger Leo Jenkins

In his latest poetry collection, Ranger-turned-writer Leo Jenkins turns away from war to explore cosmic themes of faith, fatherhood, and art.

March 16, 2023Mac Caltrider
us drone
Pentagon Video Shows Russian Jet Dumping Fuel on US Drone

The Pentagon on Thursday released video of what it said was a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel on a ...

March 16, 2023Associated Press
10th Mountain Division
‘Climb to Glory’ — A History of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division

From the mountains of Italy to the mountains of Afghanistan, the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division built its legendary reputation by fighting in some of the most inhospitable places in the world.

March 16, 2023Matt Fratus
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved