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Old 1 October 2019, 08:38
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Stopp700 Stopp700 is online now
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This retired Army Ranger has ALS-that's not stopping him from training the next gener

I go this today from John Cullinan (B\2\75th 75-79)

MILTON, Fla. (WEAR) - An Army Ranger Hall of Famer is defying the odds, training the next generation while battling ALS, a disease that affects around 20,000 Americans.

Sergeant Tim Spayd enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1978 and soon found himself in Ranger School, a 62-day combat course with rigorous training, similar to what Navy Seals endure.

"I originally wanted to sign up to be a Seal," Spayd said. "But the Army Ranger recruiting table was right next to it and I saw soldiers jumping out of helicopters and doing intense stuff and I knew that's what I wanted to do."

The Rangers are a Tier One military unit, meaning Spayd could not share much about his classified missions, but he did share that he was part of Operation Eagle Claw in 1980. This was a US operation ordered by President Jimmy Carter as an attempt to end the Iran Hostage Crisis by rescuing 52 embassy staff held captive in Tehran.

"I can't say much other than that," Spayd said. "But the brotherhood that comes with being a Ranger is unlike anything I ever experienced."

Now Spayd is facing a new battle, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a progressive disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal chord. Spayd says he was diagnosed in 2012 after years of symptoms.

"I have the slow progression, which is a blessing," Spayd said. "I've been in ALS meetings where the bulbar region gets affected and those guys are gone in two to four years."

Spayd is not letting the disease define him. He has helped train 61 classes of Rangers, completing the rigorous training again and again.

"As a training instructor, we go through everything a ranger student goes through," Spayd said. "If they're wet, we're wet. We're walking through the swamps right along with them."

This act of perseverance is one reason why Spayd was inducted to the Ranger Hall of Fame this year.

"You feel like you don't deserve it," Spayd said. "There's so many guys that are giving their life, the ultimate sacrifice."

Spayd will be back at Eglin Air Force Base next week training with the next class of future Rangers. His motto is "Never Quit," a lesson he shares with many others in the community also battling terminal diseases.
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