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The Return of Ranger Merriken
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I belong to the US Army Ranger Association and receive their quarterly newsletter, "Ranger Register". It is the usual association newsletter, filled with stories about association activities, reports, where the convention will be and stories about members. In this month's issue there was a story which just blew me away. I thought I'd share it with you.

In June 26th of 2003, a young Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment was greviously wounded in Iraq when, on his second tour, the humvee he was riding in was attacked. After exiting the vehicle after the explosion and attack, Ranger Kanaan Merriken passed out and was unconscious for 11 days. Upon regaining consciousness he discovered two of his fellow Rangers in the humvee - SGT Timothy Conneway and CPL Chris Andrews - had died from their wounds.

Surgeons in Iraq had worked desperately to save his life. His carotid artery has been severed by shrapnel and part of the left frontal lobe of his brain had been damaged. The damaged portion had to be removed in a crainiotomy. He also had shrapnel wounds all over his body, a retinal hemorrage in his left eye and loss of hearing in his left ear. He was airlifted to Germany.

His wife Kari remembers her first sight of him, "When I first saw him in the hospital, he was still unconscious, on a ventilator and covered in bandages. I didn't know if he'd live or die at that point ... or know if he'd even know who I was once he regained consciousness."

He did regain consciousness, opening his eyes for the first time on July 6, 2003. He quickly recognized his wife and mother, but it was another 5 days before he could speak and an additional 5 days before he could speak in complete sentences. He acknowledged at the time, in an interview with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, that "the road back for me will be a long one, but I'm prepared for it".

Now I don't know about you, but I would expect that long road to be a recovery that would allow Kanaan Merriken to live a relatively normal life. The Army had medically retired him by that time. But that wasn't the road Merriken chose. Merriken's road to recovery included returning to active duty.

In November 2005, Ranger Kanaan Merriken, after the succesful appeal of his medical retirement, completed the RIP course for the second time (Ranger Indoctrination Program ... a requirement for all candidates for duty with the 75th Ranger Regiment). He was selected as the classes' Honor Graduate and was the leadership award winner.

He has subsequently rejoined the unit he so loves and is again a proud and serving member of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

"Rangers Lead The Way!"
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Ranger Merriken is to be commended.. that is truly an amazing and heart-warming story. Still McQ, does this mean that Rangers really don’t need or use all their brains?
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Heh ... no Joe, it means that to a Ranger, there’s always a work-around. ;)
Written By: McQ
Doesn’t that prove he’s one of those dumb jocks who’s been fooled into believing that it is glorious and honorable to be Rambo (per Ted Rall)?

(For anyone who can’t figure this out, I’m being facetious.)
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Ranger Merriken is a credit to this nation. I am glad he is on our side, because I would hate to go against such a man.
Written By: EdMcGon
Every time I read about an American hero like this, I am reminded of the line from "The Bridges at Toko-ri": Where do we get such men?
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
"In order to succeed we must first believe that we can" - Michal Korda

Ranger Merriken, you indeed make me proud. The US Army, The Ranger Dept., and RANGERS everywhere applaud you.

Written By: Hilario J. Bernal
URL: http://
I am humbled by this young man’s actions though not at all surprized. The Ranger Creed says it all and this young man is living evidence.
Written By: Andy Bell
URL: http://
If he ever says something like, "I’ve got half a mind to [fill in the blank]", take him seriously.
Written By: Nathan
These recovery from serious wounding stories give me the shivers. Your frag vest and helmet keep you alive, then the doctors patch it up, and the result is people surviving injuries they shouldn’t, and wake up with no hands, no sight and no face.

Those injuries verged on something you *might* not WANT to wake up from (partial brain amputation and all). Then the man not only recovers, but enough so to go back to do ranger again. I’m real impressed, that guy is hard.
Written By: fellowpeacekeeper
URL: http://
To all,

First things first; I appreciate everything that you all say. I have a great feeling in my heart when others see what a true Ranger is capable of. On the other hand I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without a Ranger wife who has supported me all the way. To the person who wrote that facetious statement, no I have not been tricked into the "Rambo" mind set. I actually discovered the other side of the fight when I was taking a philosophy class, the summer before I rejoined the military. What I learned was that our nation needed to have better soldiers despite the fact that some of the wars that we fight are not always the best choice. It was a hard desicion that took me about 1 year to make. I also had a lot of support from my Ranger buddy Travis Roth. With all the letters of recommendations from guys that I look up to, who have served in our nations military, to struggling through PT to get back into shape for the rigors of the Regiments PT program. I stood up for what I believe and am now very proud of being allowed to serve. Thank you all for being supportive of me and of course our military.

Spc Kanaan Merriken
US Army/Airborne Ranger
Written By: Spc Merriken (The guy that you all write about)
URL: http://
To all again,

The injuries happened on June 26, 2003. I was in a coma for 11 days, some of those days were medically induced. The surguries were performed in Iraq. Thank the neurosurgeans who saved me also. Dr. Rocco Armondo, Dr. Richard Teff, and Dr. Kevin Cannard. Just a little something that I noticed in the article.

Written By: Spc Merriken (The guy that you all write about)
URL: http://
Thanks for the corrections, Ranger Merriken, and more importantly thanks for the inspiration. I’ve been a Ranger since graduating in class 5-71 (I’ve also come to be convinced it’s a state of mind) and am getting sorta old. I see young men like you come along and carry the tradition as you do, and, well, it makes me damn proud. Give my best to your wonderful wife and always keep in mind there’s a whole hell of a lot of us out here who support you and what you do.

Written By: McQ
Thanks buddy. We appreciate all you do for us.

Charlie Mike.

Pat = 11Z5VF7
Ranger Class 2-88
Written By: Pat
URL: http://
It is through the valiant efforts of people like my distant cousin, Kanaan Merriken, that we have a chance to achieve victory in Iraq. Kanaan, I love you as a cousin and a friend.
Your efforts hopefully will be rewarded with a peaceful solution to the war in Iraq. I have sent a message to Donald H. Rumsfeld and Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. I dedicate it to you.
Message: Divide Iraq into three countries. Use Yugoslavia as a model of how to do it. Let their be one Sunni, one Kurd, and one Shiite country for a total of three countries. Let us use the model of Yugaslavia to bring about the peaceful division of Iraq into three countries along ethnic boundary lines.
Let Kanaan Merriken’s efforts be rewarded with a peaceful vitory for all three new countries.
When the boundary lines are fixed, then help the people of Iraq migrate to the new country where they feel welcomed and are free to practice their religion.
Go Rangers. Love, Kenny Merriken from Maryland, now living in Lake City Florida.
Written By: Kenny Merriken
URL: http://

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