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Nov 1966 | MCRD San Deigo
The platoon was going through the obstacle course and we came to one of the more difficult challenges; the climbing latter. The sides were spread far, and you had to climb in the center. Each rung was increasingly further apart and the final one was far enough that you could not grasp it while hanging on to the lower rung. The objective was to get over the top rung. When Ralph reached for the last rung, he slipped and fell landing on his back at the base of the obstacle. He landed with a loud thump and bounded about a foot off the ground and then settled flat and lifeless. We were all in shock and thought for sure he was dead. But when the Gunny shouted "Valancia are you dead?" He immediately sprang to his feet, without touching the ground and shouted “No Gunny”. Then the Gunny said “Well then get back up there.” Without a second thought he was up and over the obstacle. His fearlessness at the moment has stuck with me my entire life.