Respect Camp: Luke Ebeling

February 28, 2024

Respect Camp: Luke Ebeling

In the shadow of the majestic Rockies, the suburb of Lakewood, Colorado unfolds like a tapestry of nature's grandeur. As the sun casts its golden glow over the sprawling terrain, the undulating hills and valleys come alive with vibrant hues. Towering pine trees stand sentinel, their evergreen canopies whispering tales of resilience in the mountain breeze. This haven for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike brings us to the inception of a young adventurer's journey. A life shaped by skiing, climbing, backpacking, and mountain biking, where the call to adventure echoes through every experience. Meet Luke Ebeling, a man whose story is as captivating as the terrains he has conquered and the trials he has endured.

Growing up with tales of courage and resilience, Luke's path was paved by the inspiring stories of a neighbor's uncle who had attended Ranger school. However, amidst the camaraderie of football, Luke discovered the power of goal-setting, progress tracking, and the influence of mentors. This revelation marked a turning point. Embarking on a journey that weaves through the mountains of Montana State, the logistics of the military, and the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, Luke's narrative is a testament to the transformational power of dedication and purpose. His story culminates in a remarkable triumph at The Best Ranger Competition in 2023, adding another layer to his multifaceted journey.

As we delve into Luke's experiences, we unveil the challenges, triumphs, and unexpected turns that shaped his character. Through this lens, we'll explore how life's priorities can shift, the impact of self-awareness, and the pursuit of a legacy.

Luke Ebeling and Family at the Ranger Hall of Fame
“I grew up in Lakewood, CO, a suburb of Denver. I was raised with constant adventure, be it skiing, climbing, backpacking, or mountain biking. As a kid, a neighbor’s uncle had gone to Ranger school, and I remember growing up hearing his stories and wondering if I was capable of doing the same someday.

When I was a kid I started climbing, and it was my first love. I would hop on my bike and ride 10 or more miles each way just to climb. It gave me a lot of confidence, and the ability to have a singular focus on a goal. This opened up opportunities to guide in high school and college. It was physically and mentally demanding, and the crew I came onto expected just as much from me as any other member of the team. This pushed me to learn and grow quickly as a leader and person.

In high school, I became more focused on having fun than creating a future for myself until senior year, when I decided I’d play football for the first time in my life. Although I was a horrendous football player, the process showed me how to set goals, track progress, gain skills, and consult peers, coaches, and mentors. This was a major turning point in my life.

I joined ROTC and majored in English during my time at Montana State, which was an exciting growth experience, and set me on a path for the next part of my life. I worked hard in ROTC to make sure I could land exactly where I wanted to be as a new lieutenant. However, leaving ROTC, I branched into Ordnance (a logistics branch), which at the time I knew absolutely nothing about–and would’ve rather been placed in any other branch. It was a massive blow, but at the time I didn’t understand the amount of opportunity it would provide. I PCS’ed to Alaska where I was a Platoon Leader of a fuel and water platoon in a Brigade Support Battalion, pretty far from the line. I had a good group of guys and NCOs, and we trained hard on both Soldier and logistics tasks. I loved my time there but was always looking for something more challenging, and knew going to the 75th Ranger Regiment was the fastest way to something more difficult.

I went to Ranger Assessment and Selection Program II (RASP II) without a Ranger tab after two years in Alaska. Coming to the Regiment without a Ranger tab is beyond uncommon for an officer, so I was plugged into the Regimental Staff and given an opportunity to pass school. Through a fair bit of prep and some good luck, I was able to make it through the first try. At my graduation, I was told to take a week of leave then pack my locker up and move to 3/75, where I served as a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer. The opportunity to be around the best Non-Commissioned Officers, Rangers, and Officers in the military was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, challenging me daily to become the best version of myself.
Luke Ebeling deployment uniform

In 2023, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to train up for and compete in The Best Ranger Competition. Having no prior experience with the competition, I did everything I could to gather as much info on the competition as possible, and my partner and I trained in what we felt was the best way. Due to the Regimental coaches, Rangers with experience in the competition, and all the YouTube videos I could find, we felt as prepared as we could get going into the competition. Things went well for us and we were able to come out with a win!

At that point, my wife and I had one boy, and another on the way. Due to priorities shifting, we decided to look at leaving the military. The Ranger and larger veteran community was unbelievably helpful and guided me every step of the way to having a successful transition. I now work for Google doing supply chain management and live outside of Atlanta. I continue to climb a few times a week, pursue obstacle course racing and ultra-running, and give back, however possible, through the Three Ranger Foundation and Google’s internal Veteran Network.
I don’t want to be dramatic here, because it wasn’t an “obstacle” at all, but more the biggest shift in my life. I had just graduated from Ranger Assessment and Selection Program II (RASP II) when my wife (then girlfriend), Hana, found out she was four months pregnant. I was focused on a PCS, passing Ranger School, and joining the Regiment as a contributing member. At first in a way I grieved–I’d had a plan for my career in the military and life, and having a kid didn't fit into it. I knew this meant that all my life priorities needed to shift. Up until this point, most of my life had gone how I’d planned it (for the most part) and I was able to be almost solely focused on myself and my goals. I quickly realized my priorities would need to shift if I wanted to support Hana’s life goals and build a family. Having our first son, Emmett, was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, and I’m thankful for him every day.
Luke Ebeling and Family Class A's
I’ve certainly become less selfish, though I believe there's always room for growth here. I wouldn’t have left the military without this shift. I loved the military but knew there were options that made more sense for the family. I realize the decisions I make have a large bearing on others. It made me realize that life priorities can have astronomical shifts almost immediately. It has made me more self-aware, and given me a desire to perform better in everything I do, to set a solid example and create a legacy for my boys.
My goals for the next 3 years are to provide space for Hana to pursue her nursing career goals and work jobs that she finds rewarding; while continuing to pursue fitness through obstacle course racing and ultra running. I also want to start coaching to give back some of the knowledge I've gained and hopefully help some people be successful in passing schools or selections. I hope to attend and graduate from an executive MBA program and become competent and a value-added in my new career field.

Leaving the military–especially special operations–feels a bit like starting over from scratch. You don’t have the same support system or path. I’m still working on finding the same career outlook I had in the military. It’s so easy to say “I want to have this job, then I’ll promote, then I want this duty station,” it’s all very laid out for you. I want that same drive to bounce from one goal to the next, but need to find out what that looks like as a civilian. I also want to give back and serve in some way. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I want to find a way to give back in some way other than just with my family.
When thinking of who I respect the most I think about the people who’ve had the biggest impact on my life… the list is too long to put here. I always immediately say my dad, who’s one of my greatest heroes. He has always put his family first, even if it means sacrificing career goals, his hobbies, or even sleep. I know that there were a lot of avenues in his life where he had other career opportunities, but he decided not to take them to give his kids a stable upbringing. He has always been steadfast and level-headed throughout my whole life. If there’s one person I could emulate, it would be him.

Even though I was only there for three years, Ranger leaders forever changed who I am. The best leaders were disciplined and always held themselves and others to the highest standard achievable. I saw many who always put others first in everything they did, and truly cared about the individual. There was one time my wife and son were visiting me at work for lunch. Our Battalion Commander came in to talk with our commander but instead of doing that, he spent 10 minutes speaking with my wife and son before even going into the commander’s office. That lesson was worth a thousand words. Or for example, the first thing the Regimental Commander said to JT and me at the finish of BRC was, “Good job you guys. Hey JT, where are your parents? I haven’t gotten to meet them yet.” He was concerned about the competition, sure, but he was hyper-aware of what it meant to us and our families on a personal level. Of course, I can’t leave out the NCOs. I’ve been wrong a lot, but every time I was, I had guys who had done the job for years straighten me out and put me on the right path. Not to mention how many times they made me look damn good and never took a bit of the credit. ” - Luke Ebeling
Luke Ebeling and team at BRC '23
In the vibrant landscape of Luke Ebeling's life, the rhythmic cadence of childhood adventures in Lakewood, CO, and the aspirational dream kindled by a neighbor's Ranger tales paint a vivid narrative. Luke's odyssey unfolds through the corridors of ROTC at Montana State, navigating later into the logistical landscapes of Ordinance—a unique military trajectory converging toward the esteemed 75th Ranger Regiment. At the zenith of his military saga stands the triumphant conquest over The Best Ranger Competition in 2023. Transitioning gracefully to the civilian realm, Luke's narrative finds roots for his next chapter of life at Google.

We hope this will catalyze introspection. Encouraging those in our orbit to consider the impact of mentorship, the power of setting and achieving goals, and the profound shifts that life's priorities can undergo. In the quiet echoes of Luke's journey, we find a resounding truth—that life's most formidable peaks are not the ones we climb, but the ones we face within ourselves.
As Luke Ebeling continues to pursue fitness, career goals, and family aspirations, his journey raises questions about the intersection of personal and professional pursuits. What future peaks await in the landscape of his life? Likewise, let us ponder our trajectories—what summits do we aim to conquer, and what legacies do we hope to leave behind?

Also in Ascend Together Initiative

Project Athena Foundation
Project Athena Foundation

July 01, 2024

"I would have to say that this journey with Project Athena has been the most life-altering experience since my son was born. This adventure and the incredible group of people were the therapy I never knew I needed. It gave me a purpose that I so needed. The 16-week training plan held me accountable and pushed me through mental and physical barriers. It lit a fire under me to do something wonderful for myself and step out of my shell. This experience allowed me to meet the most amazing people that I will be lifelong friends with." - Christy Edwards, 2023 Harbor to Cove.
The National Ranger Association
The National Ranger Association

April 01, 2024

We, as humans, are created to be connected and in relationship with one another. Post-service life can present unique challenges, including a loss of camaraderie, routine, purpose, and identity. The National Ranger Association focuses on cultivating and stewarding relationships to benefit our United States Army Rangers through collaboration with active duty members, civilians, industry, and veterans. They are committed to preserving the rich legacy of Rangers, safeguarding the present, and paving the way for future generations.
Respect Camp: Jon Turner
Respect Camp: Jon Turner

March 29, 2024

Growing older it was clear that being outside and engaged with military culture were two of the greatest influences in my life. My family would often let me wander the wooded area alone at age 6, exploring the environment from multiple lenses - one being that of wonder towards the diverse ecosystem while trying to understand how everything worked, and the other from this pseudo-tactical/ survival perspective, sneaking around and blending into the environment with the intent of becoming a commando, a survivalist, someone who could sustain themselves with what was provided. Fieldcraft has been a part of my life for the entirety of my existence.