Lynn Burnett – Army Ranger Confronts Challenges

 Becoming an Army Ranger was Lynn Burnett’s dream.

As light infantry experts assigned to Special Operations, Army Rangers form an elite corps of highly trained, qualified, and determined soldiers. They are leaders through and through.

One of the first steps is getting through Ranger School.

“It is 68 days of pure hell on earth,” Lynn says. “We were so hungry, we ate grass. By the end, we’d each lost 60 to 70 pounds. The idea is to make you wish you were dead, but not give up, and stand by your unit.”

After 66 days in the extreme conditions of a Florida swamp, all the soldiers were near the breaking point.

“With two days left in training, I was ready to give it up,” Lynn says. “I would have when we were ordered back into that swamp, if it weren’t for the one soldier who picked up his gear and started marching. Our entire unit found strength enough to follow him back in.”

That’s the power of leadership.

Reflecting on 13 years of distinguished military service – as a machine gunner, ranger instructor, platoon leader, and combat patrol leader – Lynn says the biggest challenge came after graduating from Officer Candidate School, when he served as a different kind of leader.

“When I signed into the Ranger battalion, I was pretty conspicuous,” he says. “I didn’t realize it going in, but I was its first black officer.” A few years later, Lynn was one of the first black Amway Independent Business Owners as well. “Being the only black person in a room makes a person feel like a fish out of water,” he says. “Not that people were racist. It’s simply that I stood out.”

That is no longer the case. Lynn and Jo, his wife of 18 years, appreciate the diversity that’s come to this business since then … as well as the leadership it’s always had. “Its leaders have already safely stepped through the land mines,” Lynn says.

“We just have to follow. We’re in it for life and proud that even our daughters, Grace (8) and Hannah (4), can be a part of it.”

Lynn Burnett, IBO since 1994 | Founders Emerald – Achieve Magazine Heroes, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2009

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