Name/Rank: 1SG Ray L. Kinney

Job Title: S3 Operations NCOIC / Airborne Infantry (LRS) Company 1SG

  • Unit: Company H 121st Infantry (Airborne)(Long Range Surveillance)

  • Years served: 25 years

  • Tours? 2 +1 upcoming

Q&A from a Veteran to another

1) Why did you join the military?

Found out my parents were divorcing so I figured I'd need money for college. Hence, I joined the Army. 25 years later I'm still here! I'd say it got into my blood and I could never let it go.

2) What was your most eventful, yet dumbest decision you have made as a private? And how did it turn out for you?

Hell, I can barely remember being a private! However I was a private 4 times! I had an uncanny ability to get irritated and tell my First Sergeant to stick it where the sun didn’t shine. Obviously, he would reach out and remove my rank and back down to slick sleeve I would go! Seeing's how I'm a First Sergeant now, I'd say it worked out pretty good! Gave me a lot of knowledge of what not to do I could pass on to the lower enlisted.

3) Airborne All The Way! How many jumps do you have? And Which jump was your most epic?

I have 40 ish +/- jumps and am a graduate of the United States Army Jumpmaster Course (1st time go) Currently I am a senior rated parachutist/jumpmaster. My most epic jump was a night blast at 2130 at FSGA. My chute's toggles were jacked to pieces and I could not steer. As I was headed into the trees I thought this is going to be painful. Luckily I made it through the trees and right when my feet hit the ground, my chute got hung in the trees and I was able to execute a stand up landing. Best jump ever

4) The funniest thing you have seen "Joe" do? (I know there is a lot haha)

Where do I begin? We had to drive to North Carolina to pick up a "joe" and bring him back to Georgia for formation. When we got to him he had no recollection of how he got to North Carolina. He was pretty banged up, physically, and had betadine all over him. To this day he has no recollection of what happened, who he was with, or how he got into the situation.

5) What is your "Go-To" war movie or TV show?

Band of Brothers or The Pacific.

6) I know you're qualified in both, but if you had to pick: INFANTRY or CAV?

I'd Have to say my time in the Airborne Infantry. There is nothing that compares to hanging outside of a C-130 or UH-60 with a full combat load and then Parachuting into a mission/field exercise. My time with Co H 12st IN (ABN)(LRS) has been, thus far, the pinnacle of my time in the Army.

**7) If you had to choose 1 out of the 4 people to go to war with, who would it be? lol

  • Caitlyn Jenner

  • Mickey Mouse

  • Amy Schumer

  • Justin Bieber**

Mickey Mouse without a doubt. He has never faltered on who he is or what he is about. Steadfast, tried and true.

8) What is the best advice you can give for a senior in High School that wants to join the Army?

Do the most bad ass, SPECOP job you can! Do it while you're young and your body can take the damage. Don’t get in your 30's and realize you should have done all the "cool guy" stuff. By then it may be to late!

9) What are your thoughts about the deactivation of H Company LRS 121st IN (ABN)?

Drones and AI will never be able to do the job of a highly skilled LRS Paratrooper. The organization will see the error of dismissing this asset in the future and by then the knowledge base will have been long gone from the formation and will take a long time to get the level of proficiency back in the ranks in order to be most effective. This has been proven time and time again over the years.

10) How do you relate to Gold Star Vodka?

Gold Star is all about the people it represents. In my position it has to be about the people and the organization I represent. Striving to always be the best is what it's all about, and in my opinion that’s what Gold Star does. If you're not in constant pursuit of being the best and always seeking knowledge then what the hell are you doing there in the first place.

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