While Anton Hopkins walks in the Chicago Loop to his civilian job at L.E.K. Consulting, many don’t see the “rough” man who stands ready “to do violence” on behalf of the United States so others can “sleep peacefully in their beds” - as the famous quote goes.
But Illinois Army National Guard 1st Lt. Anton Hopkins is a U.S. Army Ranger-qualified infantryman with the military and leadership skills to support and defend the U.S. Constitution and our democracy. Hopkins completed the intense 62-day, three-phase Army Ranger School on Oct. 13 after first attending the National Guard’s Ranger Training and Assessment Course in June.
Ranger School starts at Fort Moore in Georgia and includes mountain and swamp training. Less than half of the Soldiers who started the course with Hopkins were able to finish it. And Soldiers are intensely screened just to get into the course.
In uniform, Hopkins is the sniper section and scout platoon leader for the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment based in the General Richard L. Jones Armory on Chicago’s South Side.
Are there any parallels between stealthily slipping through neck-deep water in a coastal Florida swamp laden with an M249 machine gun, ammunition, and ruck-sack and helping corporations improve operations and strategy? Hopkins says they are complementary.
“The environments might be different, but there are parts of the military training that are helpful” in the corporate world, he said. "There's how to make decisions under stress, work well with others, and think on your feet."
Hopkins, who just turned 30, is happy to be back to Chicago and his normal job with L.E.K Consulting. He loves Chicago for its vibrancy. Off duty you might see him running along the lakefront or venturing out camping or hiking.
“Believe it or not, I still look forward to camping after Ranger School,” he said. “It will be nice to sleep in a tent, light a campfire - things that would 'violate noise and light discipline' and cause detection at Ranger School."”
Hopkins is grateful to the Illinois Army National Guard for the opportunity to go to Ranger School. “I’ve wanted to do it for a while,” he said. He was the oldest Soldier in his squad at the school, "is mostly attended by Soldiers from the elite 75th Ranger Regiment and recent graduates of the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course."
Back with the 1-178th, he has two sergeants and a specialist in his platoon who are also Ranger qualified. "These Soldiers set the example for me and our platoon. I am excited to be back with them now as we lead the platoon in good, tough training,” he said.