Though Veritas’s recruiting strategies haven’t been made public, the firm often taps personnel with backgrounds in law enforcement, the military or the intelligence community. Brannon Hardegree fits the mold, a “former” Army Ranger (75th Ranger Regiment).
According to the U.S. Army website:
“ . . . Rangers are more than just physically strong, Rangers are smart, tough, courageous, and disciplined. Rangers are self-starters, adventurers, and hard chargers. They internalize the mentality of a "more elite Soldier", as the Ranger Creed states and as their intense mission requirements demand.”
Like all of the special operations forces, the path to becoming an Army Ranger is incredibly difficult. After Basic Training and Advanced Individual training, and three weeks at the Airborne School, those who wish to take the next step move onto either RASP1 or RASP2 (the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program). RASP is a eight week program from which, at best, only 10-30% of candidates actually graduate.
Some continue on to the Ranger School as well, a brutal two month training course that pushes the Ranger far past physical and mental exhaustion. Phases include extensive training in the mountains, the woods and swamplands. In short, these soldiers are honed into one of the most dangerous fighting forces on earth.
At the time Brannon was on the mission, women were not allowed to participate in Ranger School, but when the rules changed two completed the course in 2016. Though some detractors insisted that the Rangers had somehow “lowered” their standards so they could pass, that was certainly the not the case.
Brannon served for ten years, rising to a rank of first lieutenant, before resigning his commission. He admits it was one of the hardest decisions he’d ever made, but he knew it was time to come home. After being de-commissioned, he drifted for a few months, trying to decide what to do next (private security was one of his options), then fate sent him toward Veritas. After helping shut down a “for profit” teen offender sentencing scam, run by a corrupt judge, he joined Veritas full time.
After being offered “lead” on this mission (code-name KILLING GAME), Brannon began extensive research into domestic militias, including New America, the group lead by Quinton Ellers. Brannon’s decision to go deep undercover, hoping to connect directly with Ellers to determine his plans, was hotly debated at Veritas. Some felt the risk was too great, others felt it was justified. Finally, after much discussion, Brannon convinced his boss (Crispin Wilder) that if anyone could pull it off, it would be him.
“I wasn’t worried about working on my own. I could handle the undercover aspects of the mission. What was difficult was spouting the ‘party line’ with these assholes, but it was the only way to get them to trust me,” he said. “Just listening to these guys made me ill sometimes. They love to run their mouths about the Constitution and personal freedom, but only when it serves their cause.”
In the end, KILLING GAME proved to be an incredibly difficult and dangerous mission, one with complications that no one, not even Brannon, anticipated. Fortunately his training, his courage and his partner (a former U.S. Marine) were up to the task.
Next up is the background dossier on "former" Marine Sergeant Caitlyn Landers.