There was a feeling of patriotism at the New Canaan YMCA leading into the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

On May 24, Sgt. Derek Brookshire arrived at the Y's Valles Pool in full pool combat gear ready to take the Ranger Water Survival Test, the third of five he must complete for entrance into Army Ranger School.

"Army Ranger School is the Army's premier leadership school," Capt. Shelley Carey, who administered the test, said.

The survival test is comprised of a distance swim wearing full pool combat gear, dry land exercises to strengthen the mind and body, a three-meter blind drop wearing full gear and an equipment-removal station where Brookshire was required to fully submerge himself and then remove

all equipment

before exiting the

pool.

In addition to Carey, Sgt. 1st Class Chris Barber was also on hand for the test as a safety swimmer.

Brookshire successfully completed the 30-minute physical test and was congratulated with applause by Y staff

who had stopped by the pool to support the sergeant.

Originally from Norwalk, Brookshire joined the Army for active duty in 2002 at

the age of 18.

He then joined the Army Reserve in 2006 and went back into active duty in 2008.

He has been deployed three times, twice in Iraq as an infantryman and once in Afghanistan as a sniper.

Now that he has passed the test, Brookshire will take the final two Army Ranger School entrance tests this July.

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