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75th Ranger Regiment (United States)

{{Infobox Military Unit |unit_name= 75th Ranger Regiment |image=|caption=75th Ranger Regiment coat of arms |nickname= Airborne Rangers
Army Rangers |size=Three battalions |motto= "Rangers lead the way" |colors= |march= |ceremonial_chief= |type= Special Operations Light Infantry |branch=United States Army |dates= {1st Battalion formed June 19, 1942} 1974–Present |country=United States |allegiance= |command_structure=U.S. Army Special Operations Command |size=Three battalions |specialisation=Conducting conventional or special Light-Infantry operations
Conducting direct action operations
Conducting raids and Airfield Seizure |challenge= |identification_symbol= |identification_symbol_label=Shoulder Sleeve Insignia |response= |current_commander= COL Richard D. Clarke |garrison=Fort Benning, Georgia |battles= World War II
*Operation Torch
*Operation Husky
*Allied invasion of Italy
*Operation Overlord
*Philippines Campaign
Korean War
Vietnam War
Operation Eagle Claw
Armed Forces Expeditions - Grenada
Armed Forces Expeditions - Panama
War in Southwest Asia
Armed Forces Expeditions - Somalia
Afghanistan Campaign
Iraq Campaign |notable_commanders= |anniversaries= }} The 75th Ranger Regiment (Airborne) is a military unit of the United States Army. The Regiment, headquartered in Fort Benning, Georgia, operates as an elite light infantry special operations force of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) .

The Regiment is composed of rapidly-deployable light infantry forces with specialized skills that enable them to perform a variety of conventional and special operations missions – airborne, air assault, and direct action operations, raids, infiltration and exfiltration by air, land, sea, airfield seizure, recovery of personnel and special equipment, and support of general purpose forces (GPF), among other uses. Each Ranger battalion is expected to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours' notice.

History

Origin

American Ranger history predates the Revolutionary War. Captain Benjamin Church formed Church's Rangers, which fought hostile Native American tribes during King Philip's War. Major Robert Rogers formed a Ranger unit to fight during the French and Indian War. They would become known as the "Rogers' Rangers." The Continental Congress formed eight companies of expert riflemen in 1775 to fight in the Revolutionary War. In 1777, this force of hardy frontiersmen commanded by Dan Morgan was known as The Corps of Rangers. Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox", organized another famous Revolutionary War Ranger element known as "Marion's Partisans."

During the War of 1812, companies of United States Rangers were raised from among the frontier settlers as part of the regular Army. Throughout the war, they patrolled the frontier from Ohio to Western Illinois on horseback and by boat. They participated in many skirmishes and battles with the British and their American Indian allies. The American Civil War included Rangers such as John Singleton Mosby who was the most famous Confederate Ranger during the Civil War. His raids on Union camps and bases were so effective, part of North-Central Virginia soon became known as Mosby's Confederacy. After the Civil War, more than half a century passed without military Ranger units in the United States.

Early battalions

The three battalions that comprise the modern Rangers were originally World War II Ranger battalions. The 1st Ranger Battalion was organized and activated on June 19, 1942, at Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. The 1st Ranger Battalion participated in the North African landing at Arzeu, Algeria, the Tunisian Battles, and the critical Battle of El Guettar. The 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions were activated in Africa near the end of the Tunisian Campaign. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Battalions formed the Ranger Force. They began the tradition of wearing the scroll shoulder sleeve insignia, which has been officially adopted for today's Ranger battalions. The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions participated in the June 6, 1944, D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, Normandy. It was during the bitter fighting along the beaches that the Rangers gained their motto, "Rangers, lead the way!" They conducted valiant missions to include scaling the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, overlooking Omaha Beach, to destroy German gun emplacements trained on the beachhead. The 6th Ranger Battalion operated in the Philippines and formed the rescue force that liberated American Prisoners Of War from a Japanese POW camp at Cabanatuan in January 1945. The 6th Battalion destroyed the Japanese POW camp and evacuated more than 500 prisoners. It was during the campaigns in the China-Burma-India Theater that the regiment became known as Merrill's Marauders after its commander, Major General Frank Merrill. The Ranger Battalions were deactivated at the close of the war.

The beginning of the Korean War in June 1950 again signaled the need for Rangers. Seventeen Korean War Ranger Companies were formed during the war. The Rangers went to battle throughout late 1950 and early 1951. They were attached first to one regiment and then to another. They performed "out front" work – scouting, patrolling, raids, ambushes, spearheading assaults, and as counterattack forces to regain lost positions.

The Rangers were reorganized once more on January 1, 1969, as the 75th Ranger Infantry Regiment (Airborne) under the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System. Fifteen separate Ranger companies were formed from this reorganization. It is from this regiment that the modern 75th Ranger Regiment directly descends. Thirteen Ranger companies served in the Vietnam War until inactivation on August 15, 1972.

Modern battalions

At the end of the Vietnam War, division and brigade commanders saw that the U.S. Army needed an élite, light infantry capable of rapid deployment, so, in 1974, General Creighton Abrams created the 1st Ranger Battalion; eight months later, the 2nd Ranger Battalion was created; and, in 1984, the 3d Ranger Battalion and the regimental headquarters was created. In 1986, the 75th Ranger Regiment was formed and their lineage formally authorized. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Ranger Battalions were also re-activated, becoming the Ranger Training Brigade, the instructors of the modern day Ranger School. As parts of a TRADOC school, the 4th, 5th and 6th Ranger Battalions are no longer included in the 75th Ranger Regiment.

In 1980, elements of the 1st Battalion participated in the failed attempt to rescue the American hostages held in Tehran, Iran in Operation Eagle Claw. In October 1983, 1st and 2nd Battalions spearheaded Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada by conducting a bold low-level parachute assault to seize Point Salines Airfield and rescue American citizens at True Blue Medical Campus.

In 1989, the entire 75th Ranger Regiment participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama. Rangers spearheaded the action by conducting two important operations. Simultaneous parachute assaults were conducted onto Torrijos/Tocumen International Airport, Rio Hato Airfield and Manuel Noriega's beach house, to neutralize Panamanian Defense Forces. The Rangers captured 1,014 enemy Prisoners of War and over 18,000 arms of various types.

Elements of Company B, and 1st Platoon Company A of the 1st Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia from February 12, 1991 to April 15, 1991, in support of Operation Desert Storm. Over three years later, in August 1993, Company B of the 3rd Battalion deployed to Somalia to assist United Nations humanitarian forces as part of Operation Restore Hope. On October 3, 1993, the Rangers conducted a daring daylight raid with Delta Force operators to capture two of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid lieutenants. For nearly 18 hours, the Rangers fought Somali guerrillas in what became the fiercest ground combat for U.S. military personnel since the Vietnam War.

The 1st and 2nd Battalions and a Company of the 3rd Battalion were deployed to Haiti in 1994. The operation was canceled within five minutes of its execution when a team of negotiators, dispatched by President Bill Clinton and led by former President Jimmy Carter, was able to convince General Raoul Cédras to relinquish power. Elements of the 1st and 2nd Battalions operated in-country while order was being restored. This is also the first operation where the U.S. Army was the primary operating force on a U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS America. The ship had Special Operations Forces from USSOCOM composed of Rangers, Special Forces, and other special warfare groups.

On November 24, 2000 the 75th Ranger Regiment deployed Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment Team 2 and a command and control element to Kosovo in support of Task Force Falcon.

After the September 11 attacks, Rangers were called upon to participate in the War on Terrorism. On October 19, 2001, the 3rd Battalion spearheaded ground forces by conducting an airborne assault to seize "Objective Rhino" in Afganistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On March 28, 2003, the 3rd Battalion employed the first airborne assault in Iraq to seize "Objective Serpent" in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Due to the changing nature of warfare and the need for an agile and sustainable Ranger Force, the Regimental Special Troops Battalion was activated July 17, 2006. The RSTB conducts sustainment, intelligence, reconnaissance and maintenance missions which were previously accomplished by small detachments assigned to the Regimental headquarters and then attached within each of the three Ranger battalions.

Honors

The 75th Ranger Regiment has been credited with numerous campaigns from World War II onwards. In World War II, they participated in 16 major campaigns, spearheading the campaigns in Morocco, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio and Leyte. During the Vietnam War, they received campaign participation streamers for every campaign in the war.

In modern times, the regiment received streamers with arrowheads (denoting conflicts they spearheaded) for Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq.

To date, the Rangers have earned six Presidential Unit Citations, nine Valorous Unit Awards, and four Meritorious Unit Commendation, the most recent of which were earned in Vietnam, Haditha, Iraq, and Vietnam, respectively.

Mottos

Ranger motto: Rangers Lead the Way!

On June 6, 1944, during the assault landing on Dog White sector of Omaha Beach as part of the invasion of Normandy, then Brigadier General Norman Cota (assistant CO of the 29th ID) calmly walked towards Maj. Max Schneider (CO of the 5th Ranger Battalion) while under heavy machine gun fire and asked “What outfit is this?” Someone yelled "5th Rangers!" To this, Cota replied “Well then goddammit, Rangers, lead the way!” From this, the Ranger motto ("Rangers lead the way!") was born.

Regimental motto: Sua Sponte

Sua Sponte, Latin for "Of their own accord" is the 75th Ranger Regiment's regimental motto. Modern Rangers are three-time volunteers: for the U.S. Army, Airborne School, and service in the 75th Ranger Regiment (although it was previously stated that Rangers are four-time volunteers, Ranger School is not an immediate requirement of service in the 75th Ranger Regiment for junior enlisted men).

Modern Rangers

Becoming a Ranger

To become a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment, prospective Rangers must be qualified in their MOS and be Airborne qualified.

New soldiers with Ranger contracts attend nine weeks of Basic Combat Training (BCT), followed by Advanced Individual Training (AIT), the United States Army Airborne School and finally Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) one immediately after the other.

Soldiers already Airborne-qualified transferring from other units are separated into two groups: grades E-5 and below will attend RIP, while grade E-6 and above (including officers) will attend the Ranger Orientation Program (ROP). Upon graduation of RIP/ROP, the new Rangers will be assigned to either one of the three Ranger Battalions, the 75th Regimental Headquarters or the newly formed Ranger Special Troops Battalion (RSTB), where they are now authorized to wear the Ranger tan beret, the Ranger Scroll of their parent unit and the distinctive black physical training uniform.

Continued training

Career development requires that all members of the 75th Ranger Regiment successfully complete Ranger School, earning the Ranger Tab. Rangers in direct combat MOSs are not permitted to become leaders within the 75th Ranger Regiment without the Ranger Tab. Rangers in non-combat MOSs are strongly encouraged, as well.

Throughout their time in Ranger Regiment, Rangers may attend many types of special schools and training. Some of these schools include: military free-fall; combat diver qualification course; survival, evasion, resistance & escape (SERE); jumpmaster; pathfinder; Combatives Instructor; ranger first responder/combat lifesaver; language training; Mountain Warfare School; and many types of shooting, driving, and assault procedures training. Rangers with specialized jobs may also attend various special schools and training related to their job scope. MOS 13F (forward observers) may attend naval gunfire training and close air support courses; medics will attend the special operations combat medic course; communications specialists attend joint communications courses.

RFS/RFM

Being a USASOC unit, the Rangers maintain high standards for their personnel. If at any point, a Ranger is deemed by his superiors to be failing to meet these Ranger Standards, he can be relieved and removed from the 75th Regiment. This is commonly referred to as being RFSed, short for "Relieved For Standards". A Ranger can be RFSed for virtually any reason; ranging from lack of motivation to disciplinary problems.

Similarly, a Ranger physically incapable of performing his mission through prolonged illness or injury can also be removed from the Regiment through a process referred to as RFM or "Relieved For Medical reasons". Rangers who were relieved typically end up either in non-combat units located on the same post or in airborne combat units located elsewhere, such as the 82nd Airborne Division.

Controversies

The term Ranger

After the formation of the Ranger School the term "Army Ranger" became a point of some controversy which still exists. While those that served within Ranger units tend to reserve the term exclusively for their peers who serve in the Regiment, many outside of the Ranger units use "Army Ranger" to denote all servicemen who have successfully completed the Army's Ranger course. Officially, such servicemen are referred to as being "Ranger Qualified" and are allowed to compete in the annual David E. Grange, Jr. Best Ranger Competition.

Beret change

In June 2001, Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki gave the order to issue black berets to regular soldiers. At the time, black berets were being worn exclusively by the Rangers. This created a lot of discontent within the 75th Ranger Regiment and even led to retired Rangers going on nationwide roadmarches to Washington, D.C. to protest against the decision. Because there was not a Presidential authorization to the Regiment for exclusive wear of the black beret, they switched to wearing a tan beret to preserve a unique appearance, tan being reflective of the buckskin worn by the men of Robert Rogers' Rangers.

Ranger Creed

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move farther, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One-hundred-percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

Rangers lead the way!

Famous Rangers

See also

References

  1. USASOC (2003). 75th Ranger Regiment: Fact Sheet U.S. Special Operations Command. United States of America.
  2. 75th Ranger Regiment, A Documentary about the training and formation of the Ranger's (Military Channel)
  3. U.S. Army Ranger Association. U.S. Army Ranger Association. United States
  4. Inside Delta Force by CSM Eric Haney (one of the first Delta Operators, and participant in Operation Eagle Claw)
  5. GlobalSecurity.org Ranger history

Further reading

  • Bahmanyar, Mir. Darby's Rangers 1942–45. Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-1841766270.
  • Bahmanyar, Mir. Shadow Warriors: A History of the U.S. Army Rangers. Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2005. ISBN 978-1841768601. This book lists the lineage and history of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
  • Bahmanyar, Mir. U.S. Army Ranger 1983–2002. Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 978-1841765853.
  • Bowden, Mark. Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Berkeley, California: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999. ISBN 0871137380.
  • Bryant, Russ. To Be a U.S. Army Ranger. St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 2002. ISBN 0760313148.
  • Bryant, Russ, and Susan Bryant. Weapons of the U.S. Army Rangers. St. Paul, Minnesota: Zenith Press, 2005. ISBN 0760321124.
  • Bryant, Russ. 75th Rangers. St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 2005. ISBN 0760321116.
  • Grenier, John. The First Way of War: American War Making on the Frontier, 1607–1814. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-84566-1. Extensive discussion of American colonial rangers.
  • Shanahan, Bill, and John P. Brackin. Stealth Patrol: The Making of a Vietnam Ranger. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press, 2003. ISBN 0306812738.

External links

Official sites

Former Rangers websites

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