Army Rangers on Point Du Hoc

HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF THE ARMY RANGERS

THE TIMELINE OF AMERICAN
LARGE-SCALE SPECIAL OPS

While the modern 75th Ranger Regiment was established relatively recently, U.S. military units with the same operational philosophy as the Rangers have existed since before the American Revolution. On this page, you’ll learn about Robert Rogers’ famous standing orders, William O. Darby, and the Buffalo Rangers.

Commander Robert Rogers, creator of Rogers’ Standing Orders

Robert Rogers

Ranger history predates the revolutionary war. Robert Rogers famous “Rogers’ Rangers” used unconventional battle tactics during the French and Indian War.
 
His ingenuity was legendary. His soldiers were known to travel on sleds, snowshoes, even ice skates, and his force was one of the few non native units to operate effectively in inhospitable conditions.
 
Rogers wrote the “28 Rules of Ranging” as a guideline for his soldiers during the conflict. Over the years, Rogers' rules have been adapted in various ways, but the 75th Ranger Regiment considers the historical tenets as part of their heritage.

Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox

THE SWAMP FOX

A military officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, Francis Marion is known as one of the preeminent forefathers of unconventional warfare.
 
Marion, who earned the nickname “Swamp Fox” when a British officer despaired at the commander’s ability to maneuver his forces along swamp paths, was a master of quick surprise attacks on larger bodies of enemy forces.
 
Among his accolades, he is credited with preventing British forces from capturing Williamsburg, South Carolina at the Battle of Black Mingo and rescuing a small American force pinned down by 500 British soldiers in the Battle of Eutaw Springs.

John S. Mosby

WAR OF 1812 AND THE CIVIL WAR

Settlers and pioneers typically made up the bulk of Ranger-designated forces during the War of 1812.
 
These forces were primarily tasked with quelling American Indian activity along the frontier. Many famous men belonged to Ranger units during this time period, including Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln.
 
During the Civil War, Mosby’s Rangers, led by Confederate Col. John Singleton Mosby was known for raiding Union Army camps and sharing supplies with the local populace.
 
Mosby’s most well-known raid was a 30-man foray he led behind Union lines near the Fairfax County courthouse, capturing a general, two captains, 30 enlisted men and 58 horses without firing a shot.
 
His raids were so effective that part of Northern Virginia became known as Mosby’s Confederacy.

William O. Darby is considered the founder of the modern Ranger Regiment.

DARBY’S RANGERS

Ranger units saw sparse activity in the period following the Civil War. It wasn’t until World War II that the Army activated Ranger infantry battalions, which were overseen by William O. Darby.
 
Darby, an artillery officer who developed a fascination with the training practices and traditions of British Commandos, was assigned to oversee the creation of the new Ranger units. These new units were dubbed “Darby’s Rangers”.
 
The Rangers launched their first assault at Arzew in 1943. Darby led the attack himself and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
 
Darby trained the newly activated third and fourth Battalions in Africa, near the end of the Tunisian campaign. The first, third and fourth battalions formed the Ranger force, and they began the tradition of wearing the scroll shoulder sleeve insignia, which has been officially adopted into the modern regiment.
 
Darby was killed in action during the Italy campaign when an artillery shell burst in the middle of a group of assembled officers. He was posthumously promoted to brigadier general.

Officers in the all-black 2nd Ranger Company

THE BUFFALO RANGERS

Nineteen light infantry Ranger companies were involved in the Korean War, including the legendary 2nd Ranger Infantry Company, known as the "Buffalo Rangers". They were the first and only Ranger unit made up entirely by African American Soldiers.
 
The company, an airborne trained unit, was primarily used as an advance force to disrupt and push back Chinese attacks to the front. They are most noted for their actions during Operation Tomahawk and the Battle of the Soyang River.
 
During operation Tomahawk, the Rangers were tasked with dropping behind enemy lines to disrupt supply routes and force a retreat north of Seoul. They successfully surprised and overwhelmed Chinese forces, linked up with friendly forces and spent the next few days mopping up enemy resistance.
 
Their greatest contribution to the war effort was during the Battle of the Soyang River, where the 2nd Rangers conducted an artillery-supported double envelopment of an enemy terrain position on Hill 581. The Rangers captured the hill without losing a single man, inflicting more than 100 casualties on the enemy.
 
During the war, the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company earned four campaign streamers, nine Silver Stars and more than 100 purple hearts.

Soldiers in a LRRP unit (Lurp) during the Vietnam War

THE “LURPS”

Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP), known as “Lurps” (right) were widely used during the Vietnam War. These units were small, heavily armed patrols that penetrated deep into enemy territory to capture objectives and disrupt the enemy front.
 
During the conflict, Lurp platoons and companies were eventually attached to every unit. In January 1969, these units were re-designated as “Ranger”, within the 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger), a predecessor to the modern 75th.
 
In the Battle of Signal Hill, members of LRRP units were tasked with inserting by helicopter onto a mountaintop in the A Shau Valley known as Signal Hill. The hill would serve as a radio relay point for the larger attacking force set to assault the valley.
 
After sustaining heavy casualties, the LRRP platoons managed to hold the mountaintop for three weeks and helped ensure the success of the operation.
 
The Vietnam War marked the final major conflict where Ranger designated units were attached to regular infantry divisions. In 1973, with the establishment of the 1st Ranger Battalion, the Rangers became their own Special Operations force.

Army Ranger Unit in Afghanistan

THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

After the vicious attack against the homeland on September 11, 2001, the 75th Ranger Regiment immediately staged and prepared to “Lead the Way” in what came to be known as, the Global War on Terror.  Just as the Rangers did at Normandy in 1944, Grenada in 1983, and Panama in 1989, the Ranger Regiment spearheaded the initial ground invasion of Afghanistan.
 
On October 19, 2001, the Regimental Headquarters and 3rd Ranger Battalion conducted an airborne assault to seize a desert landing strip south of Kandahar known as Objective Rhino.  This forced entry operation began eighteen years of continuous combat operations for the 75th Ranger Regiment.
 
On March 4, 2002, a Ranger Quick Reaction Force departed on a no-notice mission to rescue a fallen U.S. Navy Seal.  Earlier in the day during Operation Anaconda, Naval Petty Officer Neil Roberts became stranded after a contested helicopter landing zone infiltration on Takur Ghar Mountain.  As the Ranger QRF approached the HLZ, it was engaged with a hail of deadly accurate automatic machine gun fire and rocket propelled grenades.  With one MH-47 forced to crash land and another forced to land at an offset HLZ, the Rangers began a pitched thirteen-hour battle to secure the 10,000-foot mountaintop.  The Rangers destroyed all Al-Qaeda linked militants and secured all fallen U.S. personnel.
 
While fighting our nation’s enemies in Afghanistan, the regiment was simultaneously called upon to provide forces for the invasion of Iraq.  The 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions, along with elements of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the Regimental Headquarters initiated combat operations in the western desert of Iraq to neutralize scud launch sites.  During these operations, the 1st Ranger Battalion conducted the first ever C-17 Air land Assault onto Objective Rattlesnake.  Simultaneously, 3rd Ranger Battalion conducted an airfield seizure (Objective Serpent); a critical airfield in a western Iraqi desert.
 
On April 1, 2003, the Regiment with elements of 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions executed a daring raid into the Fedayeen controlled city of Nasiriya.  The mission became known as one of the nation’s most successful POW rescues as it resulted in the safe return of PFC Jessica Lynch.  Meanwhile, 3rd Ranger Battalion continued the fight against the Iraqi Army and Fedayeen Saddam forces at the Haditha Dam in Anbar Province from April 3-4, 2003. The successful capture of this dam prevented its use as a weapon to impede the coalition ground attack.
 
As the majority of the Regiment redeployed to the United States in order to prepare for follow-on combat operations, 2nd Ranger Battalion conducted a raid onto Objective Reindeer resulting in 85 terrorists killed.  The Ranger Regiment remained a key component of the joint task force in Iraq for the duration of the operation from 2003 2010 and conducted more than 10,000 raids during this period, resulting in the defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the degradation of multiple enemy terrorist networks.
 
In 2007, due to the increased requirement to find, fix, finish, analyze, and exploit terrorist threats in a hybrid environment, the Regimental Special Troops Battalion was established to provide key enablers to the Regiment and Joint Task Force. Additionally, as operational tempo increased in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Regiment expanded its combat power with the creation of a fourth maneuver company in each battalion with the designation of Delta Company.
 
In 2009, as the nation renewed its efforts in the Afghan Theater, the commander of the Joint Task Force assigned the Regimental Headquarters as the mission command for JTF Operations in Afghanistan.  As the JTF Headquarters, the Regiment executed missions targeting senior leadership of Al Qaeda, Taliban and Haqqani terrorist networks.  These efforts enabled the surge of conventional forces to secure key terrain across regional commands in Afghanistan.

Army Ranger in Afghanistan

The Modern Ranger Regiment

In May 2017 saw the provisional activation of the Regimental Military Intelligence Battalion. The Battalion became a permanent part of the Regiment in October 2019. The RMIB recruits, trains, develops, and employs highly trained and specialized Rangers to conduct full spectrum intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber, and electronic warfare operations in order to enhance the commander’s situational awareness and inform his decision making process.In 2009, as the nation renewed its efforts in the Afghan Theater, the commander of the Joint Task Force assigned the Regimental Headquarters as the mission command for JTF Operations in Afghanistan.  As the JTF Headquarters, the Regiment executed missions targeting senior leadership of Al Qaeda, Taliban and Haqqani terrorist networks.  These efforts enabled the surge of conventional forces to secure key terrain across regional commands in Afghanistan.
 
Today, as conventional forces transition responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces, our nation continues to rely upon the Regiment as the decisive special operations raid force in Afghanistan and other areas around the globe. 

The Ranger Creed serves as the guiding principles for Rangers to use in their every day life.

RANGER CREED “N” and “G”

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.

Additional Information About U.S. Army Rangers