Great Swamp Fight
The Great Swamp Fight, or the Great Swamp Massacre, was a crucial battle fought during King Philip's War between colonial militia of New England and the Narragansett tribe in December of 1675. In the decade between when Metacomet, known to the colonists as King Philip, assumed power after the death of his brother, Philip began laying careful, secret plans to attack and exterminate the English settlers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. He slowly built a confederation of neighboring Indian tribes. He also gathered muskets and gunpowder for the eventual attack, but only in small numbers in order that the English would not be alarmed. Led by a Native guide, Indian Peter, on December 19, 1675 on a bitterly cold storm-filled day, the main Narragansett fort in modern South Kingstown, Rhode Island was found and attacked by the colonial militia from Plymouth Colony, Connecticut Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony. Led there by an Indian guide, the militia were able to reach the fort because an unusually cold late fall had frozen the swamp, making an assault possible. The massive fort, which occupied about 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land and was initially occupied by over a thousand Natives, was eventually overrun after a fierce fight. The Native fort was burned, its inhabitants, including women and children, killed or evicted and most of the tribe's winter stores destroyed. It is believed that about 300 natives were killed though exact figures are unknown. Many of the warriors and their families escaped into the frozen swamp; there hundreds more died from wounds combined with the harsh conditions. Facing a winter with little food and shelter, the whole surviving Narragansett tribe was forced out of the quasi-neutrality some had tried to maintain in the ongoing war and joined the fight alongside Philip. The colonists lost many of their officers in this assault and about seventy of their men were killed and nearly 150 more wounded. The dead and wounded colonial militiamen were evacuated to the settlements on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay where they were buried or cared for by many of the Rhode Island colonists until they could return to their homes. The Great Swamp Fight was a critical blow to the Narragansett tribe from which they never fully recovered. In April 1676, the Narragansett were completely defeated when their chief sachem Canonchet was captured and soon executed. On August 12, 1676 the leader of the Wampanoag sachem, Metacomet (also known as King Philip) was shot and killed by John Alderman, a Native American soldier in Benjamin Church's company. King Philip's War, one of the greatest native uprisings in New England, had failed.
COL Benjamin Church
During King William's War, Church led four New England raiding parties into Acadia (which included most of Maine) against the Acadians and Native Americans. On the first expedition into Acadia, on September 21, 1689, Colonel Benjamin Church and 250 troops defended a group of English settlers trying to establish themselves at Falmouth, Maine (present-day Portland, Maine). Natives killed 21 of his men, however, he was successful and the natives retreated. Church then returned to Boston leaving the small group of English settlers unprotected. (The following spring, May 1690, over 400 French and native troops under the leadership of Castin returned to Falmouth and massacred all the British settlers in the Battle of Fort Loyal. When Church returned to the village later that summer he buried the dead.)
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. After the American Revolutionary War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. They called for the formation of 10 rifle companies from the middle colonies to support the Siege of Boston, and late in June 1775 Virginia agreed to send two. The Virginia House of Burgesses chose Daniel Morgan to form one of these companies and serve as its commander with the rank of captain. Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles (970 km) to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. He led this outstanding group of marksmen nicknamed "Morgan's Riflemen." What set Morgans Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifled barrels with thin walls which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets. Morgan used this advantage to initiate guerrilla tactics by which he first killed the Indian guides and the British officers that led the troops. While this tactic was viewed as dishonorable by the British elites, it was in fact an extremely effective method that created chaos and discord for the British Army.
The Indiana Rangers were a mounted militia formed in 1807 and operated in the early part of the 19th century to defend settlers in Indiana Territory from attacks by Native Americans. The rangers were present at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and served as auxiliaries to the army during the War of 1812. At the peak of their activities they numbered over 400 men.Harrison disbanded the Indiana Rangers in 1809. In 1807, a family of settlers was attacked by a band of Native Americans. The father was killed, and the wife and five children five children were taken into captivity. The incident sparked outcries for better protection along the route, and Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison organized the Rangers to provide a fast response to attacks, primarily as a deterrent to random American Indian raids. The primary objective of the Rangers was to safeguard the Buffalo Trace, the main transportation route between Louisville, Kentucky and the Indiana Territory's capital of Vincennes, Indiana (and Illinois Territory), starting on 20 April 1807. The first Indiana Rangers who patrolled the road in 1807 did so on foot. The Rangers had three divisions: Captain William Hargrove's 1st Division patrolled from the Wabash River to French Lick. The 2nd Division patrolled from French Lick to the Falls of the Ohio. One of their bases was at Cuzco, Indiana. The 3rd Division secured an area East along the Ohio River to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on the Ohio border. All Rangers were paid $1 per day, and were required to supply their own horse, ammunition, tomahawk, a large and small knife, and a leather belt. Although the mounted militia units lacked uniformity, the men–and sometimes women –were well trained. In keeping with their mission, the Indiana Rangers were involved in numerous incidents involving Native Americans. Native Americans and white settlers were considered to be at peace during this time, and the early Rangers were so effective that clashes between Native Americans and white settlers effectively ended. Harrison disbanded the Indiana Rangers in 1809. As tensions between settlers and Native Americans increased, the Indiana Rangers were reactivated. Two Rangers companies were based out of Vincennes, Indiana. Prior to the War of 1812, attacks by American Indians became frequent in Indiana Territory. Some, such as the Pigeon Roost Massacre, are still remembered. During the war, the Rangers were used to augment larger armies. Colonel William Russell used the Rangers to supplement his infantry in the 1812 Peoria War, and General Samuel Hopkins utilized the Rangers in his Second Tippecanoe Campaign (1812), where several were killed at the Battle of Wild Cat Creek. In 1813, the federal government authorized an additional four Ranger companies to secure Indiana Territory. The new companies consisted of 100 men each, and as before, they armed and equipped themselves. The officers of the rangers were paid the same as those regular army officers of the same rank. Those with horses were paid a dollar a day, and those without horses were paid 75 cents a day. One of the new ranger companies authorized in 1813 was commanded by Captain James Bigger, a veteran of the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe, although he later had to go to court for recognition of his services with the Rangers. Another of the new rangers was John Ketcham, who built Ketcham's Fort and would later become a judge. John Tipton served as a major in command of two companies of rangers at Fort Vallonia during the War of 1812. He would later become a United States senator, and is the namesake of Tipton and Tipton County, Indiana. The US War of 1812 ended in January of 1815. The Indiana Rangers inspired the creation of the more famous Texas Rangers. Read the WHOLE Story Here
Mosby Captures GEN Stoughton
Mosby is famous for carrying out a daring raid far inside Union lines at the Fairfax County courthouse in March 1863, where his men captured three Union officers, including Brig. Gen. Edwin H. Stoughton. Mosby wrote in his memoirs that he found Stoughton in bed and roused him with a "spank on his bare back." Upon being so rudely awakened the general indignantly asked what this meant. Mosby quickly asked if he had ever heard of "Mosby". The general replied, "Yes, have you caught him?" "I am Mosby," the Confederate ranger said. "Stuart's cavalry has possession of the Court House; be quick and dress." Mosby and his 29 men had captured a Union general, two captains, 30 enlisted men, and 58 horses without firing a shot.
1st Ranger Bn (WWII)
After much deliberation, Captain William Orlando Darby, a graduate of West Point with amphibious training, was chosen as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Promoted to major within a few weeks of receiving this assignment, Darby performed the impossible by organizing the unit. Of the 1500 men to volunteer for the original Ranger Battalion, only 600 were chosen and on June 19, 1942, the 1st Ranger Battalion was officially activated. Read the WHOLE Story at WWIIRangers.com
29th Prov. Ranger Bn
On Monday, 4 February 1943, ten officers and 166 enlisted men and NCOs of the 29th Infantry Division were sent to Achnacarry, Scotland. The British Commando instructors called this unit, which was undergoing Ranger training, the 2nd Ranger Battalion. However, another American unit also had that designation, so the Rangers in the battalion and the American staff officers called them the 29th Ranger Battalion, named after its division. Major Randy Millholland of the 115th Infantry Regiment, the battalion commanding officer, instructed his men to "keep their eyes and ears open and their mouths shut." Millholland, a tough, energetic officer, was widely respected. The Ranger trainees were immensely proud of their battalion and did not want to be sent back to their old units as instructors in Ranger tactics. Soon after the proud Rangers completed their training, two of them accompanied a raiding force of British Commandos during an attack on one of the Channel Islands. One of these Rangers covered the withdrawal of his group, killing three German soldiers and wounded several others. By the time of this raid, the 29th Battalion had grown to include four Ranger infantry companies and one headquarters company. The following is from an article entitled, “29th RANGER BATTALION (Dec. 1942 – Nov. 1943)” by J. Robert Slaughter which appeared in the Twenty-Niner Newsletter in July 1993. Mr. Slaughter was a member of the Provisional Rangers. More information can be found regarding the 29th Provisional Rangers and the illustrious history of Maryland’s 29th division at the Maryland Museum of Military History, Fifth Regiment Armory, 29th Division Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Many 29ers aren't aware that almost 500 volunteers from the 115th, 116th and 175th Infantry regiments were recruited into an elite hit-and-run strike force whose mission would be to gather enemy intelligence. commit disruptive sabotage or simply to raid-in-force enemy installations. This unit was called the "29th Provisional Ranger Battalion. There were a few men recruited from other than infantry regiments of the Division. I am aware of a young American who joined the Canadian Army in 1939 and transferred to the 29th Rangers. Lt. Ed McNabb was stationed in England and on the staff of Eighth Air Support Command when he heard of the formation. He, like many of us eagerly signed up. In December 1942, a memo was sent to troops stationed in England, most of whom were from the 29th Infantry Division, asking for volunteers for a Provisional Ranger Battalion. Recruits weren't hard to find. Over 1,000 men readily volunteered, then had to pass rigid physical and mental examinations. That was the easy part. After a few weeks of training at Tidworth, the candidates were sent north to Scotland for what many have said was the toughest training they ever went through. Taking the course during wintertime didn't make life any easier. The austere Commando Depot at Achnacarry House, Spean Bridge, was located in the highlands and near beautiful Loch Lochy..
2nd Ranger Bn (WWII)
The 2nd Ranger Battalion was activated on April 1, 1943 at Camp Forrest, Tullahoma, Tennessee. Shortly thereafter, then Major James E. Rudder, took command. Notices were sent to many military camps for volunteers from all branches of the Army for the formation of the new Ranger Battalion, the first to be trained in the United States. Qualifications for acceptance required strong physical capabilities and high intelligence. The selected best of the many volunteers became the 2nd Ranger Battalion and were to be trained and made ready for the invasion on D-day of the European Continent. The training was first provided by experienced combat-proven officers and NCOs who were assigned from the 1st Ranger Battalion commanded by Col. William O. Darby. The Rangers had to have the highest physical stamina and superior mental ability to perform as an outstanding fighting team in order to accomplish any given mission. Read the WHOLE Story at WWIIRangers.com
3rd Ranger Bn (WWII)
At the end of its small part in the Tunisian Campaign in late April 1943, the 1st Ranger Battalion entrained for Nemours, a tiny coastal port near the Western boundary of Algeria with French Morocco, and there, with volunteers from units then in North Africa, formed the Third, Fourth and reconstituted First Ranger Battalions under Colonel William Orlando Darby. The Third, cadred by A and B of the Old First, was led by Herman Dammer who had the legs and stamina of a Bactrian camel. It opened Sicilian doors for Truscott's 3rd Division from Licata West to near Marsala. During this phase, the Battalion accounted for thrice its numbers in enemy casualties, at small cost to itself. Read the WHOLE Story at WWIIRangers.com
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Rangers Lead the Way: D-Day
The original plans had also called for an additional, larger Ranger force of eight companies (Companies A and B of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the entire 5th Ranger Battalion) to follow the first attack, if successful. Upon reaching the fortifications, most of the Rangers learned for the first time that the main objective of the assault, the artillery battery, had been removed. The Rangers regrouped at the top of the cliffs, and a small patrol went off in search of the guns. Two different patrols found five of the six guns nearby (the sixth was being fixed elsewhere) and destroyed their firing mechanisms with thermite grenades. The added impetus these 500 plus Rangers provided on the stalled Omaha Beach landing has been conjectured to have averted a disastrous failure there, since they carried the assault beyond the beach, into the overlooking bluffs and outflanked the German defenses.
2nd Ranger Inf Co (Abn), Korea
The first Ranger Airborne Assault was conducted by the 2d Airborne Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) on March 23, 1951 at the battle of Musan-Ni. What made this Airborne assault history-making is not just that it was the first performed by a Ranger Company, but also it was conducted by the only all Black Airborne Ranger Infantry Company in the US Army's history. Once on the ground, the men of the 2d Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) attacked Hill 151, and in brutal fighting including close quarters battle with bayonet and rifle butt, the Rangers captured their objective within two hours of parachuting from the sky under enemy fire.
Co D (RGR) 151st Infantry
Just under 7000 Army National Guardsmen served in the Vietnam War. Of these, only one unit would stay together from activation and serve in combat as a National Guard unit. Company D (RANGER) 151st Infantry, was the only National Guard Infantry unit to serve in Vietnam. In November 1965, the Indiana National Guard's newly-formed, 1st Battalion (Airborne) 151st Infantry, and its parent 38th Infantry Division were members of the Selected Reserve Force(SRF). SRF units were to be among the first selected in the event of a wide-spread reserve call-up by the president.The 38th Infantry Division fully expected to be called to active duty, and the inclusion of an airborne battalion was thought to be highly valued. However, despite the Joint Chiefs of Staff's recommendation for reserve forces to be mobilized for service in Vietnam, the Department of Defense decided not to use them and no large-scale call-up of reservists ever materialized. As a result of the DOD's reorganization of the National Guard, in 1967, several National Guard Divisions were broken up and realigned. Although the 38th Infantry Division survived, it was forced to lose its coveted airborne infantry battalion. Indiana Adjutant General, John S. Anderson was able, however, to retain enough airborne qualified personnel to form two long range patrol (LRP) companies, under the auspices of the Military Department of Indiana (MDI). This resulted in the formation of Delta & Echo Companies (LRP), 151st Infantry. The assets of the two units were later used to form a single company; designated Company D. No other single Army Infantry company was as decorated during a one-year period of time as the Indiana Rangers.
Activation: Rangers in Vietnam
On 1 January 1969, under the new U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS), U.S. Army Rangers were re-formed in South Vietnam as the 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger). Fifteen companies of Rangers, two of which (A-75 & B-75) were based in the USA, were raised from units that had been performing missions in Europe since the late 1950s and in Vietnam since 1966 as Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol and Long Range Patrol companies. These new Rangers were given a unit genealogy traced to Merrill's Marauders. In Vietnam, the Rangers were organized as independent companies: C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O and P (With one notable WWII exception, since 1816, U.S. Army regiments have not included a Juliet or "J" company. Each company from the 75th Infantry (Ranger) was assigned to a major US army combat unit: · C Company-I Field Force RVN (Republic South Vietnam) · D Company-II Field Force RVN · E Company-9th Infantry Division RVN · F Company-25th Infantry Division RVN · G Company-Americal Division (also known as the 23rd ID) RVN · H Company-1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile); also known as the 1st Air Cav Division RVN · I Company-1st Infantry Division RVN · K Company-4th Infantry Division RVN · L Company-101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) RVN · M Company-199th Light Infantry Brigade RVN · N Company-173rd Airborne Brigade RVN · O Company-82nd Airborne Division (3rd Brigade) RVN · P Company-5th Infantry Division (1st Brigade/Mechanized) RVN Rangers in Vietnam conducted long range reconnaissance into hostile territory. They collected intelligence, planned and directed air strikes, acted as force-multipliers in conventional operations, assessed aerial bombing damage in enemy-controlled areas, executed hunter-killer missions, both day and night, conducted ambushes, and specially-trained and specially-equipped Ranger snipers killed selected enemy personnel. Read the WHOLE Story at the US Army Ranger Association web site
N Co (RGR), 75th INF (ABN), 173rd ABN BRD (Separate)
Company N (Ranger), 75th Infantry established a base camp at Landing Zone (LZ) English, Bong Son, RVN from which to launch their deep penetration missions behind or within enemy controlled areas. The173rd Abn Brigade had assumed the mission of "pacification" of the Bong Son plains Company N (Ranger), 75th Infantry would become a Ranger screen while the Brigade was on pacification. The TO&E specified that the November Rangers would consist of 3 officers and 72 enlisted personnel. The assigned officers served as the Commander, Executive Officer and Operations Officer. Twelve operational teams of six men each composed entirely of enlisted personnel. The remaining enlisted personnel had the duties of platoon sergeant, Tactical Operations Center (TOC), supply and administration. Missions for the Ranger company were typically 3 -5 days with a 2 day break in between for debriefing, rest and preparation for the next mission. The Rangers were operating in the mountainous terrain of the An Lao , An Do, Suoi Ca, Crows Foot valleys; the Highland Fishhook; and Nui Ba and Tiger Mountains of northern Binh Dinh province which bordered the I Corps area. This area of responsibility was to remain the domain of N company for the remainder of the war. The brigade Tet-69 campaign lasted from 9 February to 26 March 1969 and marked the first independent employment of a Ranger company in screening operations of the Vietnam war. During this period which was typical of Ranger operations, N Company conducted over 100 Long Range Patrols that resulted in 134 sightings of enemy personnel and 63 enemy killed by direct action, 5 prisoners and a much larger number of enemy killed by Ranger-sponsored indirect fire and reaction elements. The Rangers casualties for this period was 1 KIA, 20 WIA and none captured or missing. In November 1969 the brigade permanently increased the size of the company to full company strength of 128 Rangers. Acceptance into the Rangers was based upon factors of a GT score of 100 or higher, no physical or mental impairments and voluntary request for the Ranger company. All prospective personnel were interviewed prior to acceptance and full acceptance was not granted until the volunteer had completed a period of individual training conducted by the company and had participated in a few patrols to prove his abilities. Training was a combat mission for volunteers and a high speed approach to training. Company N, (Ranger), 75th Infantry received numerous experimental systems to maximize performance. Nine (9) millimeter pistols with silencers were sent to the company from civilian firms in the United States, they were used to take out the NVA/VC sentries that guarded base camps and weigh stations. An experimental system for firing electronically detonated claymores that were daisy chained (Widow Makers) became a staple of Ranger ambushes. November company personnel were called upon to conduct special contingency missions such as the BRIGHT LIGHT mission of prisoner rescue and the destruction of the VC infrastructure throughout Binh Dinh province. During April 1971 the Brigade Commander finally put the unofficial black beret on a Ranger's head during a ceremony that honored the men of the Ranger company for an earlier action. The beret had been denied the Rangers primarily because of senior officer opposition to further distinctions between unit paratroopers. On 25 August 1971, Company N (Ranger), 75th Infantry was solemnly deactivated. The Rangers of Company N (Ranger), 75th Infantry performed with exceptional courage and valor throughout their existence and service in Vietnam, two years and 6 months. Today, the modern Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment continue the traditions of being the premier fighting element of the active army. The traditions and dedication to their fellow RANGERS continues!!
Recognizing the need for a highly trained and mobile reaction force, the chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Creighton Abrams, in the fall of 1973, directed the activation of the first battalion-size ranger qualified personnel since World War II. Headquarters, Forces Command, issued General Order 127, directing the activation of the 1st Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry, with an effective date of Jan. 31, 1974. At this time the 1/75th Infantry Battalion (Ranger) was authorized to wear the black beret as distinctive headgear with the Distinctive Unit Insignia and the Ranger Crest.
R ecognizing 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. A cknowledging 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 further, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier. N ever 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. G allantly 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. E nergetically 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. R eadily 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! When the Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Creighton Abrams ordered the formation of the Ranger Battalions in 1974, he directed that they would be the elite, setting the standards for the Army. Maintaining a code of ethics, a Ranger philosophy to live by, the Ranger Creed written by CSM Neal R. Gentry would encompass this philosophy and would be the hallmark of the spirit, discipline, and duty of all Rangers in peace and war. CSM Gentry was handpicked to serve as the first CSM for the 1st Ranger Battalion. Still today, the Ranger Creed is a way of life; a guide for how Rangers conduct themselves. It is the source that binds through loyalty the individual to his Ranger buddies and to his unit..
Urgent Fury (Grenada)
The U.S. Army's Rapid Deployment Force (1st, 2nd Ranger Battalions and 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers), U.S. Marines, U.S. Army Delta Force and U.S. Navy SEALs and other combined forces comprised the 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica, and members of the Regional Security System (RSS)defeated Grenadian resistance after a low-altitude airborne assault by the 75th Rangers on Point Salines Airport on the southern end of the island while a Marine helicopter and amphibious landing occurred on the northern end at Pearl's Airfield shortly afterward. The military government of Hudson Austin was deposed and replaced by a government appointed by Governor-General Paul Scoon until elections were held in 1984.
Activation of 3/75
Following operation “Urgent Fury”, in Grenada, the Department of the Army ordered the activation of the 3rd Battalion. In April 1984, a small cadre arrived at FT. Benning, GA to begin the selection process. Rangers from all over the world were interviewed, selected and moved to FT. Benning. On October 3, 1984 at York Field, FT.Benning, GA, the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John O. Marsh, presented the colors and activated the 75th Ranger Regimental Headquarters and the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. The activation of the Regimental Headquarters and the 3rd Battalion marked the first time since World War II that such a large Ranger force had been activated. On December 20, 1989, 3rd Ranger Battalion was committed to Operation “Just Cause”, in Panama. The Battalion’s successful airfield seizure of the Rio Hato Airfield, its participation with 1st Battalion at Torrijos/ Tocumen Airfield, and subsequent combat operations contributed significantly to the United States victory in Panama. In August 1993, Elements of Company B, 3rd Ranger Battalion and the Battalion Headquarters deployed to Somalia as part of Task Force Ranger, were on October 3, 1993 exactly nine years from the activation of the unit , they performed a courageous daylight assault where they engaged in the most intense ground combat since the Vietnam war. In commemoration of the Rangers who fought and died in Somalia, several members of Company B deployed to Morocco in 2001 to appear in the movie “Blackhawk Down”. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 3rd Ranger Battalion was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On the night of October 19,2001 Components of Companies A, and C conducted a daring low level parachute assault onto Objective Rhino, a desert airfield in south western Afghanistan, in order to capture key logistical information. During follow on missions, company B, 3rd Battalion minus accomplished a successful night parachute assault into Bastogne DZ to secure a desert landing strip in support of a special operations raid.Due to growing terrorist attacks and terrorism overall throughout the world, the President of the United States, George W Bush, Jr. declare war on terrorism and the Global War on Terrorism campaign begins in the early months of the year 2002. Once again 3rd Battalion was called upon to fight against terrorism, but this time it would be to aid in Operation Iraqi Freedom. A few weeks later, company A 3rd battalion and sections of HHC 3rd Battalion carried out a successful parachute assault on H2 Airfield in Western Iraq. On the night of March 31, 2003, Company B 3rd Battalion gained a foothold of the Hadithah Dam complex and fought off elements from the Iraqi Republican Guard’s Hammurabi Division over the course of the next week.
Operation Just Cause
The invasion of Panama, known as Operation JUST CAUSE, was an unusually delicate, violent, and complex operation. Its key objectives were the capture of Manuel Noriega and the establishment of a democratic government. America applied overwhelming combat power during the invasion, seeking to minimize loss of life and destruction of property, and to speed the transition to friendly relations. The U.S. had bases located there, and U.S. troops had a long-standing relationship with the Panama Defense Forces (PDF). American SOF personnel, having been based in Panama, were acutely aware of the delicate nature of the mission and were instrumental in achieving U.S. objectives. During Operation JUST CAUSE, the special operations component of Joint Task Force South (the overall invasion force) was the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF). The JSOTF, commanded by Major General Wayne A. Downing, was organized into smaller task forces: TF RED (the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment), TF BLACK (Army Special Forces), and TF WHITE (SEALs and Special Boat Unit assets). These task forces were supported by Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units, Army Special Operations helicopters, and USAF air commando units. THE OPENING MISSION The JSOTF's principal H-Hour missions were the capture of Noriega and the destruction of the PDF's ability to fight. As it turned out, the U.S. forces did not know Noriega's location at H-Hour; accordingly, the JSOTF focused on the H-Hour missions against the PDF. The attack on the Comandancia (the PDF's headquarters in Panama City) and the rescue of an American citizen from the adjoining prison (the Carcel Modelo) were the responsibility of a joint task force that included Special Forces ground elements, SOF helicopters and AC-130 gunships, and TF GATOR [M-113 armored personnel carriers and soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry (Mechanized)]. Because of indications that H-Hour had been compromised, the attack on the Comandancia began 15 minutes early, at 0045 on 20 December 1989.TF GATOR was responsible for moving M-113s to blocking positions around the Comandancia and the prison, and then, in conjunction with the AC-130 and AH-6 gunships, attacking and leveling the PDF headquarters. Maneuvering to the blocking positions, they came under increasingly heavy sniper fire from PDF soldiers in buildings (including a 16-story high rise) on the west side of the Comandancia and prison complex. TF GATOR suffered some wounded and one killed while moving to their blocking positions. Near the target, TF GATOR encountered roadblocks; the M-113s squashed some roadblocks and went around others. The heavy enemy fire, coming from various directions, continued as the armored personnel carriers began their assault on the Comandancia. At 0045, the revised H-Hour, AC-130s and AH-6s started firing upon the Comandancia area. The PDF shot down the lead AH-6, but its crew managed a controlled crash in the Comandancia courtyard. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time as the AC-130s were pounding the Comandancia. By keeping their wits about them, they evaded both enemy and friendly fire for over two hours, made it to the back wall (where they captured a PDF soldier), climbed the wall, and linked up with a TF GATOR blocking position. By now buildings in the compound were ablaze, and the smoke obscured the area for the AC-130 firing. One TF GATOR element was fired upon by an AC-130, wounding 12 soldiers. A second AC-130 volley about an hour later wounded nine more. At first, the soldiers believed that they had been attacked by PDF mortars, but during the second volley, they realized it was coming from the AC-130 and called through the fire support network to end the shooting. During the attack on the Comandancia, a rescue force had entered the prison and freed the American citizen. The helicopter carrying part of the rescue force and the former prisoner was shot down and crashed in an alley to the north of the prison. Everyone on board, except the former prisoner, was injured to one degree or another, but the rescue force reacted as they had trained, formed a defensive position, contacted a TF GATOR blocking element, and were evacuated by M-113s. TF GATOR kept the Comandancia isolated during the day of 20 December and continued to receive sporadic sniper fire. That afternoon, Company C. 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment arrived from Omar Torrijos International Airport to clear the Comandancia. All of these forces then engaged in follow-on missions. Task Force RED Task Force RED was the largest component of the Joint Special Operations Task Force. It consisted of the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment reinforced by contingents from the 4th Psychological Operations Group (PSYOP) and 96th Civil Affairs (CA) Battalion, and included Air Force Special Tactics teams and Marine Corps/Naval Gunfire liaison troops. Close air support aircraft included AH-6 attack helicopters from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, AC-130H gunships from the 1st Special Operations Wing, and from the conventional forces, AH-64 Apaches and F-117A fighter-bombers. The task force was to perform two simultaneous airborne assaults at H-Hour (0100 on 20 December 1989). One contingent would parachute onto the Omar Torrijos International Airport/Tocumen military airport complex, while another would drop onto Rio Hato airfield. Upon securing these objectives, TF RED would then link-up with conventional forces for follow-on combat operations. THE ASSAULT ON TORRIJOS/TOCUMEN AIRFIELD Omar Torrijos International Airport was the main international airport serving Panama, and the adjoining Tocumen military airfield was the home base of the Panamanian Air Force. Capturing Torrijos/Tocumen was crucial to the JUST CAUSE campaign plan because it would enable the 82nd Airborne Division to come into the country, while preventing the 2nd Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) Company and the Panamanian Air Force from interfering with American operations. The Torrijos/Tocumen complex formed a target area approximately six kilometers long and two kilometers wide. The TF RED commander, Colonel William F. "Buck" Kernan, gave the mission of capturing Torrijos/Tocumen to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, commanded by LTC Robert W. Wagner. The Rangers had a tight schedule to seize this complex - an 82nd Airborne Division brigade was supposed to jump onto the complex only 45 minutes after H-Hour to start follow-on missions. First Battalion's three companies were augmented by Company C, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, PSYOP teams, a Civil Affairs team, two AH-6 attack helicopters, Air Force Special Tactics teams (combat controllers and pararescuemen), and an AC-130H gunship. LTC Wagner's plan called for the helicopters and AC-130H to attack the PDF positions at H-Hour, just prior to the Ranger parachute assault. After parachuting in, Company A would seize the Panamanian Air Force compound and destroy the aircraft. Company C, reinforced with a platoon from Company B, would seize the 2nd PDF compound and destroy the PDF Company. The rest of Company B, reinforced with 12 gun jeeps and 10 motorcycles, would clear both runways and establish blocking positions to prevent other PDF forces from interfering with the battalion's operations. Finally, Company 3rd Battalion would clear the smaller building near the Torrijos terminal, isolate the terminal building, and then enter the terminal building and destroy PDF resistance there. Prior to the attack, three combat controllers and one pararescueman placed navigation beacons near the end of the runway. The attack began at 0100, with the AC-130H and AH-6s opening fire on PDF positions on the airfield. The AH-6s eliminated three targets while the AC-130H fired on the 2nd Rifle Company's barracks and headquarters building. It should be remembered that TF GATOR and other units had attacked the Comandancia in Panama City 15 minutes early, at 0045, which meant the PDF at Torrijos/Tocumen knew of the invasion prior to the Rangers' airdrop. At 0103, the first jumpers left their company A received only sporadic fire and secured all of its objectives within two hours after capturing virtually the entire Panamanian Air Force on the ground. The company captured about 20 Panamanian Air Force personnel hiding in one of the hangars. Company B also landed on target and quickly secured its blocking positions. Like Company A, it received only sporadic enemy fire and took some prisoners. The biggest problem Company B had was with Panamanian vehicles ignoring its warning signs and barricades and trying to run its blocking positions. Generally these vehicles turned around and fled after the Rangers fired warning shots, but one vehicle had to be disabled by shooting out its tires. One of the vehicles that fled from warning shots contained Manuel Noriega who had been visiting the Cereme Military Recreation Center. Company C assaulted the barracks of the PDF's 2nd Company and received only ineffective enemy fire; they quickly cleared the area killing one PDF soldier who had refused to surrender. Company C, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment was to secure the international air terminal, and this proved to be the only portion of the assault on Torrijos/Tocumen that was significantly more difficult than expected. First, one-fourth of the company landed in ten-foot tall cunna grass to the west of the runway and took two hours to join the main body. The depleted Company C had no trouble securing its objectives outside the terminal building, however, and the troops were impressed with how completely the AH-6s had destroyed the guardhouse outside the terminal and killed the two guards there. The 3rd platoon seized the fire station on the north side of the terminal and then received fire from the second floor of the terminal. These Rangers entered the terminal from the north, where they encountered two surprises. First, two civilian flights had arrived just prior to H-Hour, and about 400 civilians were in the terminal. The other surprise was that the PDF troops defended the terminal more determinedly than anywhere else in the Torrijos/Tocumen complex. When two Rangers searched one of the airport's huge men's rooms on the second floor, two PDF soldiers jumped out of a stall and shot one of the Rangers several times with a pistol. The other Ranger returned fire and, with the assistance of two more Rangers, dragged his wounded buddy out of the men's room. In the process, the Ranger pulling the wounded man was himself shot twice in the back of the head, but his Kevlar helmet stopped both rounds. From outside the men's room door, the unhurt Rangers threw in grenades, but the men's room stalls protected the PDF soldiers. The Rangers then re-entered the men's room and waited for the PDF to show themselves. The Rangers got the better of the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle. One of the PDF soldiers was killed in the men's room while the other was knocked out of the window; he fell two stories and almost landed on a Ranger patrolling outside. When the PDF soldier tried to draw his pistol, the Ranger killed him. Meanwhile, the 2nd Platoon entered the terminal from the south and started clearing the building, with one squad on each of the three main floors. Enemy soldiers opened fire on the third floor, but the Rangers' counterattack drove them from the terminal, and they cleared the rest of the third floor without incident. The situation on the first floor was more difficult; about ten PDF troopers had taken two American girls hostage. When their escape route led them right into the Ranger security detail stationed outside the terminal, they fled back inside, where 2nd Platoon Rangers cornered them after several exchanges of fire. At 0500, after a tense two-and-a-half-hour standoff, the Rangers announced they were going to come in shooting. Rather than face an all-out assault, the holdouts then released their hostages and surrendered. Later that morning, at about 1100, the 82nd Airborne Division assumed operational control of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and began operations out of Torrijos/Tocumen. Likewise, Company C, 3rd Battalion was put under the operational control of TF BAYONET to clear La Comandancia at 1500 on 20 December. The Ranger's extensive training in airfield seizure and building clearing, along with their detailed mission plan, were key factors in their successful seizure of the Torrijos/Tocumen complex with minimal collateral damage and casualties. THE ATTACK ON RIO HATO AIRFIELD The Panamanian military base near the small village of Rio Hato was located 65 miles west of Panama City. It contained a large airfield and was home to two PDF companies: the 6th Rifle Company (Mechanized), equipped with 19 armored cars, and the 7th Rifle Company, an elite counterinsurgency force known to be loyal to Noriega. In addition, the base housed a PDF engineer platoon and PDF training schools. TF RED'S mission was to destroy PDF forces and seize the airfield for follow on missions. The total number of PDF forces was estimated to exceed 500 men; these units, particularly the 7th Rifle Company, were expected to offer stiff opposition to the TF RED forces. The Rio Hato military base ranged along the coastline of the Gulf of Panama, with the airfield runway nearly perpendicular to the shoreline. The barracks for the 6th and 7th Companies were on the runway's southwest side. There were a number of beach houses along a dirt lane to the south of the runway; Manuel Noriega owned (and occasionally used) one of them. To the west of the runway, and above the 6th and 7th Companies' barracks, was the PDF school complex. The Pan American highway bisected the airfield. The TF RED commander, Colonel Kernan, led the forces assaulting Rio Hato, which included the 2nd Ranger Battalion, the 3rd Ranger Battalion (minus one company, used in the Torrijos/Tocumen assault), and elements of the 4th Psychological Operations Group, Civil Affairs assets, Air Force Special Tactics teams, and Marine Corps Air/Naval Gunfire liaison troops. Aerial fire support was provided by two F-l 17A fighters, two AH-64 and four AH-6 helicopters, and one AC-130H gunship. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions split the responsibility for taking and holding ground: the 2nd was to parachute into the area along the southern edge of the runway and around the PDF Barracks and engage the enemy, while the 3rd was to jump farther north, securing the area from counterattacks and clearing the runway. Thirteen C-130 transports were cross loaded with Rangers from both battalions. The aircraft were to approach from the south, with the 2nd Battalion soldiers parachuting first and the 3rd Battalion troops jumping second. The 2nd Battalion's Company A would assault and clear the PDF school complex. Company B, 2nd Battalion would assault the 7th Company from the east, and if it was still effective after destroying that unit (planners had anticipated 30 percent casualties), it would push westward and clear the 6th Company area. If Company B suffered excessive casualties, Company C would take over the assault. If Company B did not need reinforcement, then Company C would seize Noriega's beach house. Though the Rangers wanted the F - 117As to hit the PDF barracks, the bombing targets had been changed to an area near the barracks in the hope of frightening, rather than killing, the PDF. The bombs landed on schedule, at H-Hour, although one missed its target and exploded harmlessly near the beach. The AH-6s and AC-130H aircraft immediately followed with attacks on their designated targets. Of particular importance, the AC-130H destroyed two anti-aircraft positions before the Rangers jumped. In spite of the three minute air attack, the Rangers jumped into effective anti-aircraft machine-gun fire.Eleven of the aircraft carrying Rangers were hit, and one Ranger was hit by anti-aircraft fire while still in the aircraft. The jump, however, went on as scheduled at 0103. Those Rangers who had jumped into Grenada in 1983 for Operation URGENT FURY judged the enemy fire to have been heavier at Rio Hato. Once on the ground, the 2nd Battalion Rangers saw a lot of tracers, but were able to return fire and assemble without too much trouble. The PDF troops apparently had left their barracks upon learning that the U.S. troops were coming and had either set up defenses on and around the airfield, or fled. As planned, Company A assembled before the other units and moved up to clear the school complex. As Company A was advancing on the school complex, Company B began its assault on the 7th Company area. After using demolition charges to blow holes in the wall surrounding the compound. Company B moved in and set about clearing each building, room by room. Having cleared the 7th's area without serious losses, Company B continued to push west and had begun clearing the 6th Company area by dawn on 21 December. Company B's success freed Company C to assault Noriega's beach house area two hours after H-Hour, and the Rangers cleared the house by morning. Company B finished clearing the 6th Company barracks area that morning as well and, with all of its initial assault objectives secured, continued to advance west into the small village inhabited by the families of the PDF troops. The Rangers detained all the adult males found there for questioning, assuming the vast majority were PDF troops in hiding. The 3rd Battalion Rangers, who were loaded first in each of the 13 C-130s, jumped after the 2nd Battalion. By the time they jumped into the warm. humid night, the PDF knew they were coming. The 3rd's airborne assault included heavy "drops" of four jeeps and six motorcycles. Company A's motorcycles were to race north along the runway and screen the Americans from possible counterattacks, while the Company B jeep teams were to establish blocking positions and watch for possible PDF activities. When the Company A Rangers jumped, they scattered from south of the Pan American Highway to well north of it. This company's primary mission was to neutralize the .50 caliber machine gun positioned on the concrete and stone entryway leading to the Rio Hato airfield. By happenstance, the company's executive officer and a few other Rangers landed within 30 feet of the entryway: they killed the PDF gunner as he was firing at the other Rangers parachuting to the ground and took possession of the fortified position. Other Company A elements had begun to clear the NCO academy headquarters and classroom areas. The Rangers encountered more PDF soldiers than expected, and in the words of LTC Joseph Hunt. 3rd battalion commander, these PDF soldiers "gave them a good run for their money for about 30 minutes." As the Rangers aggressively cleared the NCO academy buildings, the Panamanian soldiers abandoned their resistance and fled from the advancing Rangers. Company A Rangers did capture about 167 cadets. Without their superior fire discipline and training, the Rangers could have easily attacked these cadets before learning that they were unarmed, frightened, and eager to surrender. Within an hour of H-Hour. Company A had secured its objectives. Company B, 3rd Battalion severed the Pan American Highway on the east side of the airfield. There was more traffic on the Pan American Highway than expected, and the blocking element fired warning shots at a few vehicles to force them to turn around. The largest Company B element concentrated on clearing the runway south of the highway so that aircraft could begin landing, and this proved more time-consuming than anticipated. The Rangers quickly removed such obstacles as barrels, barbed wire, and trucks, but needed extra time to pick up the hundreds of parachutes left behind by the airborne assault. Company B Rangers also took control of the air traffic control tower. Approximately 1.5 hours into the operation, the Rangers finished clearing the runway, and C-130s began landing with more people and additional supplies. The Rangers who were assigned to end PDF resistance north of the Pan American Highway encountered a surprising amount of PDF opposition. Here, as night turned to dawn, some PDF soldiers conducted a deliberate withdrawal, fighting from building to building through a small built-up area. A Ranger element engaged the PDF and called for fire support from two AH-6 helicopter gunships. The gunships fired on the buildings, but unbeknownst to the pilots, an element of Rangers moved into a tree line to flank the PDF. As the gunships came around for a second pass, one pilot saw movement in the trees and, believing they were PDF soldiers, fired upon the Rangers, killing 2 and wounding 4. The movement of the Rangers into the tree line had not been radioed to the AH-6 pilots. Having secured the military complex on 20 December, the Rangers conducted follow on missions out of Rio Hato for the next three days. At 2200 on 20 December. Company A, 2nd Battalion left Rio Hato aboard special operations helicopters and, at 0230 on the 21st, took over security for the American embassy in Panama City. That same day, the Rangers participated in one of the early surrender missions - what became known as the "Ma Bell" Campaign - when COL Kernan brought the PDF leaders of the Penonome Prison and 6th Military Zone Headquarters to Rio Hato to discuss their forces' surrender. Later, with an AC-130H circling overhead, the 3rd Battalion's Company A accepted the surrender of the town's garrison; then, the Rangers demonstrated a "dry run" assault on the prison, showing the Panamanians what would have happened to them if they had resisted. Word of this display of force and surrender quickly spread throughout the remaining cuartels in the countryside. After relocating to Howard AFB, the Rangers, in conjunction with Special Forces soldiers, conducted the "Ma Bell" surrender of David, a major city in western Panama. The Rangers also performed stability operations in areas around Panama City. In response to civil disturbances and continued PDF and Dignity Battalion (Noriega's paramilitary supporters) activities, the 2nd Battalion, 75th Rangers set up operations in Area of Operation (AO) Diaz, an area containing the towns of Alcalde Diaz and Las Cumbres, on 27 December. With the assistance of PSYOP forces, they created a visible American presence by establishing checkpoints and blocking positions, and running "saturation" patrols and night ambushes. While in AO Diaz, the Rangers rounded up former PDF and Dignity Battalion members and seized several caches of weapons. The American presence of Rangers, PSYOP, and Civil Affairs soldiers stabilized the area and allowed the new government to reestablish control. The Rangers came out of Panama with a number of lessons learned. The tactical plan was well prepared, coordinated, and rehearsed, enabling the successful completion of their missions. JUST CAUSE validated the Rangers' mission essential procedures and techniques, and their responsiveness to contingencies. Lessons learned included recognizing the importance of intelligence gathering and management; planning logistical support for follow-on missions; emphasizing training and equipping the regiment for military operations in urban areas; and enhancing the regiment's interaction with conventional and joint forces through the use of liaison elements.
Battle of Mogadishu
The Battle of Mogadishu, more commonly referred to as Black Hawk Down or, locally, as the Day of the Rangers (Somali: Maalintii Rangers), was part of Operation Gothic Serpent and was fought on 3 and 4 October 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, between forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II, and Somali militiamen loyal to the self-proclaimed president-to-be Mohamed Farrah Aidid who had support from armed civilian fighters. A U.S. Army force in Mogadishu, consisting primarily of U.S. Army Rangers from Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment; C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), better known as "Delta Force"; as well as Air Force Combat Controllers and Air Force Pararescuemen and helicopters from 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, attempted to seize two of Aidid's high-echelon lieutenants during a meeting in the city. Shortly after the assault began, Somali militia and armed civilian fighters shot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The subsequent operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters drew the raid, intended to last no more than an hour, into an overnight standoff in the city. The battle resulted in 18 deaths, 80 wounded, and one helicopter pilot captured among the U.S. raid party and rescue forces. One Pakistani soldier and one Malaysian soldier were killed as part of the rescue forces. American sources estimate between 1,500 and 3,000 Somali casualties, including civilians; SNA forces claim only 315 killed, with 812 wounded. The battle is now referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the Second Battle of Mogadishu of 2006.
Rangers swap Black Beret for Tan
On June 14, 2001 the U.S. Army Rangers assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment were authorized to wear a distinctive tan beret to replace the black berets that had become the army-wide standard, under orders from General Shinsecki. This controversial change brought a great deal of criticism down on Shinsecki. Since then, the Army has ordered soldiers to wear the patrol cap instead of the black beret with the field uniform.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018