The Evolution of The 75th Ranger Regiment

Discussion in '75th Ranger Regiment' started by JackMurphyRGR, May 17, 2012.

  1. RetPara

    RetPara Verified SOF Support

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    Finally took some time to read the whole thread from the start. Holy Shit. WAD would either go ballistic or just nod his head. When we stood Regt HHC in '84 it was the biggest nut roll I have been involved in before or since. The closest I can come to describing the experience is not unsimilar to a woman giving birth... it's messy, noisey, uncomfortable, painful, and could end in disaster.

    We lost 60% of the officers and senior NCO's in HHC that first year (STILL can't figure out how I survived); most of which came from Batt's. The junior enlisted were just called Ranger. Few lasted long enough for us to get to know them very well. Ranger Dominguez (spelled wrong) came up with his Killer Man poster that lives on... He also made the "2" shop a porky pig That's All" slide to end briefings with. The writing of the first edition of the Regt FSOP was not pretty. I wrote some of the "2" stuff and have NEVER had grammar checked and my shit cross referenced for accuracy as that was. Pretty much everything that was done at the Batt's were thrown out. I kid you not sports fans. It was more conventional in mind set for appearance and such than anywhere else I ever was. While I was there we had one Batt command group relieved, and another Batt Cdr "request relief". We had a few of the inevitable the "get ready, get set,............................. turn your shit in and go home exercises. A couple of which I was thankful for..... (bear in mind when planning airborne operations in Africa; if your DZ is near a river or large body of water.... ensure that the potential of encountering VERY aggressive, fast, large crocodiles that firmly believe you are FAR below them in the food chain are in the 'hazards on the drop zone' part of the pre-jump brief.)

    While surviving my Regiment assignment did a lot for my career; I will always consider it the most difficult assignment of my career. It was incredible though to serve with people that have become legendary like SSG Harvey Moore and others.

    It's good to see the baby lived and grew up into an adult to be proud of.
  2. dknob

    dknob Ranger Verified SOF

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    CSM Birch was most definitely a pre-9/11 soldier, but he was far from the old guard Ranger. Dinosaur refers to the guys who lived and breathed the Regimental mentality (some type of mix between the French Foreign legion and the USMC). CSM Birch was open minded CAG shooter through and through who loved the 75th so much that he returned once in a while to keep us up with the times.
  3. goon175

    goon175 Ranger Moderating Staff

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    The "back story" of how everything came to be is just as interesting as where we are now, I knew nothing of some of this stuff, but it all makes so much sense.

    RetPara, they don't talk too much about the integration of the battalions into a Regiment, and I can only imagine how crazy that was. Was "conventionalizing" the force the direction that the new Regimental leadership wanted to take? Very interesting stuff.

    In reference to the retention rate, I believe it goes up and down with whatever senior leadership is in place at the time. My first 3 year in batt. the retention rate in our company was ridiculously high, very few wanted to leave. Then a new CSM came along and shit took a real quick reversal.

    I can't speak for the rest of the Army, but I believe that a good dipstick of how good the leadership is at any given time in Regiment is "what is the retention rate". If it's not good at the time, hard questions need to be asked.
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  4. RetPara

    RetPara Verified SOF Support

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    That was (then)Col Downing's guidance. He was one of the smartest people I ever met in the Army. He wrote a good number of articles for Military Review and the like. For all that he seemed very conventional minded to me. I believe he was told to bring the Battalions under control. 2nd Batt had started to go a little outside the box in relation to TTP's and such. When they came down for OUF, they came as SO Bn. By that I mean they left most of the PFC and below behind. Also they had shot an aggressor with a live round at JOTC. Then a Company Commander was killed in a mortar accident. 1st Batt was just as off in some ways, but they were closer to big Army and much more visible. I used to carry the "Black Book" around to the command group every week... So I had more one on one time with the command group than any other NCO in HHC.... Then I debriefed to my supervisory chain for an hour every word and nuance the command group said....:-x

    When we started jumping we had to go with the ARSOC ASOP.... THAT really threw the Batt Boys for a loop. They had been used to jumping exposed weapons.... You could do that with the ARSOC ASOP too.... BUT you had to rig so damn much padding and shit that it wasn't worth it. I had been jumping M-1950's for years. So I had to teach some of the other NCO's about them. One thing they did like was that you could jump it with a 20 round magazine in place.
  5. 275ANGER!

    275ANGER! Angry Member Verified SOF

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    You were a princess
  6. Brian1/75

    Brian1/75 Ranger Verified SOF

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    Retpara - Interesting stuff. I've heard so much stuff about the pre-Regimental era transitioning to the Regimental era. Lots of "You're not special anymore," or "we're going to work on just being a really good infantry unit," commands from the top followed by the old guys complaining and a mass exodus from the unit. I hadn't realized the guys, specifically the 2/75 guys were going a bit off the reservoir. I'd honestly like to hear more stories. The 75th still has to this day an identity crisis between being a flexible SOF unit and being an 'Imperial' Ranger Battalion. Goon knows what I'm talking about.
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  7. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Ranger Administrator

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    Lol, that makes me feel better!
  8. JackMurphyRGR

    JackMurphyRGR Ranger Verified SOF

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    With the help of the forum members I've rewritten and touched up the original article. I realize I can't make everyone happy but please keep in mind that this is just the first part. As always, I welcome corrections.

    The Evolution of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Post-9/11 (Part 1-Take Two)

    The 75th Ranger Regiment was initially established during the Post-Vietnam War years, when the Army was seriously hurting. Rangers were to serve as role models, and set the example as Airborne Infantrymen who religiously attained and surpassed established standards. Before the War on Terror began, Rangers primarily focused on basic Infantry tasks such as ambushes, raids, and patrolling skills, with the additional responsibility of conducting airfield seizure missions.

    There was the Regimental Standard Operating Procedures, or RSOP, a Blue Book that when combined with the Ranger Creed dictated pretty much every action a Ranger was to take or prohibited from taking. Load Carrying Equipment (LCE) had a tie down SOP, how jungle boots were worn had an SOP, how dog tags were taped together had an SOP. Discipline and adherence to the standards was paramount and most of the year Rangers would be training on post with occasional off-site training at the National Training Center (NTC) or Joint Readiness Exercise (JRX).

    At this time the Regiment was a highly disciplined Airborne Light Infantry unit that trained for immediate short-notice world wide deployment. Like in Panama, Grenada, and to a lesser extent, Somalia, there was an expectation that Rangers would jump into future conflicts, conduct their missions, and catch the first flight back to the US. Training and SOP's had grown out of these past conflicts, particularly Vietnam, and reflected the projected nature of future deployments.

    Rangers during the Clinton years were not nearly as well funded as they should have been. They also had to fill the dual role of being the Army's premier combat Infantry unit as well as setting a sterling example of discipline and professionalism for the rest of the Army. This meant that shinning boots and pressing uniforms were often as important as training for combat. Attempting to wear these two hats at once is an issue that the Regiment has always had to grapple with.

    The 75th always has, and probably always will, be a high visibility unit.

    Then 9/11 happened.

    I arrived at 3/75 just as the battalion was coming back home, after jumping into Iraq during the opening salvo of OIF I. Of course it was disappointing to miss out on the invasion but I had some second thoughts when I saw dudes limping around on crutches with two broken ankles. They told me that they had been so loaded down with equipment during the combat jump that the static line hung at waist height.

    This was 2003 and we were still being issued LCE's which had to have pouches and canteens tied down with 550 chord (according to SOP) with the ends burned and melted to keep knots in place. However, no one used the LCE and it was being phased out. The MOLLE rucksack and riflemen's kit was being issued. The rucksack, I shit you not, came with a VHS instructional video on how to put it all together. It also had a plastic frame which was laughable given how hard Rangers are on their equipment. The ruck sat at the bottom of everyone's locker but the combat vest that it came with was used in substitution of the older LCE.

    This was a strange time for Ranger battalion. Things were changing and not everyone was pleased. The standards were still being enforced, but these Rangers had been on real life combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. Judging a man's discipline by inspecting his haircut or how well his dog tags were taped together just didn't seem as relevant anymore. When an NCO yelled that doing this-or-that is against the RSOP and will get you killed in combat, it just didn't ring true to young Rangers who now wore CIB's on their chest. This isn't a positive attitude to have of course, but this clash between old school Rangers and new school Rangers was something that continued for years.

    As a cherry Private, I got the impression that the Regiment was having something of an identity crisis. We were not counter-terrorist commandos but we were also not toy soldiers who spit polish boots for the parade ground. We were training for combat, but the training was not always reflecting what Rangers were being confronted with on the battlefield. Sometimes it seemed like maintaining a high and tight and a spotlessly clean rifle was the main focus of your day in Ranger battalion.

    All of this would soon change. Future installments in this series will describe how the weapons, equipment, culture, and mission of the 75th Ranger Regiment evolved, particularly in the Post-9/11 years.
  9. Brian1/75

    Brian1/75 Ranger Verified SOF

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    I'd almost say if you want to do a real evolution of 75th, you need some first-hand experience from guys from the 70s and then guys that were there when 3rd Batt and 75th HQ were stood up.. Everything I've read and seen about the 75th was pretty unorthodox during the early years. Different uniforms, unbutton LCEs, a loose SOP on pouches, patrol caps during live-fires, etc. I even saw a photograph of someone from 2/75 conducting an airfield seizure in spray-painted sneakers, watchcap, PVS-5 and MP-5SD. Guys were commonly getting CDQC, MFF, SFARTEC or whatever it was called back then. A good bit of the original cadre were Vietnam SF guys with Ranger tabs.
  10. JackMurphyRGR

    JackMurphyRGR Ranger Verified SOF

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    That would be pretty bad ass, you've definitely got my interest. For this article, for the sake of brevity if nothing else, I'm going to limit myself to 9/11 and forward. If I embarked on chronicling the entire history of the modern Ranger Regiment I'd need to write an entire book. That would be a worthwhile endeavor, but beyond my scope at the moment.
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  11. Ranger Psych

    Ranger Psych Ranger Verified SOF

    Prior to Regiment and RRD, recon tasks were battalion internal. Basically 2-3 squad leaders per company were part of the battalion's team, Pathfinder/Recon duties then once the BN was on the ground, their tasking was to link back up and take control of their squads. I'd have to ask my old PSG who did Grenada with 2/75 about it more.
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  12. JackMurphyRGR

    JackMurphyRGR Ranger Verified SOF

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    That's hardcore!
  13. Freefalling

    Freefalling Signal Administrator

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    As an outsider, this period really interests me. Going from companies to battalions (which were stand-alone entities if I understand correctly) to the Regiment, all in a period of about a decade with Iran and Grenada thrown in....The amateur historan in me hopes that enough time has passed that an oral history could begin before we start losing those men, particularly the squad leaders and above who would then stand up the Regiment and see it through to the GWOT in some cases.

    If anything, gents, take down their history even if it is locked up...but get their words before they pass on.
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  14. JackMurphyRGR

    JackMurphyRGR Ranger Verified SOF

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    Check out Ross Hall's "The Ranger Book". I've only begun reading through it myself but it's serious stuff, about the size of a brick too. It's got tons of this stuff in it covering Ranger history from the beginning, pre-Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, Ross is in the final stages of cancer but we can be very grateful that he put his book together for the Ranger community.
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  15. Freefalling

    Freefalling Signal Administrator

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    Thank you, Jack.
  16. abn_rngr

    abn_rngr Unverified

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    We wore plain green jungle fatigues and jungle boots.
    Yes, LCE was almost always worn unbuckled. How the f@#k do you IMT with two full ammo pouches and a buckled LCE?
    I don't know what a loose SOP on pouches means. What?
    Yes, patrol caps during live fire. On occasion, depending upon what was being done, range control might have been locked out of the range for some period of time. Accidentally. Of course.


    The airdrop teams, before the air land, dressed as needed. Sneaks were sometimes worn as it makes it a lot easier to run across and airfield quietly. Mixed blessing as not a good choice to jump in. 2/75 learned everything from 1/75. Really.

    To "are Rangers 'special"', all these TTPs were developed at that time. Trial and error. Gun jeeps. Clearing the fields. Securing the perimeter. Folding in and out. Learning to start all sorts of vehicles. It was 'special' but the term is relative. What's 'special' about anything else?

    Common, no. But those courses were available to guys throughout the Bn (no Regt) as incentives, attaboys, etc.

    Ranger companies, too. It's accurate that so many SOPs came from those guys, from their experience. SOPs existed because they had been battle learned and battle proven and were enforced even if we didn't understand it. It's foolish to let a newbie learn for himself or try to be smarter than experience. There's a lot to be said for being able to grab any ruck, blind from claymores flashing, at night, in the ORP and be able to find EVERYTHING you needed, without looking, because of those SOPs. Jungle or other boots were enforced because you knew that's what the supply train could provide. No internet then-no way to buy other equipment but brick and mortar.

    Know that what made the transitions you've seen in the last 10 years was how deeply ingrained the basics were in the Bn culture. I call BS on the 'we were infantry not SOF.' Who says they have to be different? No other infantry in the world could touch us or the missions we could perform.

    The problem arose, years later, when those SOPs stopped being about what worked and started being enforced for their own sake. Like the story of the Christmas ham.

    Starch and spits were never liked. But it was seen as any other mission was seen. We didn't have to like it, we just had to do it. And do it properly we did.

    High and tights were always senseless.
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  17. RackMaster

    RackMaster Nasty-Dirty-Canuck Verified SOF Support

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    abn_rngr Please follow the site rules and start your own Intro before posting again. Failure to follow site rules will result in you being banned. Have a nice day.
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  18. abn_rngr

    abn_rngr Unverified

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    I joined this site in 2008. I posted an intro way back then. I have to do it again?
  19. goon175

    goon175 Ranger Moderating Staff

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    abn_rngr I thoroughly enjoyed your post on how it was "back then". I always got the feeling that Rangers were at there most "special" back then, when combat experience was still available.

    I don't think anyone has anything against SOP's, its the SOP's that don't make sense, or are enforced for the sake of "it's an SOP". Things like everyone having their med pouch on their left side makes sense and saves lives, as one example.
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  20. Freefalling

    Freefalling Signal Administrator

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    In that case, don't worry about it.

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