History of the scroll!


Verified SOF
Sep 25, 2006
History of the scroll!
This is where our Lineage comes From!


NOTE: This article has been posted here in it's original entirety with no adaptation from the authors original work to include all pictures.


by ARNG 1LT Reinaldo A. Rios
Former National Guard LRSC Platoon Leader
2nd Ranger Battalion 1986-89
Operation Iraqi Freedom II, 2003-05
[This paper was started October 2004 in Irbil, Northern Iraq]
Period covered: 1942 [WWII] – 2004[GWOT]


World War II: The Greek historian Thucydides once wrote that ‘we must remember that one man is much the same as another, and that he is best who is trained in the severest school.’ The 1st Ranger Battalion was constituted May 27, 1942, and activated on June 19, 1942 in England and trained with British/Irish commandos at Achnacarry, Scotland (four months before the invasion of North Africa and two years before “Operation Neptune-Overlord” in Normandy, France). Before “Operation Torch”, North Africa, Nov. 8, 1942, LTC William O. Darby (father of modern day Rangers, known affectionately as “El Darbo” by his men) started a competition amongst his troops for the best design for a Ranger unit patch or shoulder insignia. The officers and men of the developing 1st Ranger Bn began to discuss among themselves what their insignia should look like.

Early on, it was decided that in order to reflect their close tie with British commandos, the American insignia would be in the shape of a ‘scroll’ as was that of the English. The word “Ranger” was chosen from prior American military history since the word “commando” was not favored by the US War Department or the Army Chief of Staff (Gen. George Marshall). General Dwight Eisenhower (Ike) also commented: “I hope that you will find some other name than ‘commandos,’ for the glamour of that name will always remain – and properly so – British.” Many names were recommended during a May 1942 meeting and BG Lucian K. Truscott selected the word “Ranger” (i.e., Rogers Rangers - French and Indian War).

The term Ranger first appeared in 13th Century England. The origin of the ranger tradition in North America lies in the 17th Century war between the colonists and Native American Indian tribes. In the original concept, rangers were full-time soldiers employed by colonial governments to “range” among fixed fortifications in reconnaissance providing early warning of raids. In offensive operations they were scouts and guides, locating targets [such as villages] for task forces drawn from the militia or other colonial troops. Since at least the 18th Century, the term has had the military meaning of a commando or guerilla soldier proficient in raids, ambushes, and long range patrols [unconventional warfare].

General Truscott was in charge of developing American commando units in the UK for upcoming missions in Africa, Italy, and France. In Darby’s competition a ‘scroll’ design by an NCO (SGT Anthony Rada of Flint, Michigan, HHC 1st Rgr Bn) bearing the word “Ranger” won, however, it did not receive official Department of the Army (DA) recognition or approval until 42 years later with the formation of the modern 75th Ranger Regiment (1974-84), the Ranger shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI) was not officially authorized by the DA until after -Operation Urgent Fury- in 1983.

Two months after the formation of the 1st Rangers, fifty (50) of them were allowed to participate in the failed Dieppe commando raid east of Normandy, France, along side their British, Irish, and Canadian counterparts. CPT Roy Murray was the senior Ranger officer to participate in the raid. Dieppe was a gutsy but poorly planned or supported move by the Allies, and it was also plagued with bad luck, never the less it was valuable combat experience for the small group of Rangers that took part. About 39 1st Rangers returned from Dieppe and would use their experience to continue preparing their fellow Rangers for their upcoming first amphibious landing as a unit.

Also at Achnacarry, starting in December 1942, volunteers from the 29th Infantry Division were transformed into Rangers for the 29th Ranger Battalion. However, after participating in several small raids in Norway they were disbanded and returned to the 29th I.D by September 1943. These former 29th Rangers would fight along side other Ranger brethren at the beaches of Normandy nine (9) months after their dissolution.

By “Operation Torch” (Nov. 8, 1942), the invasion of North Africa (Ranger objective: Algeria - Arzew & Oran), 1st Bn Rangers wore makeshift cloth scrolls on their left shoulders made in England bearing the word “Ranger” in the middle and 1st Bn on the two “folds” of the patch (black, red, and white). Following the successful “Torch” landings, combat veterans (cadre) from the 1st Bn were used in England and Algeria to form volunteer American soldiers into ranger infantry in the 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions (2nd Bn was already activated and training stateside). Torch also saw the first American parachute infantry assault in history by the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion (Algeria and Tunisia). The three Ranger battalions would be known as “Darby’s Rangers” and the two new ones (activated August 1943, about 14 months after the 1st Bn) would also adopt Ranger Tony Rada’s unofficial Ranger scroll.

Forty Ranger NCOs and twenty officers who participated in the formation of the 1st Bn and the Algeria mission were sent to CONUS (Camp Forrest, Tennessee) in March 1943 to develop the American version of commando (“Ranger”) training. They would have a year to form at least two additional battalions for the upcoming invasion of Europe. Ranger CPT Dean H. Knudson led the Tennessee group and his task would bear results in a big way a year later in Northern France. Camp Forrest was chosen since soon after word got back to CONUS that American Ranger training was being conducted by English Commandos in the UK, a general Ben Lear had begun stateside Ranger training at Camp Forrest based on USMC Raider training. Lear’s Ranger school however had a brief existence in Tennessee. When Ranger training was again suggested in the CONUS Camp Forrest was selected because of facilities and training areas already available there. Ranger training was also not supposed to be held in traditional stateside infantry training locations since their formation and training was supposed to be kept out of the lime light, and the new effort would be based on the Achnacarry model per a directive issued to CPT Knudson and his cadre before departing England. Ranger battalions being formed in Tennessee were to be composed of a HQ company (HHC), and six rifle companies: A, B, C, D, E, and F.

Following Algeria, Darby’s Rangers spearheaded a number of successful amphibious assaults in Italy (Sicily, Salerno, Gaeta, and Anzio). At Anzio (Cisterna) following their initial successful amphibious assault, Rangers were ordered to infiltrate German lines and disrupt supply lines to forward enemy units (Herman Goering Division). After their successful infiltration in the early stages of “Operation Shingle,” (January 22, 1944), they were surrounded by numerically superior infantry and armor units and most men in the 1st and 3rd battalions were killed or captured. Two companies from the 4th were also almost lost as they desperately went forward to re-enforce their encircled brothers. The rest of the 4th Bn was held back by direct orders from their distraught commander, COL Darby (during the Anzio campaign in Italy MG John Lucas, VI Corps commander, misused his “Ranger asset” - his decision included faulty intelligence- and sealed their fate at Cisterna). Three hundred (300) perished and four hundred and fifty (450) captured Darby Rangers (POWs) were paraded three days later in Rome by their Nazi captors violating articles of the Geneva Convention. For propaganda purposes the Nazis highlighted the fact they were allied “commandos”. An unknown number of wounded Rangers were not taken captive and would be treated by both Italian and Allied doctors in the days following Cisterna operations. The loss of so many of his Rangers was a tremendous blow to COL Bill Darby and his Ranger force, designated since the formation of the 3rd and 4th battalions as “6615 Ranger Force”, was disbanded in March and he was reassigned to command an infantry regiment in the 45th Infantry Division, and subsequently another in the 10th Mountain Division. About a year following the dissolution of “6615” COL Darby was KIA in the Italian mountains, one week from the end of WWII.

Following the Anzio screw up, on February 10, 1944, what was left of the 4th Ranger Bn was first attached to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The following month, the battalion was reattached to the 1st SSF and then the 4th Rangers were finally disbanded. Rangers designated as veterans were shipped back to CONUS, while the remaining Rangers were integrated into the 1st SSF (First Special Service Force, a unit made up of American and Canadian commandos, modern US Special Forces have direct lineage with the 1st SSF and partial lineage with the OSS of WWII) and would see additional action at Anzio with their new commando unit, and during the invasion of Southern France (“Operation Dragoon”, August 1944). Dragoon was executed two months after the Normandy landings in Northern France (“Operation Overlord”, June 1944), to take pressure off Allied forces in the north and create additional seaports into France using the Mediterranean Sea. Like Normandy, Dragoon included seaborne and airborne assaults (paratroops/gliders).

Out of Ranger training in Tennessee came two more fresh [green] battalions designated the 2nd (LTC James E. Rudder) and 5th (LTC Max F. Schneider, a former Darby Ranger). The 2nd Rgr Bn was activated April 1, 1943 and the 5th Rgr Bn on September 1, 1943. They shipped off to England in March 1944 in preparation for “Overlord” (the long awaited Allied invasion of Northern France at Normandy). The Normandy campaign was really named “Neptune-Overlord”, Overlord being the aerial reconnaissance and bombardment of the planned Allied beachhead, and the airborne/glider assault by American/British paratroopers and glidermen (5 & 6 June) and Neptune being the seaborne assault and follow on land operations starting on the early morning of 6 June. The combat inexperienced Rangers trained in Tennessee and England, along with the green 29th I.D. and the combat tested 1st I.D. (“The Big Red One”), would face the Krauts of the 352nd Infantry Division and the 916th Infantry Regiment (from the Normandy Coastal Defense Division) at a beach code named “OMAHA” by the Allies.

Rudder’s Rangers Order of Battle June 5, 1944
[Provisional Ranger Group]
Attached to the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division

LTC Rudder
2nd Ranger Battalion Task Force A:
Companies HHC, D, E, and F
Objective: Point du Hoc
Task Force B: Company C, 2nd Rangers
Objective: Point et Raz de la Percee

LTC Schneider
5th Ranger Battalion Task Force C:
Companies HHC, A, B, C, D, E, and F
Companies A & B, 2nd Rangers
Task: backup to Ranger Forces A & B
Planned success code word for Ranger Force A: “TILT”

The German Coastal Defense Division at Normandy had 4 years to dig in, build, and prepare their defenses (“Atlantic Wall”). By shear numbers alone the Allied invasion force (naval, air, and land forces) would seem to have the advantage over the Nazi defenders, however, any military tactician will tell you that uprooting a well fortified defensive position is never easy and is always a gamble, at the very least you need 3 to 1 odds. The Germans at Normandy had been waiting for D-Day for 4 years, they were caught a bit off guard in that early June morning, but their defense strategy had been in place for some time and was well rehearsed. They also had the confidence of having repulsed well trained British, Canadian, Irish, and American invaders in late 1942 at Dieppe, now their defenses were even better and was based on previous experiences with Allied commando coastal raiders. The Germans also had reinforced concrete positions, plenty of mined obstacles, and numerous pre-positioned and aimed artillery pieces and mortars covering dead space. However, the Allies this time would provide their coastal invaders with naval and aerial fire support the Dieppe raiders could have never even dreamed of two years earlier, including inland paratrooper support for the seaborne forces. When the new American Rangers arrived in England they wore blue and yellow ‘diamond shaped’ shoulder insignias bearing the word “Rangers”, and on the back of their helmets they wore another orange diamond with the number for their battalion in black (2nd or 5th Ranger).

During Overlord, LTC Schneider’s Bn would earn the Ranger’s famous motto “Rangers Lead the Way!,” when the deputy commander for the 29th I.D. (BG Norman D. Cota) ordered them to lead the way out of the Omaha beach killing grounds. He asked the 5th Bn to breach the German beach defenses directly in front of his pinned down 116th Infantry Regiment despite the fact the 5th Rangers were forced to land in a different sector of beach changing their original plan, same happened to other infantry, combat engineer, and tank units that early morning of 6 June 1944. Schneider’s men were not familiar with German defenses in that sector (Dog White) per prior rehearsals and beach intelligence provided to the 1st Bn 116th Infantry. However, unlike part of 2nd Bn in western Omaha, which suffered 50% casualties (killed or wounded) in two Ranger companies in their first 3 minutes of disembarkation (A and B companies, part of Ranger Force C, which arrived in Normandy ahead of ‘Force A’ around 0630 hrs), the 5th Rangers arrived in Northern France fairly intact and dry compared to the fate of other units (at approximately 0740 hrs). The 5th Rangers were scheduled to land in ‘Dog Green’ at approximately 0700 but when Schneider adjusted he fell behind 116th Infantry landing crafts (LCAs) dropping off their troops and also pulling out at ‘Dog White’. The 5th Rangers then had to wait their turn to land in ‘Dog White’.

However, Schneider’s FRAGO (fragmentary order) would soon prove to be a blessing for that same infantry regiment (116th) from the 29th Division already effectively pinned down by the murderous direct and indirect German fire pouring down on them from the Omaha bluffs (high ground) by the time the main body of ‘Ranger Force C’ joined them. The 5th Rangers quickly realized that where their amphibious landing crafts inserted them had little importance to the reality that the Omaha landings were floundering under an intense German response and something needed to be done quickly or the entire D-Day invasion could be in jeopardy. Ranger leaders immediately began to scan German defenses in front of them and they also asked 116th infantrymen taking cover all around them where they were.

How did the 5th Rangers arrive in Dog White in the first place? The story goes that LTC Schneider from his LCA with the use of binoculars was able to witness the fate of A and B Co., 2nd Rangers scheduled to land approximately 20 minutes ahead of him (the two companies were part of his “Force C”), stunned after witnessing so many Rangers being cut down at the water’s edge at “Dog Green” where they were literally hit by a “wall of steel”, he then adjusted his battalion’s (main body of ‘Ranger Force C’) landing site more to the east into “Dog White”, it is believed that this decision helped turn the tide at Omaha and had a significant impact during the first 24 hours of the invasion.

Further west ahead of the LTC Schneider (at 0708 hrs, about 38 minutes behind schedule due to a navigational error by the British Navy), Rudder’s invaders (‘Ranger Force A’) had landed on the western edge of Omaha with the high ground at “Point du Hoc” as their primary objective. Rudder’s main mission (HHC, D, E, and F companies, 2nd Rgr Bn) was to take out a German gun battery, which dangerously overlooked the Omaha and Utah beaches (considered the most dangerous Normandy gun emplacement by the Allied high command), after capturing the Point the German guns were actually found concealed inland since the Krauts were trying to protect them from Allied ship and airplane bombardment (before the guns were found some Rangers believed their mission had been a wasted effort). About a squad sized element of Rangers finally rendered the wheeled Nazi 155mm guns useless using thermite grenades (0815 hrs). Nearby Germans preparing to move forward towards Utah and Omaha never heard a thing since thermites do their work silently. The small band of inland raiders led by Ranger 1SG Len Lomell were then forced back to the Point by counterattacking Germans from the 352nd and 916th all the way from the small French village of Le Guay located about 1000 yards south of Point du Hoc. When 1SG Lomell arrived from Le Guay back at the Point around 0900, he caught his breath and gave Rudder the good news about the German guns. By 2100 hrs 6 June, Rudder had 1/3rd casualties and rising in ‘Force A’. Rudder himself was shot through his left leg but the bullet never hit bone, he was patched up and continued leading his force’s defense. ‘Ranger Force A’ would spend two nights at the Point, on the second night Rudder only had about 85 Rangers left, around midnight they repulsed about 200 counterattacking Germans.

Meanwhile to the east of Force A remnants of Ranger Force B and the 5th Rangers were finally breaching the German beach defenses in mid Omaha (B Co, 5th Rangers and C Co, 1/116th Infantry using bangalore torpedoes), Bravo Co. Rangers then leading 116th infantrymen inland thru blown gaps in the German obstacles and mine fields, the initial American penetration was made between Vierville and St. Laurent around 0815 hrs, a critically needed exit from Omaha (American Soldiers had been dying and fighting at Omaha for about 2 hours before creating and penetrating the first gap), soon after to the west near Vierville around 0830, another breach was made by a group of engineers, 2nd Rangers, and 116th infantrymen in between the Charlie and Green sectors, another badly needed exit. Before that second breach was made a small band of 2nd Rangers had made their way under the wire and were engaging the Germans on the bluff at close range and were in dire need of reinforcement, west of them remnants of ‘Ranger Force B’ were the first Americans to reach the Omaha bluffs around 0740 and were also hoping more troops would show up soon to join the party.

Schneider’s Rangers were now determined to get back on track with their original plan (operation order) and fight their way west along the Kraut axis of defense towards “Point et Raz de la Percee” (objective for Ranger Force B: Charlie Co., 2nd Rgr Bn, which landed at ‘Omaha Charlie’ at 0630 hrs -- Charlie Co. was badly torn up during disembarkation but thanks to destroyers USS Thompson and HMS Glasgow, Krauts and their artillery were suppressed on that Ranger objective by naval gunfire on the morning of 6 June) and “Point du Hoc” in case Rudder’s difficult cliff climb under fire had ended in failure. Basically, ‘Force C’ was a back up to ‘Forces A & B’ just in case their initial assaults failed. Schneider’s orders were simple: insure the success of the primary plan and reinforce ‘Forces A & B’ in order to repulse any German efforts to retake the Points. At the very least Schneider was supposed to reinforce Rudder, since even if his leading Ranger forces A & B succeeded it was expected they would suffer a high number of casualties capturing the two Points [du Hoc and et Raz de la Percee], and the ability to repulse German counterattacks was an important and obvious part of the Ranger plan which expanded 72 hrs (D-Day + 3).

Schneider never received Rudder’s visual or radio success signal and feared the worst. In turn Rudder also feared the worst in his ‘Force C.’ However, Force A had succeeded in climbing the 100’ cliff and capturing their main objective, but with numerous casualties after also repelling five (5) determined Kraut company sized counter attacks designed to retake the Point, and place any Kraut artillery pieces they could muster into action against the forming Allied beachhead. Rudder actually sent the success message “tilt” but was lost in the confusion of battle. By 1300 hrs 7 June, Force A’s grim situation was partly alleviated by the timely arrival by sea of supplies and personnel organized by a former Darby Ranger. MAJ Jack Street – who had joined the Rangers at Nemours, commanded Company G of the 1st Rangers in Sicily – was at the time a staff officer with Admiral Hall. Learning of the difficult circumstances of ‘Ranger Force A’ at Point du Hoc, MAJ Street organized a small-improvised relief party that included two landing craft with some thirty reinforcements, ammunition, water, and food rations. The most seriously wounded were also extracted. The initiative by a former Darby Ranger was greatly appreciated by Rudder.

Despite Rudder’s circumstances Nazis from the 352nd German Infantry Division never retook the Point and Schneider (Force C) reinforced the battered 2nd Battalion (Ranger Forces A & B) two sunrises later (morning of 8 June). On their way to du Hoc, Schneider’s men insured there was no remaining German resistance on ‘Point et Raz de la Percee’ (accurate naval gunfire from American destroyer USS Thompson and ‘HMS Glasgow’ near shore had taken care of that on the morning of June 6). Remnants of A, B, C Companies 2nd Rangers, C and D Companies 5th Rangers, 250 infantrymen from the 1st Bn 116th Regiment, and 10 Sherman tanks from the 743 Tank Battalion, found many 2nd Rangers at ‘du Hoc’ using captured German weapons against the enemy since many “Force A” Rangers were out of ammunition by the end of the first day of battle. Thanks to a resupply run by MAJ Street, and captured German weapons and ammo, they were able to hold. ‘Forces B & C’ were at least 24 hours late, but Rudder never complained and was mighty glad to see that Schneider’s men had finally broken thru to him accompanied by armor support. Immediately seriously wounded Rangers at Point du Hoc were again evacuated towards the beach where medical evac landing crafts were waiting for their trip to hospital ships in the English Channel.

To the east the 5th Rangers had been ordered by the commander of the 29th Division (General Gerhardt) to use four (4) Ranger companies with attached tank support to protect the beach exits between Vierville and St. Laurent, and his Division command post (CP). This unforeseen task added to the delay in reinforcing Rudder. Schneider explained to 29th Division’s staff what his main mission was, he was then authorized to send two (2) of his Ranger companies (C & D) to reinforce Rudder. Since the Ranger relief force was going to be smaller than planned, Gerhardt gave them 250 infantrymen and 10 tanks in appreciation for having gotten his 116th Regiment off the beach at ‘Dog White’. However, he insisted to Schneider that keeping the Vierville / St. Laurent exits open was crucial to the big picture, lieutenant colonel Schneider agreed but still thought the division had enough fresh infantry companies disembarking to relieve his force. To Schneider his Ranger brethren to the west badly needed reinforcements and supplies and that was the bottom line! Of the 250 116th men that went with the Ranger relief party 100 of them (116th RCT) were supposed to return to ‘Dog White’ with any valuable information on the enemy (352nd I.D.), and to report on the friendly situation at the Points. The armor was to remain with Rudder until further notice. The Shermans were loaded with ammo, rations, water, and medical supplies for beleaguered Rangers at ‘du Hoc’.

By the time Rudder was reinforced (D-Day + 2), American forces at Utah, and Omaha had costly footholds (beachheads), and so did the British & Canadians at Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. By D+2 inland allied paratroopers dropped behind Utah and Juno on June 5th and 6th were still giving the Krauts a hard time but eagerly needed and awaited reinforcements from the beachheads. Of all the shoreline objectives Omaha was the toughest and the big scare of the operation. Over 2,000 29thI.D. & 1st I.D. soldiers, and Rangers made the ultimate sacrifice (“upon the altar of freedom”) at the water’s edge in ‘Omaha’ that fateful morning (the 29th being a National Guard unit). The bulk of the casualties coming from the 29th. During the landings at Omaha ‘Ranger Force B’ (Charlie Co., 2nd Rangers) despite their enormous casualties at the beach (Omaha Charlie) was the first American unit to reach the high ground that morning, and the first to engage the Kraut defenders at close range (“payback is a bitch!”). The example by the remaining men from ‘Ranger Force B’ encouraged the also badly torn up Alpha Co., 1st Bn / 116th Infantry to do the same. Immediately to their east, remnants of companies A & B, 2nd Rangers (lead element of ‘Ranger Force C’) licked their wounds as well, despite the gruesome sights surrounding them, they ‘grabbed their nuts’ as they had done in training and were also some of the first invaders to engage Germans at close range at the bluffs of their ‘Dog Green’ sector (around the same time ‘Force A’ had reached the high ground at Point du Hoc and were also engaged in close combat with the Krauts).

For 2nd Ranger companies A, B, and C despite the fact their worst fears came true when their boat ramps came down, in exemplary Ranger fashion, still found the intestinal fortitude against incredible odds and stunning carnage, to drive on to the Ranger objective. More to the east, at Dog White, initiative under fire on the part B Co., 5th Rangers created the first gap in the German barbed-wire obstacles that allowed for the first ‘large group’ of 116th regular infantry and 5th Rangers to enter the German trench/foxhole/pill-box system, marking the beginning of the end for the Kraut beach defenders at Omaha. Their tough training, spirit, and trust in the Lord, pulled the Rangers along and prevented Omaha from becoming another much bloodier ‘Dieppe’ (“The more you sweat in training, the least you bleed in battle”).

These results at a critical moment in history more than justified the existence of units of the Ranger caliber. It would not be the last time they would silence their critics. In eastern sector of Omaha (Easy Red, Fox Green, and Fox Red), men from the combat experienced 1st Infantry Division (North Africa, Sicily, and Italy) were also pinned down soon after disembarking from their ‘landing crafts assault’ (LCA). A few extraordinary brave 1st I.D. men from the 16th RCT took the initiative. In exhorting the men behind the seawall to move, the leaders did not appeal to the troop’s sense of duty or patriotism. Instead, they argued matter-of-factly: “the safest thing to do was advance!” A 1st Division colonel walking up and down the beach came to the same conclusion and kept yelling off the top of his lungs: “Two kinds of people are staying on this beach, the dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here!”

In the wake of Normandy some former Darby Rangers found their way into the ranks of the 2nd and 5th Battalions and they resurrected the ‘scrolls’ designed by Ranger SGT Anthony Rada (1st Rgr Bn) two years earlier in the summer of 1942. 2nd and 5th Ranger leaders liked the scrolls and dropped their diamond shaped (blue and yellow “Sunoco” insignia) unit patches for the shoulder insignia of Rangers that came before them (Dieppe, North Africa, Sicily, and Italy). 2nd and 5th Rangers had their new scrolls made at a convent by nuns and paid with German marks taken from a German Army paymaster. They would wear the unofficial (unauthorized) scrolls for the remainder of operations in the ETO. In reality Normandy “Ranger Forces A, B, & C” were known as “Rudder’s Rangers” (“Provisional Ranger Force”) during “D-Day” since LTC Rudder was the senior of the two battalion commanders.

After Normandy, Rudder’s and Schneider’s Rangers would see close to another year of combat as Allied forces pushed east across Western Europe towards Berlin (France, Belgium, Netherlands, and finally Germany). Nazi Germany (“The Third Reich”) surrendered on May 8, 1945, and Darby Rangers captured at Cisterna were finally liberated. Word was at the time that during their fifteen (15) months in captivity they were a major pain in the ass to their Nazi captors. The Nazis were forced to disperse captive Rangers to lessen the influence they had on their fellow allied POWs. By dispersing the captive Rangers they only made it worst. Dispersed Darby Rangers still became natural POW leaders in all the Nazi prison camps in which they were held.

In the Pacific (PTO), the 6th Ranger Bn (“Ghost Soldiers”), activated September 25, 1944, also got word of the distinctive unit patch (scroll) of their ETO brothers and they wore them from the winter 1944 until Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, the Army then disbanded all three remaining Ranger battalions (2nd, 5th and 6th) and Merrill’s Marauders. A company from the 6th Ranger Bn was responsible for the legendary successful execution of the Cabanatuan POW rescue in the Philippines; close to 500 Bataan Death March survivors rescued, and the Rangers eliminating twice their number of Japanese prison guards.

In just three years (1942-45) the six (6) Ranger battalions and Merrill’s Marauders (Burma) had established a remarkable record of achievement in battle and had effectively silenced the critics that were against the formation of such specialized (elite) units (including the short lived 29th Ranger Battalion). From the deadly shores of North Africa to the invasions of Sicily and Normandy to the fierce jungle hells of the Pacific and Burma, the contributions and combat effectiveness of WWII Rangers far outweighed their numbers. Their heroics and insurmountable spirits would set the example for Korean War Airborne-Rangers that would soon follow in their footsteps. RLTW!


Korea: During this conflict [1950-53], Rangers, who for three centuries of American history went into action by land and water, added a new dimension by also going into battle by air as paratroopers. At the end of World War II the U.S. Army Infantry School (USAIS) merged the airborne and ranger infantry concepts which led to the formation of the first American Airborne-Ranger infantry companies (“RICAs”) who would first see action in Korea (1950-51).

From the tentative 1950 RICA (Ranger Infantry Companies Airborne) “Table of Organization and Equipment” (T/O&E): Mission – to infiltrate through enemy lines and attack command posts, artillery, tank parks, and key communications centers or facilities; Assignment – attached to infantry division (T/O&E 7N); Capabilities – infiltrating through enemy lines and destroying hostile installations, repelling enemy assault by fire, close combat, or counterattack, maneuvering in all types of terrain and climatic conditions, seizing and holding terrain, conducting reconnaissance and intelligence operations by penetration of hostile combat zone and landing by parachute, glider, or assault aircraft.

On November 6, 1950 the DA approved the Ranger “black and gold” tab which was from then on awarded to graduates of the RTC Ranger Course at Ft. Benning, Georgia (the RTB today). The first award of the ranger tab was made to the men of the 1st , 2nd, 3rd, and 4th RICA on 13 November 1950. The Korean conflict lasted until ’53 but seven (7) Ranger companies only saw action for eight (8) months from December 1950 to August 1951. Ranger companies in Korea, CONUS, and Europe were disbanded by the DA in early ’52 (Army Chief of Staff: GEN Joseph Lawton Collins) but the Ranger Training Command (RTC) remained and evolved decades later into the Ranger Training Brigade (RTB) of today. Seven (7) companies served in Korea and ten (10) in CONUS and Europe. Ranger companies in Korea officially wore two tabs made into one patch with the words “Ranger/Airborne” over the division patch they were assigned to. However, during their stays in Japan they had scrolls made after the WWII design and some companies wore them unofficially. Unlike the WWII scrolls the “RICA scrolls” included the word Airborne over Ranger. The RICAs of that conflict also wore the black beret unofficially as their headgear.

The first combat jump ever made by an American Airborne-Ranger unit was conducted by the 2nd and 4th RICA when they spearheaded an airborne operation for the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (ARCT) 20 miles northwest of Seoul to prevent fleeing North Korean and Chicom forces from reestablishing strong defensive positions near the Imjim River, March 23, 1951 (Operation Tomahawk, Munsan-ni). The 2nd Ranger Company was an all black unit who’s leadership came from the former 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (PIB) of WWII (after WWII absorbed by the 82nd’s 505th PIR). Due to unfounded prejudices at the time the “triple nickel” was not allowed to fight in the ETO or PTO/BTO, instead they were used as ‘smoke jumpers’ in the northwest (CONUS) to put out fires started by Japanese fire balloons and natural causes. Ironically a small but proud group of negro officers and NCOs from the “triple nickel” who made the army a career after WWII would again volunteer to lead one of the first Airborne-Ranger companies to receive a “mustard stain” on their wings six years after the surrender of Japan (basically negro paratroopers who volunteered for the RICAs were segregated into the 2nd RICA and would finally make their combat debut in Korea as Airborne-Rangers including a ‘mustard stain’).

When the Ranger companies were disbanded in the summer of 1952 many Rangers in Korea fought on with the 187th ARCT until their 12-month obligations were up. As Ranger COL (Ret.) Robert W. Black (Ranger Hall of Fame inductee) stated in his book “Rangers in Korea” (1989): “The opening of August 1951 saw the dissolution of the RICAs in Korea. By tradition, philosophy, and training, Rangers are designed to fight for victory and win. A man experiences too much in the process of becoming a Ranger to accept half measures or limited effort. In a war the United States and its allies decided not to win, there was no place for the spirit of the American Ranger.”

The Korean conflict ended in a stalemate at the 38th parallel and neither the UN forces from the south or the Communist forces from the north were able to achieve their goal of unifying the peninsula into one Korea. A one-mile wide demilitarized zone (DMZ) was created between North and South Korea that remains till this day. In America the surviving Ranger Training Command (RTC) would be tasked by the HQDA with training ‘selected’ officers and NCOs from all US Army combat arms units (mainly the infantry) as Rangers in the post Korean conflict era (“Cold War”).

Following Korea the RTC would become the Ranger Department (RD), and over three decades later (1987) it would once again change names to the Ranger Training Brigade (RTB). Since around 1976 a U.S. infantry company that provides security at the Panmunjon “Truce Village” (DMZ) adopted a ‘infantry blue and white’ scroll shaped SSI with the words “Joint Security Area”, the unit strives for Ranger qualified leadership from E-6 (SSG) and above; the JSA’s PLs and commander having a Ranger qualified requirement for assignment to the JSA. The JSA designed their scroll shaped SSI in honor of the RICAs of the Korean Conflict. RLTW!


Vietnam: Vietnam Era: February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. Since WWII the U.S. Army has had a need for a small, highly trained, far ranging units to perform reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and special type combat missions. In Vietnam this need was met by instituting a long range patrol program to provide each major combat unit with this special capability. These patrols would conduct long-range reconnaissance and exploitation operations into enemy-held and denied areas, providing valuable combat intelligence. Approximately five (5) years into the Southeast Asia conflict (1966), LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) units began to be assembled and trained for the purpose of conducting recon and combat patrols in the VCs (VietCong’s) backyard (4 to 12-man patrols); counter-insurgency (CI) warfare in a non-linear or asymmetrical jungle battlefield; the four (4) to eight (8) man patrol being the preferred configuration. At times two-man LRRP teams were employed. [COIN: Counter-Insurgency]

At first both airborne and non-airborne volunteer soldiers were trained (LRRP/LRP infantry companies). Initially divisions were authorized to form provisional LRRP companies and brigades were authorized LRRP detachments. The ‘detachment’ concept did not enjoy the same level of development and employment as the LRRP ‘companies’ did. Between 1967 and 1973 LRRP/LRP companies worked for division, separate brigades, and field force commanders. LRRPs provided ground force commanders with intelligence on the tactical situation in their areas of responsibility (AOR). LRRPs were also tasked with behind the lines direct action (DA) missions. The small teams (patrols) attacked Viet Cong (VC) supply areas, tracked enemy units, directed artillery/air strikes, and harassed the VC and NVA units. By 1967 all LRRP companies had been re-designated LRP (Long Range Patrol) since from the inception their missions did not only involve deep jungle reconnaissance.

By 1967 thirteen (13) of these companies had been formed and attached to larger infantry, airborne, and cavalry units (divisions), one LRP company being an Army National Guard (ARNG) unit [D Company (Ranger) 151st Infantry (Airborne), Indiana ARNG]. By 1969 the bulk of LRP troopers were airborne infantrymen and would claim lineage with WWII Rangers, Korean War Rangers, and “Merrill’s Marauders” (the Marauder crest and was approved on March 18, 1969). Also in ‘69 all LRP companies were designated “(Ranger), 75th Infantry” (provisional), and like their WWII and Korea predecessors, they too would resurrect the Ranger scroll and wear them unofficially along with black berets. On occasion the scroll would be worn over their higher command unit patch, and like the RICA scroll included the words “Airborne/Ranger.” A few ‘Nam Ranger companies also wore scrolls on black berets over jump wings.

Between 1968 and 1972 LRRP/LRP/Ranger company leadership (officers, NCOs and promotable E-4s) were also sent to the MACV Recondo school, training conducted by Special Forces (Green Beret) instructors (cadre from the 5th Special Forces Group, Nha Trang, South Vietnam). For graduation Recondo training included a real patrol in “Charlie’s” backyard west of Nha Trang. The priority for Recondo school was to train LRP team leaders and assistant TLs. Imitation Recondo schools in the army surfaced after ‘Nam but nothing compared to the 3-week 5th SFG(A) course in a real combat area of operations (AO). In addition to the Rangers, the USMC and Army Green Berets (Special Forces) would also form and employ the small unit LRP concept during the last 7 years of the Southeast Asia conflict (1967 – 1974). On September 5th, 1967 a USMC LRRP team (1st LRRP) conducted a parachute insertion as part of Operation Oregon. The USN SEALs would also employ behind the lines small unit CI/CG (counter-insurgency/counter-guerilla) tactics against the VC and NVA during the war (1965-1973). By 1973 ‘Nam Ranger companies were disbanded but a few remained active in CONUS (including reserve/guard) and in Europe.

By the late ‘80s the Army’s LRP company concept would evolve into airborne Long Range Surveillance (LRS) detachments (LRSDs: Division asset) and companies (LRSCs: Corps asset), and were retrained to avoid enemy contact and perform passive surveillance intelligence gathering missions. LRSUs retained SOF like sea, air, and land infiltration and exfiltration capabilities. In the early 90s LRS units (LRSUs) were directed to drop red, black, and white ‘LRS scrolls’ for higher command or military intelligence (MI) SSIs. As airborne units their new SSIs included ‘airborne tabs’, the tabs distinguished them as LRSUs within the MI community. LRS doctrine (FM 7-93) encourages ranger qualified NCOs and officers. Currently in addition to the Ranger course, the RTB at Ft. Benning, GA also conducts the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course (RSLC), the former LRSLC [Long Ranger Surveillance Leader’s Course].

From 1983 to 2001 U.S. Army LRS elements were deployed to Grenada, Desert Shield/Storm, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and used for counter-drug operations along the U.S./Mexico border. Core training for LRSUs includes infantry training, airborne school, Ranger school, RSLC, pathfinder, and SERE training. Since the beginning of the GWOT in late 2001 the enemy avoidance passive surveillance doctrine of LRS was modified [FRAGOed] to include reconnaissance and direct action (DA) missions in low-intensity asymmetrical counter-insurgency combat AOs. Army active duty (AD) and National Guard (NG) LRS units since 2002 have been deployed to the Middle East (Southwest Asia) in the continuing OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) and OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) efforts as part of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). RLTW!


Post Vietnam Ranger Battalions: Between 1942 and 1973 the Department of the Army (DA) learned the hard way the following special operations forces (SOF) truths: 1) Humans are more important than hardware. 2) Quality is better than quantity. 3) SOFs cannot be mass-produced. 4) Competent SOFs cannot be quickly created when emergencies or situations arise. Since 1942 U.S. Army Ranger units had been considered “provisional” in nature or only needed during crisis or times of war. Since 1942 conventional thinking senior ranking army officers and NCOs had always been weary and envious of the snake eating unconventional special operations types.

In 1974 an Army Chief of Staff with vision, GEN Creighton W. Abrams, Jr. (HQDA), finally made a smart and bold move and decided to form a permanent U.S. Army Ranger Force by bringing back the WWII concept of ‘Ranger Battalions’ activating two (2)(same general that authorized the 75th Ranger designation in Vietnam, 1969-72). GEN Abrams had opposition at the five sided wind tunnel but his long overdue plan still went forward. One big difference from Darby’s Rangers would be that they would all be airborne (jump) qualified from their inception, based on the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam experience (lessons learned).

The Ranger Creed was written to insure the professionalism, discipline, and tenacity of the new battalions. Airborne-Ranger CSM Neal R. Gentry wrote the Creed. CSM Gentry was the ideal Ranger non-com for the task having served in Vietnam as a LRP platoon sergeant and 1SG with Company L (Ranger), 75th Infantry, 101st Airborne. His creed would encompass Ranger philosophy and has been the hallmark of the spirit, discipline, and duty of all Rangers in peace and war since 1974.

CSM Gentry (Ranger Hall of Fame inductee) was also instrumental in the development of the new 75th Infantry Coat of Arms and Distinguished Unit Insignia (DUI). Once Gentry’s creed had established the standard word then went out to interested veteran airborne-rangers remaining in the army after Vietnam, to new airborne infantry volunteers, and to volunteer soldiers with other needed specialties (MOSs). If the volunteer soldier wasn’t yet airborne qualified he would have to volunteer for both airborne and ranger training regardless of his military occupational specialty (MOS). The 1/75th would be activated at Ft. Stewart, GA (4 years later relocating to Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah, GA) and the 2/75th would be activated at Ft. Lewis, Washington (near Grey Army Airfield).

By 1980 the right of passage to serve in the battalions for all MOSs or needed officer branches would be the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) or the Ranger Orientation Program (ROP). ROP was intended for already Ranger qualified enlisted and officer personnel wanting to serve in the battalions. RIP being an assessment, selection, and indoctrination (A/S/I) program for airborne non-Ranger qualified volunteer enlisted personnel. In 1974 the two new battalions would design their own distinctive scrolls bearing the words “Ranger/Airborne,” the 2/75 scroll being larger and wider than the 1/75 scroll. The new battalions would both adopt a new unit crest designed after the SSI of Merrill’s Marauders of WWII (BTO: Burma Theater of Operations, WWII).

The first test for elements of the 1/75 would be during the failed 1980 Iran hostage rescue attempt (Desert One: “Operation Eagle Claw”, RH-53 and C-130 collision and explosion at Desert One). Three years later following the successful 1983 Grenada combat jump (second “mustard stain” in US Army Ranger history, “Operation Urgent Fury”, Point Salines airstrip, 1,100 American civilians secured and evacuated), based on 1/75 and 2/75 performance during Urgent Fury, the HQDA would order the activation of a 3rd Ranger Battalion and a 75th Ranger Regimental Headquarters both at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

In 1984 the history of the Ranger Scroll would come full circle when all three (3) modern day Ranger Battalions and their Regimental HQ honored Darby’s Rangers by adopting the original 1942 WWII scroll design, which only includes the word “Ranger” in the middle of the legendary 1942 shoulder insignia. For the first time in American Ranger history, on July 26, 1984 the scroll finally became the official shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI or unit patch) of the US Army 75th Rangers (Army Chief of Staff: GEN John A. Wickham, Jr.). With the formation of the Regimental HQ “battalion RIP/ROP” became “regimental RIP/ROP” and therefore consolidated at Ft. Benning.

In 2002 a dishonest Army Chief of Staff (GEN Eric Shinseki) forced the 75th under a ‘gag order’ to drop their proud and hard earned black beret heraldry and honor for their now distinctive khaki or tan (“sand”) berets, same color of the highly respected British SAS. Ironically Darby’s Rangers where originally trained by British and Irish commandos in early WWII. Soon after adopting their new khaki berets the regiment would begin establishing the history of their garrison headgear over the “sands” of Afghanistan, spearheading army infantry efforts there against Al-Qaida and Taliban forces. A third “mustard stain” was earned by the regiment during “Operation Just Cause” (Panama, 1989), a fourth during “Operation Enduring Freedom” (OEF, Afghanistan, 2002), and a fifth during an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF1) jump onto a Western Iraq airfield (2003).

Currently the 75th is the premier SOF infantry asset for the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). While SF, Delta, USAF, and USN JSOC special operators conduct only 6 to 12-man team missions (sometimes 2-man missions) the regiment is capable of projecting it’s power at the platoon, company, battalion, and even at the regimental level (as during “Operation Just Cause”, Panama, 1989) bringing and awesome sea, air, and land SOF infantry capability (firepower) to the SOCOM/JSOC arsenal. The regiment is also capable of conducting mission dictated small special team actions.

Today the 75th has personnel trained as scout swimmers and in SCUBA/rebreathers, HALO/HAHO, air assault/helo fast-roping, STABO extraction, jumpmasters, pathfinders, recon and surveillance teams (RRD: Ranger Recon Detachment), combat controllers/FOs, SERE (Survival Evasion, Resistance, and Escape), combat search and rescue (CSAR), and snipers, in addition to other specialties that support their SOF infantry “mission essential tasks list” (METL). Rangers are capable of spearheading conventional army operations or of supporting unconventional operations globally for JSOC, both with little notice. In 2003 the RRD would change is name to the Regimental Reconnaissance Company [RRC].

The 75th routinely conducts joint training with special operators from all branches, the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment), and the USAF Special Operations Air Wing(s), at the JFK Special Warfare Center (Ft. Bragg) and during worldwide deployments. The 75th specializes in forced entry airfield seizures (airborne or air-assault) to establish air bridges for follow on unit/equipment arrivals into an area of operations (AO). Since late 2001 the regiment has been effectively engaged in combat operations by rotating companies from it’s three (3) battalions to the Middle East (Southwest Asia) as part of JSOC in support of CENTCOM in the on going OEF and OIF efforts (GWOT). Now you know the legendary history of the black, red, and white “SCROLL” SSI in the US Army.

Terrorism is a disease, and Rangers are the cure.
Sua Sponte!

Note: this paper is the intellectual property (creation) of ARNG infantry 1LT Reinaldo A. Rios, LRSC veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and former member of the 2/75th Rangers. Copyright © 2004 – 2005, all rights reserved. Written in the memory and honor of all U.S. Army Rangers past, present, and future, and in honor of my late father MSG William C. Rios Hernandez (1925-1973), CIB/Bronze Star/Purple Heart, 65th Infantry Regimental Combat Team (RCT), Korean War. 1LT Rios is currently a scout platoon leader with HHC 1/295th Infantry, 92nd SIB, Puerto Rico ARNG. RLTW!

Attached pictures are of the Original 1942 1st Ranger Battalion Scroll and the F. Co. 425th LRS Scroll
Attached Thumbnails

"Never underestimate the sneakiness, Sir"
That is a good read.

RRD changed its name in '06. I believe it was 17 July, to be exact. Thats the same day that RSTB was activated.

I dont know that I would agree with the "dishonest" label for Gen Shinseki. While we were all pissed at the time, and I do remember we weren't supposed to say anything bad about the decision, I dont remember it being a "gag" order. Its like most large changes in any organization, it was met with alot of foot dragging, but we endured it kicking and screaming and the Regiment has turned out better for it.
As a member of RICA and a former Korean War Airborne Ranger, i enjoyed the whole article! I especially enjoyed the Korean War Ranger segment.

So many times in Ranger histories, many skip over the Korean war Airborne Ranger Infantry Companies of that era, or have incorrect data in them. This article seemed to have it right!

Thanks for posting it!! :)


EATIII....thank you. I've printed out the article and have already highlighted several passages. Thanks again.
View attachment 5716

Thank youn forn posting this article! I served in the 25th ID in Company F, 50th Infantry (LRRP) in 1968 to 1969 When the Company became Company F, 75th Infantry (Ranger)

SF Mike


  • 25th lrrp.jpg
    25th lrrp.jpg
    13.3 KB · Views: 12