Rangers' "Standing Orders" historically inaccurate

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/03MAY/030515-01.htm


RELEASE NUMBER: 030515-01
DATE POSTED: MAY 15, 2003

Unlawful orders?
Rangers' "Standing Orders" historically inaccurate

By Sgt. Kyle J. Cosner
U.S. Army Special Operations Command

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, May 15, 2003) — Ranger-qualified Soldiers across the Army are familiar with them. Current members of the 75th Ranger Regiment know them by heart. They are an important historical link to the regiment’s much-heralded past.

The problem is that they are a work of fiction.

Better known as Rogers’ Standing Orders, the list of 19 down-home directives such as, “Don’t forget nothing,” was supposedly created by 18th century Ranger pioneer Maj. Robert Rogers. As the leader of modern ranger regiment forerunner Rogers’ Rangers, Rogers supposedly created the orders as a type of working field manual for his troops. For decades, those orders have been required knowledge for Soldiers associated with the history-conscious 75th Ranger Regiment.

However, a second look at history tells a different story.

Originally included in a 1936 Kenneth Roberts historical fiction novel, “Northwest Passage,” Rogers’ Standing Orders were never actually penned or spoken by Rogers himself. Instead, Roberts based his hero’s standing orders off of Rogers’ real-life writings, published as 28 “Rules of Discipline” in Rogers’ 1765 “Journals,” a fact most recently revealed in a re-released version of Rogers’ autobiographical book.

In “The Annotated and Illustrated Journals of Major Robert Rogers,” editor Timothy J. Todish exposes the Standing Orders as fiction based on fact.

“‘While they make for interesting reading and do bear some resemblance to Rogers’ real ranging rules, the Standing Orders are definitely a modern creation,’” Todish wrote in the book’s annotated notes.

When comparing the Standing Orders and Rogers’ original 18th century rules, both striking similarities and distinct differences become apparent.<SPAN style="COLOR: black">

For example, the second “Northwest Passage”-inspired Standing Order reads, “‘Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minutes warning.”

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