Traditions continue as 75th Ranger Regiment changes command

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U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office

By Bonita Riddley And Carol Darby

FORT BENNING, GA, (August 10, 2007) -- In keeping with tradition, Ranger Rendezvous 2007 ushered in the regimental change of command here for the 75th Ranger Regiment, Aug. 9.

Col. Richard D. Clarke continues the historical lineage of commanders as the 15th colonel of the Ranger Regiment as he assumed command from Col. Paul J. LaCamera during a formal ceremony on York Field.

Overlooking a sea of tan berets, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, U.S. Army Special Operations Command commanding general, presided over the ceremony. USASOC is the headquarters for the Ranger Regiment.

“Some Americans may forget that our nation is at war,” he said. “At war with the global enemy that threatens our very way of life. But nobody on this field ever forgets. America will always be the land the free as it is the home of the brave and you are the brave men that guarantee that freedom, the freedom of our good nation.”

As LaCamera departs command of the Rangers, the premier raid force, for his next assignment at Fort Bragg, N.C., he talked about the men he lead who were not in attendance. Company B, 3rd Battalion and 2nd Bn., are currently deployed.

“I am an extremely fortunate leader and Ranger,” he said. “The men who stand before you on the field today have brothers who are fighting on another battlefield. They represent all that is good in America and our Army.”

LaCamera asked the audience to remember the 11 Rangers who died during his tenure as regimental commander. He added a special thought for retired Gen. Wayne Downing, the third colonel of the regiment, who died suddenly July 17.

“We honor Gen. Downing’s service and character, his value and his lasting contribution,” said Wagner who served with Downing during his Ranger days. “Each of you in formation, honor it by your distinguished service.”

LaCamera explained the moments over the week’s activities and many comments made by Ranger veterans and Rangers alike of deeds past and present.

“As I thought about what to say today, I thought that it really does not matter what I say today. What I said earlier is true; all the great words have been spoken throughout the week. What matters is that deeds speak louder than words. In fact, I have been ‘quote’ writing this speech since I arrived at 3rd platoon, A Company, 1st Ranger Battalion a few years ago.

“I have been extremely fortunate to be blessed with a lot of things,” LaCamera said. “I have met, been mentored and tormented, I have mentored and tormented, lead and been lead by some Ranger legends.”

After serving in multiple positions in 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Ranger Regiment before assuming command of the unit in 2005, LaCamera spoke to his Ranger family.

“As for my family. Both families. Since it is like my name, like all of our names. Our first – Ranger. And our last. You have to earn your first name, more importantly, you have to earn it every day thereafter,” he said. “To my Ranger family, there are no words to describe the pride, privilege and honor it has been serving with you.”

Before assuming command of the Ranger Regiment, Clarke commanded the 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. His other assignments in the regiment include regimental training officer and commander of the Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment and company commander, Comp. B, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment.

“First and most importantly, to the Rangers in the ranks, and those deployed, the most important group that I will address,” Clarke said. “You have borne a tremendous burden since the onset of this war in 2001 and will continue to do so in the future. It is you who deserve the highest praise, even thought you would never seek recognition. I pledge to you to do my utmost each and every day to uphold the prestige and honor of this Ranger Regiment.”

Clarke was commissioned as an infantry officer from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1984. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Course, the Army Command and General Staff College and recently completed a year of study at the National War College in Washington, D.C.

Clarke is a veteran of Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

He has earned numerous awards and decorations to include the Legion of Merit and four Bronze Star medals.

Clarke is married to the former Suzanne Stovall of Beaufort, S.C. They have two children, Madeleine, 9 and Will, 6.

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Colonel Richard D. Clarke speaks after assuming command of the 75th Ranger Regiment during a change of command ceremony Aug. 9, 2007, on York Field, Fort Benning, Ga. Colonel Paul J. LaCamera relenquished command to Clarke. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason B. Baker)

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Colonel Richard D. Clarke speaks after assuming command of the 75th Ranger Regiment during a change of command ceremony Aug. 9, 2007, on York Field, Fort Benning, Ga. Colonel Paul J. LaCamera relenquished command to Clarke. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason B. Baker)

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Colonel Richard D. Clarke recieves the 75th Ranger Regiment colors during the change of command ceremony Aug. 9, 2007, Fort Benning, Ga. Colonel Paul J. LaCamera relenquished command to Clarke. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason B. Baker)
 
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