The 75th Ranger Regiment is the United States Army’s iconic light infantry special operations force, also known as the Army Rangers. “Rangers lead the way” has been the Ranger motto for decades, but how exactly did it come about? You’re about to find out.
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Where Did “Rangers Lead the Way” Come From?
Captain William Orlando Darby of the 34th Infantry Regiment was selected to create the next light infantry fighting unit. He organized a unit that specialized in raids and ambushes, and he gave the unit a name that was a staple on battlefields for centuries.
Darby then asked for permission to train and organize three battalions, which was granted, and he created a difficult training regiment that was meant to weed out the weak links. The intent for the unit was for them to lead in the front of the battles, which meant his men had to be mentally and physically tougher than tough.
Once the word was out, around 1,600 men signed up, and only 600 were accepted. Most of the men came from the 34th Infantry Regiment, Darby’s previous division. 500 men successfully went through the training course and went into battle.
On June 6, 1944, the Rangers took part in one of their most famous missions: D-Day. During the attack on Omaha Beach in Normandy, General Norman Cota of the 29th Infantry Division unintentionally created the ranger motto.
While asking Max Schnider, Lieutenant of the 5th Battalion of the 75th Infantry Ranger Regiment, what unit he was a part of, General Cota then stated, “Well godd*mmit, if you’re Rangers, lead the way!”
Ever since then, the “Rangers lead the way” motto has remained true. Today, you can find the Ranger motto just about anywhere, and many a “Rangers lead the way” poster has inspired others to respect the abilities of our Rangers or even join up, themselves.
Who Are the Army Rangers?
The Army Rangers are capable of conducting many joint special operations missions because they are always combat ready and are mentally and physically tough. They are always prepared to fight for the United States against her adversaries, come what may.
Army Rangers have tons of capabilities, many of which help bring an understanding to the meaning of the Army Ranger motto. Some of their capabilities include conducting airborne and air assault operations, destroying strategic facilities, seizing key terrain, and capturing or killing the nation’s enemies.
The Army Rangers are resourced to maintain excellent proficiency, experience, and readiness, as well as being capable of conducting the squad through regimental-sized operations.
The Rangers follow a “Big Five Philosophy.” These include physical training, medical training, marksmanship, small unit tactics, and mobility. Following this philosophy sets individual Rangers and the Ranger mission up for success.
To become an Army Ranger, a Soldier must go through Ranger school. Ranger school is one of the toughest training courses within the United States Army, and it prepares would-be Rangers for almost anything.
Army Ranger History
The spirit of the United States Army Rangers dates all the way back to the Revolutionary War. Captain Benjamin Church and Major Robert Rodgers formed Army Ranger units in the middle of the 1700s. The units fought during King Philip’s War and the French and Indian War.
Army Rangers have been a part of many wars, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, the United States created the six Ranger Infantry battalions.
Some famous Rangers that we all know include Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Boone. They belonged to the units that were formed during the 18th and 19th centuries.
After the Civil War ended, the United States went without Army Ranger units all the way up until World War II, which is when the 75th Infantry Ranger Regiment was organized.
“Rangers lead the way” is a motto that will always remain true to the United States Army Rangers. As one of the toughest and bravest units of the Army, the Rangers will forever be true to their motto.
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Image: U.S. Army