Airborne Rangers Essay, Research Paper
Elite, brave, cunning, intelligent, arriving at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air. They are the Airborne Rangers of the United States Army. These elite soldiers must be faster, smarter, and able to fight harder than any soldier. They shall never fail their comrades. They keep themselves mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and shoulder more than their share of the task whatever it may be. One-hundred-percent and then some. Gallantly showing the world that those specially selected and well-trained soldiers . Their courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. Energetically they meet the enemies of our country. They shall defeat them on the field of battle for they are better trained and will fight with all their might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. They will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country. Readily will they display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though one be the lone survivor.
That is the slightly different Ranger Creed. This they must memorize and note deep into their heart and always to follow by this creed of honor. The training of this elite soldier is intense, challenging, painful, and very difficult for those who are weak and have no guts.
The history of the American Ranger is a long and colorful saga of courage, daring and outstanding leadership. It is a story of men whose skills in the art of fighting have seldom been surpassed. Only the highlights of their numerous exploits are told here.
Rangers primarily performed defensive missions until Benjamin Church s Company of Independent Rangers from Plymouth Colony proved successful in raiding hostile Indians during King Phillip s War in 1675. In 1756 Major Robert Rogers, a native of New Hampshire recruited nine companies of American colonists to fight for the British during the French and Indian War. Ranger techniques and methods of operation were an inherent characteristic of the American frontiersmen; however, Major Rogers was the first to capitalize on them and incorporate them into the fighting doctrine of a permanently organized fighting force.
Colonel Daniel Morgan, who organized a unit known as Morgan s Riflemen , further developed the method of fighting used by the first Rangers during the Revolutionary War. According to General Burgoyne, Morgan s men were . the most famous corps of the Continental Army, all of them crack shots.
Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox , organized another famous Revolutionary War Ranger element known as Marion s Partisans . Marion s Partisans, numbering anywhere from a handful to several hundred, operated both with and independent of other elements of General Washington s Army. Operating out of the Carolina swamps, they disrupted British communications and prevented the organization of loyalists to support the British cause, substantially contributing to the American victory.
The American Civil War was again the occasion for the creation of special units such as Rangers. John S. Mosby, a master of the prompt and skillful use of cavalry, was one of the most outstanding Confederate Rangers. He believed that by resorting to aggressive action he could compel his enemies to guard a hundred points. He would then attack one of the weakest points and be assured numerical superiority.
With America s entry into the Second World War, Rangers came forth to add to the pages of history. Major William O. Darby organized and activated the 1st Ranger Battalion on June19, 1942 at Carrickfergus, North Ireland. The members were all handpicked volunteers; 50 participated in the gallant Dieppe Raid on the northern coast of France with British and Canadian commandos. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Ranger Battalions participated with distinction in the North African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns. Darby s Ranger Battalions spearheaded the Seventh Army landing at Gela and Licata during the Sicilian invasion and played a key role in the subsequent campaign, which culminated in the capture of Messina. They infiltrated German lines and mounted an attack against Cisterna, where they virtually annihilated an entire German parachute regiment during close in, night, bayonet and hand-to-hand fighting.
The Benning Phase
The Benning Phase of Ranger training is designed to assess and then to develop the military skills, physical and mental endurance, stamina, and confidence a soldier must have to successfully accomplish combat missions. It is also designed to teach the Ranger student to properly sustain himself, his subordinates, and maintain his equipment under difficult field conditions during the subsequent phases of Ranger training. If a student is not in TOP PHYSICAL CONDITION when he reports to the Ranger course, he will have many difficulties keeping up with the phases.
The Benning Phase is executed in two parts. The first part conducted at Camp Rogers in the Harmony Church area of Fort Benning. This phase consists of an APFT consisting of 49 Push-ups, 59 Sit-ups, and two-mile run in running shoes in 15:12 minutes or less. In addition, applicant must execute six chin-ups (Palms facing toward the face). Combat water survival test (CWST), 5-mile run, 3-mile runs with an obstacle course, a 16mile foot march, night and day land navigation tests, medical considerations class, rifle bayonet, pugil stick and combative (hand-to-hand). Advanced physical training assures physical and mental endurance and the stamina required for enhancing basic Ranger characteristics, commitment, confidence and toughness. Additionally, the student completes the water confidence test at Hurley Hill (Victory Pond), terrain association, demolitions; patrol base/ ORP and an airborne refresher jump at Fryar Drop Zone.
The second part of the Benning Phase is conducted at nearby Camp William O. Darby. The emphasis at Camp Darby is on the instruction in and execution of squad combat patrol operations. The Ranger student receives instruction on boxing, field craft training, executes the Darby Queen Obstacle Course and learns the fundamentals of patrolling, the warning order/operations order format and communications. The fundamentals of combat patrol operations include battle drills, ambush and reconnaissance patrols, enter/clear a room, airborne operations, and air assault operations. This phase uses the crawl technique during the FTX, which allows the student to practice the principles and techniques that enables the patrol to successfully conduct reconnaissance and ambush patrol missions. The Ranger student must then demonstrate his expertise through a series of cadre and student led tactical patrol operations. As a result, the Ranger student gains tactical and technical proficiency, confidence in him and prepares to move to the next phase of the coursethe Mountain Phase. Following the Benning Phase students are transported to Camp Frank D. Merrill, Dahlonega, Ga.
The Mountain Phase
During the Mountain Phase, students receive instruction on military mountaineering tasks as well as techniques for employing a squad and platoon for continuous combat patrol operations in a mountainous environment. They further develop their ability to command and control a platoon size patrol through planning, preparing, and executing a variety of combat patrol missions. The Ranger student continues to learn how to sustain himself and his subordinates in the adverse conditions of the mountains. The rugged terrain, severe weather, hunger, mental and physical fatigue, and the emotional stress that the student encounters afford him the opportunity to gauge his own capabilities and limitations as well as that of his “Ranger Buddies”. In addition to combat patrol operations, the Ranger student receives five days of training on military mountaineering. During the first three days of mountaineering (Lower) he learns about knots, belays, anchor points, rope management and the basic fundamentals of climbing and rappelling. His mountaineering training culminates with a two-day exercise (Upper) at Yonah Mountain applying the skills learned during Lower Mountaineering. Each student must make all prescribed climbs to include a 200-foot night rappel at Yonah Mountain to continue in the Course. During the two FTXs, Ranger students also perform patrol missions requiring the use of their mountaineering skills.
Combat patrol missions are directed against a conventionally equipped threat force in a low intensity conflict scenario. These patrol missions are conducted both day and night over a four day squad field training exercise (FTX) and a platoon five day FTX that includes moving cross country over mountains, conducting vehicle ambushes, raiding communications/mortar sites, and conducting a river crossing or scaling a steep sloped mountain. The Ranger student reaches his objective in several ways: Cross-country movement, air assaults into small landing zones on the sides of mountains or an 810 mile foot march over the Tennessee Valley Divide (TVD). The stamina and commitment of the Ranger student is stressed to the maximum. At any time, he may be selected to lead tired, hungry, physically expended students to accomplish yet another combat patrol mission.
At the conclusion of the Mountain Phase, the students move by bus or parachute assault into the Third and final (Florida) Phase of Ranger training, conducted at Camp Rudder, near Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
The Florida Phase
The third or capstone Phase of Ranger School is conducted at Camp James E. Rudder (Auxiliary Field #6), Eglin AFB, and Florida. Emphasis during this phase is to continue the development of the Ranger student’s combat arms functional skills. He must be capable of operating effectively under conditions of extreme mental and physical stress. This is accomplished through practical exercises in extended platoon level patrol operations in a Jungle/Swamp environment. Training further develops the students’ ability to plan for and lead small units on independent and coordinated airborne, air assault, small boat, ship to shore, and dismounted combat patrol operations in a lowintensity combat environment against a well trained, sophisticated enemy.
The Florida Phase continues the progressive, realistic OPFOR scenario. As the scenario develops, the students receive “InCountry” technique training that assists them in accomplishing the tactical missions in the phase. Technique training includes: small boat operations, ship to shore operations, expedient stream crossing techniques, and skills needed to survive and operate in a jungle/swamp environment.
The Ranger students are updated on the scenario that eventually commits the unit to combat during techniques training. The 10day FTX is a fastpaced, highly stressful, challenging exercise in which the students are evaluated on their ability to apply small unit tactics/techniques. They apply the tactics/techniques of raids and ambushes to accomplish their missions. Upon completion of the Florida Phase of training, students conduct an airborne insertion into Fort Benning.
High standards are required and maintained despite the stressful environment in Ranger training. The Ranger course produces a mentally hardened soldier, who possesses an enhanced capability to perform combat arms related associated functional skills and is more confident in his ability to overcome obstacles, withstand the stresses of combat and accomplish his mission under extremely adverse conditions.
During the Ranger course, the Ranger proves he can overcome seemingly insurmountable mental and physical challenges. He has demonstrated, while under simulated combat conditions, that he has acquired the professional skills and techniques necessary to plan, organize, coordinate, and conduct small unit operations. He has demonstrated that he has mastered basic skills needed to plan and execute dismounted smallunit day and night operations, low altitude mountaineering, and infiltration as well as exfiltration techniques via land, air, and sea. As a result of proving that he can successfully accomplish these tasks during the Ranger course, he is authorized to wear the Ranger Tab.
Operation Just Cause (Panama)
On October 3, 1984, the Department of the Army announced the activation of the 3rd Ranger Battalion and on February 3, 1986, the 75th Ranger Regimental Headquarters at Fort Benning. This historic event marked a new era for the Rangers; with over 2000 soldiers, the modern battalions had a number of men unseen since World War II.
The entire Regiment would participate in the invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989. The Rangers were to secure Torrijos-Tocumen International Airport, Rio Hato Military Airfield, and then Noriega’s beach house. Rangers who dropped at Torillos later moved into Panama City, where they took the military headquarters of the Panamanian Defense Forces. Conducting simultaneous low level parachute jumps, 1/75, C company 3/75, and Team Gold from RHQ would capture Torrijos-Tocumen International Airport, while 2/75, A and B 3/75, and Team Black of RHQ would take over Rio Hato Airfield. At Rio Hato heavy antiaircraft fire was encountered and one Ranger was hit in the back of the head while still in the airplane. He survived, but five Rangers were killed in the operation. The Rangers secured the perimeter of the field before the Panamanians began to test the defenses. At Rio Hato the Rangers were supported by AC-130 Spectre gunship, whose target acquisition cameras found targets in the dark. Two hours after the drop at Rio Hato, the airfield was secure enough for transport aircraft to begin landing with supplies and additional equipment for the Rangers.
Once the airfields were secure, the Rangers then carried out special operations in support of Joint Task Force (South). They moved against the Panamanian Special Forces called the Mountain Troops. Rangers moved from house to house in the compound, and the village where the families of the soldiers lived. Many of the Mountain Troops were caught trying to shave off their distinctive beards. On the fifth day of the operation the Rangers were sent to secure Calle Diez, an area some twenty to twenty-five miles from Panama City, held by the “Dignity Battalions.”
Rangers took many pictures of Panamanian and foreign property, aircraft, shops, and houses to show that property were still intact and protected by the U.S. Army. This prevented false claims and probably saved the United States many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rangers also guarded buildings- such as the Vatican embassy where President Noriega took refuge- to see that no damage was done. Sustaining five killed in action and 42 wounded, the Rangers captured 1014 prisoners of war and over 18000 Panamanian arms. They accomplished the mission given for operation Just Cause: the removal of Manuel Noriega and members of the Panamanian Defense Force loyal to him. The Rangers returned home on January 7, 1990.