The 75th Ranger Regiment (Airborne) is a military unit of the United States Army. The Regiment, headquartered in Fort Benning, Georgia, operates as an elite light infantry special operations force of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).
The Regiment is composed of rapidly-deployable light infantry forces with specialized skills that enable them to perform a variety of special operations missions – airborne, air assault, and direct action operations, raids, infiltration and exfiltration by air, land or sea in addition to airfield seizure, recovery of personnel and special equipment, and support of general purpose forces. Each Ranger battalion is expected to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours notice.
At the end of the Vietnam War, division and brigade commanders saw that the U.S. Army needed an elite, light infantry capable of rapid deployment. In 1974, General Creighton Abrams created the 1st Ranger Battalion. Eight months later, the 2nd Ranger Battalion was created, and in 1984, the 3rd Ranger Battalion and the regimental headquarters was created. In 1986, the 75th Ranger Regiment was formed and their lineage formally authorized. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Ranger Battalions were also re-activated, becoming the Ranger Training Brigade, the instructors of the modern day Ranger School. These units are parts of TRADOC school and are not included in the 75th Ranger Regiment.
In 1980, elements of the 1st Battalion participated in the failed attempt to rescue the American hostages held in Tehran, Iran in Operation Eagle Claw. In October 1983, 1st and 2nd Battalions spearheaded Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada by conducting a bold low-level parachute assault to seize Point Salines Airfield and rescue American citizens at True Blue Medical Campus.
In 1989, the entire 75th Ranger Regiment participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama. Rangers spearheaded the action by conducting two important operations. Simultaneous parachute assaults were conducted onto Tocumen airfield and the adjacent Omar Torrijos International Airport, Rio Hato Airfield and Manuel Noriega’s beach house, to neutralize Panamanian Defense Forces. The Rangers captured 1,014 enemy prisoners of war and over 18,000 arms of various types.
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Elements of Company B, and 1st Platoon Company A of the 1st Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia from 12 February 1991 to 15 April 1991, in support of Operation Desert Storm. Over three years later, in August 1993, Company B of the 3rd Battalion deployed to Somalia to assist United Nations humanitarian forces as part of Operation Restore Hope. On 3 October 1993, the Rangers conducted Operation Gothic Serpent with Delta Force operators to capture two of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s lieutenants. For nearly 18 hours, the Rangers fought Somali guerrillas in what became the fiercest ground combat for U.S. military personnel since the Vietnam War.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions and a Company of the 3rd Battalion were deployed to Haiti in 1994. The operation was canceled within five minutes of its execution when a team of negotiators, dispatched by President Bill Clinton and led by former President Jimmy Carter, was able to convince General Raoul Cédras to relinquish power. Elements of the 1st and 2nd Battalions operated in-country while order was being restored. This is also the first operation where the U.S. Army was the primary operating force on a U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS America (CV-66). The ship had Special Operations Forces from USSOCOM composed of Rangers, Special Forces, and other special warfare groups.
On 24 November 2000 the 75th Ranger Regiment deployed Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment Team 2 and a command and control element to Kosovo in support of Task Force Falcon.
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After the 11 September attacks, Rangers were called upon to participate in the War on Terrorism. On 19 October 2001, the 3rd Battalion spearheaded ground forces by conducting an airborne assault to seize “Objective Rhino” in Afganistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On 28 March 2003, the 3rd Battalion employed the first airborne assault in Iraq to seize “Objective Serpent” in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Due to the changing nature of warfare and the need for an agile and sustainable Ranger Force, the Regimental Special Troops Battalion was activated 17 July 2006. The RSTB conducts sustainment, intelligence, reconnaissance and maintenance missions which were previously accomplished by small detachments assigned to the Regimental headquarters and then attached within each of the three Ranger battalions.