Vietnam Era Ranger History
Rangers were again called to serve their country during the Vietnam War. The 75th Infantry was reorganized once more on Jan. 1, 1969, as a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. Fifteen separate Ranger companies were formed from this reorganization. Thirteen served proudly in Vietnam until inactivation on Aug. 15, 1972, which was the longest sustained Ranger Regiment in over 300 years:
• A (Alpha) co - Initially formed in Germany and attached to V Corps and VII Corps, later redeployed CONUS to act as a reserve should they be needed in Europe to fight Soviet aggression.
• B (Bravo) co - Initially formed in Germany and attached to V Corps and VII Corps, and later redeployed CONUS to act as a reserve should they be needed in Europe to fight Soviet aggression.
• C (Charlie) co - 1st Field Forces Vietnam
• D (Delta) co - attached to 3rd aero Squadron, 17th Cav. Formed of cadre from D co, 151st Infantry (a National Guard Unit)
• E (ECHO) co - 9th I.D.
• F (Foxtrot) co- 25th I.D.
• G (Golf) co - 196th Light Infantry Brigade
• H (Hotel) co - 1st Cavalry Division, Airmobile
• I (India) co - 1st I.D.
• K (Kilo) co - 4th I.D.
• L (Lima) co 101st Airborne Division
• M (Mike) co - 199th Light Infantry Brigade
• N (November) co - 173rd Airborne Brigade
• O (Oscar) co - Arctic Ranger at Ft Richard Alaska 1970-1972 under Gen Holingsworth
• O (Oscar) co - 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division
• P (Papa) co - 4th Brigade, 5th I.D. (Mech)
The 75th Infantry Regiment was activated in Okinawa in 1954, related to its predecessors in the 475th Infantry Regiment. They were rooted from the 5307th Composite Provisional Unit, known as Merrill’s Marauders. Historically, Company I (Ranger) 75th Infantry, and Company G (Ranger) 75th Infantry produced the first two US Army Rangers actively serving in combat to receive the Medal of Honor. Texas native Specialist-four Robert D. Law was awarded the first Medal of Honor on a long range patrol in Tinh Phoc Province, RVN serving with Company F, I/75th. Specialist Law, at the age of 24 died jumping on an enemy grenade, fully taking on the blast and saving his comrades. Minnesota native SSG Robert J. Pruden, at the age of 20 serving with company G I/75th in Quang Ngai Province was posthumously awarded the second Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while on a reconnaissance mission that came under heavy enemy fire. In addition to Specialist Law and SSG Pruden, Pennsylvania native SSG Laszlo Rabel, at the age of 31, was on a LRP (long range patrol) in the Binh Dinh Province, where he smothered an enemy grenade with his body to save the rest of his comrades in the 74th Infantry Detachment (LRP). The 74th LRP is a predecessor of Company N, (Ranger) 75th Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade.
The change of the 20th,50th,51st,58th,71st,78th LRP Companies , the 79th Infantry Detachment and Company D of the 151st Infantry LPR Indiana National Guard to Ranger Companies of the 75th Infantry began on February 1st , 1969. Companies C and P of the 75th conducted Ranger missions in Vietnam every day for three years and seven months, just like the unit of Merrill’s Marauders where they came from. The 75th Rangers were made of Infantry, Artillery, Engineers, Signal, Medical, Military Police, Food Service, and Parachute riggers. They were joined by former enemies of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army, who defected to fight against their former units alongside the Rangers. This was unlike traditional Rangers who trained stateside independent of friendly ally nations. The Rangers of Vietnam were selected and trained during war time, in-country. The training of selected “volunteers” involved the hardest test of men: combat. After a series of combat patrols, they were either accepted or returned to their respective units. Acceptance was based off of their Ranger peers, and upon acceptance they were allowed to proudly wear the black beret on their head and the Ranger Scroll on their shoulder which also showed what company they were from. All of the LRP’s and 75th Ranger companies were granted parachute pay for their active jump status. Modus Operandi for patrol insertion varied, but the helicopter was the main source of insertion and exfiltration from behind enemy lines. The other Modus Operandi was foot, wheeled, tracked vehicle, airboats, Navy Swift Boats and stay behind missions where the Rangers stayed behind as a large tactical unit and then withdrew from the area. False helicopter insertions were used to dissuade enemy trail watchers. The missions usually consisted of the location of enemy bases and lines of communication. Special missions were wiretap, prisoner snatch, Platoon and Company size Raid missions and Bomb Damage Assessments (BDA) after 52-Arc Light missions, which was the code name used for strategic B-52 bomber missions in South East Asia. It should be noted that the main mission of Vietnam Rangers was the Long Range Patrols.
Originally staffed by graduates of the US Army Ranger School and later, with the start of the war, with volunteers who consisted of Recondo School graduates, Line Company cadre, Paratroopers, and Special Forces Trained men. The main force was made up of men who had no chance to make it to the stateside US Army Ranger School.
The Rangers of Vietnam fought in some of the fiercest combat in Army History and frequently were up against enemy forces that greatly outweighed them after being compromised on missions, yet the Rangers overwhelmed the enemy time and time again. Army Chief of Staff Creighton Abrams, who followed the 75th Ranger operations closely, chose the 75th Rangers as his prime example for his training of the next generation of Rangers who were formed in peacetime. The prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers of Vietnam along with the previous Rangers before them gave Chief of Staff Abrams the perfect model to train the best fighting force known to the world, the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Last edited by goon175
on November 11th, 2011, 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorius triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
1/75 2006 - 2010