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The Birth of the Rangers

From W. Thomas Smith, Jr.'s This Week in American Military History (emphasis mine):

Jan. 31, 1974:  The first of three U.S. Army Ranger battalions since World War II is activated.

Yes, there were post-war Rangers and Ranger units of varying sizes, but the modern battalion-organization is launched in 1974 by Gen. Creighton Abrams, who proclaims: "The Ranger battalion is to be an elite, light and [the] most proficient infantry battalion in the world; a battalion that can do things with its hands and weapons better than anyone. The battalion will contain no hoodlums or brigands, and if the battalion is formed of such persons it will be disbanded. Wherever the battalion goes it will be apparent that it is the best.”

No hoodlums and brigands, what fun is that? A very brief history on the founding of the Rangers from the U.S. Army Ranger Association (they have far more history at their website):

The history of the US Ranger did not begin with Robert Rogers in the 1750's as is widely believed. Units specifically designated as Rangers and using Ranger tactics were employed on the American frontier as early as 1670. It was the Rangers of Captain Benjamin Church who brought the Indian conflict known as "King Phillip's War" to a successful conclusion in 1675.

In the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the famous Major Robert Rogers developed the Ranger concept to an extent never known before. 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.

John Paul Jones was one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. Navy. In April 1778 as captain of the sloop the "War Ranger" the first vessel to fly the "Stars and Stripes", he attacked and defeated "HMS Drake" in the waters of Belfast Lough, just off Carrickfergus Castle. Specially commissioned embroidered quilts commemorate the battle. One hangs in the Carrickfergus Knight Ride Centre, the other in John Paul Jones House in  Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

In 1942 the US Rangers were formed in Carrickfergus from volunteers drawn from American Army Units based in Northern Ireland. Their induction and initial training took place in Sunnylands Camp in Carrickfergus in June of that year. The US Rangers eventually left our shores to spearhead Allied invasions and battles that changed the face of history. Their early days in Carrickfergus are commemorated in the US Rangers Centre in the gardens of the Andrew Jackson homestead in Boneybefore. More information may be obtained from Carrickfergus Council and Northern Ireland Tourist Board websites.

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