After the Vietnam conflict, division and brigade commanders determined that the U.S. Army needed elite, rapidly deployable light infantry, so in 1974 General Creighton Abrams constituted the 1st Ranger Battalion; eight months later, the 2nd Ranger Battalion was constituted, and in 1984 the 3rd Ranger Battalion and their regimental headquarters were created. In 1986, the 75th Ranger Regiment was formed and their military lineage formally authorized. The 75th Ranger Regiment, comprising three battalions, is the premier light-infantry of the U.S. Army. It is the deadly combination of special operations and elite airborne light infantry. The Regiment is a flexible, highly trained and rapid light infantry unit specialized to be employed against any special operations targets.
The 4th, 5th, and 6th Ranger Battalions were re-activated as the Ranger Training Brigade, the cadre of instructors of the contemporary Ranger School; moreover, because they are parts of a TRADOC school, the 4th, 5th, and 6th battalions are not formally included to the active strength of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
The Rangers have participated in numerous operations throughout modern history. In 1980, the Rangers were involved with Operation Eagle Claw, the 1980 rescue attempt of American hostages in Tehran, Iran. In 1983, the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions conducted Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. All three Ranger battalions, with a headquarters element, participated in the U.S. invasion of Panama (Operation Just Cause) in 1989. Bravo Company, 1st Battalion was deployed in the First Persian Gulf War (Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield) in 1991. Bravo Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion was the base unit of Task Force Ranger in Operation Gothic Serpent, in Somalia in 1993, concurrent with Operation Restore Hope. In 1994, soldiers from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Ranger Battalions deployed to Haiti (before the operation’s cancellation. The force was recalled 5 miles (8.0 km) from the Haitian coast.). The 3rd Ranger Battalion led the attack in Afghanistan, in 2001. The Ranger Regiment has been involved in multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since 2003.
War on Terror
After September 11, the United States began what it called its War on Terror with the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. Special Operations Units such as the Rangers, along with some CIA officers were the first US Forces on Afghan soil during Operation Enduring Freedom. This was the first large Ranger operation since Somalia in 1993. The Rangers met with success during the invasion and, along with the other US Special Operations forces, played an integral part in overthrowing the Taliban government. They also participated in the biggest firefight of Operation Anaconda in 2002 at Takur Ghar.
In 2003, when the United States invaded Iraq, the Rangers were among those sent in. During the beginning of the war, they faced some of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard units. One of their notable achievements in Iraq was the rescue of American prisoner of war POW Private First Class Jessica Lynch. The 75th Ranger Regiment has been one of the few units to have members continuously deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.