U.S. RANGERS LEADING THE WAY. The US Rangers were formed in 1942 after Major General Lucian K. Truscott, US Army Liaison with the British General Staff, argued that 'we undertake immediately an American unit along the lines of the British Commandos'. The name Ranger was selected 'in compliment to those in American history who exemplified the high standards of courage, initiative, determination and ruggedness, fighting ability and achievement'.
William Orlando Darby, a graduate of West Point with amphibious training, was chosen to command and he performed a near miracle in organizing the unit within a few weeks from thousands of applicants from 1st Armored Division and 34th Infantry, both of which were based in Ireland.
The 1st Ranger Battalion was officially activated at Carrickfergus, Ireland on 19 June 1942. Its first action was at Dieppe when some 50-odd men took part in the raid, but the first major use of Rangers was when as a spearhead to the North African invasion.
Later in Tunisia the 1st Battalion executed the first Ranger behind-the-lines night raid at Sened. On 31 March 1943 Rangers led General Patton's drive to capture the heights of El Guettar and won the unit's first Presidential Citation. After Tunisia, the 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions were activated and Rangers would go on to take part in the invasions of Sicily and Italy. Rangers spearheaded the night landings at Anzio, and during the invasion of Normandy the 2nd Ranger Battalion carried out a desperate mission when it assaulted, captured and held German artillery positions atop the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc.
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