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October 18, 2012

Ranger History: The Persian Gulf War

The history of the modern Ranger Regiment is a very colorful one; we who join the 75th are expected to study and memorize our heritage from the days of Francis Marion in the American Revolution to the Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan and to more recent times. We jumped into Grenada in ’83, we jumped into Panama in ’89, and we fought thousands of Somalis in the streets of Mogadishu in ’93. These are conflicts ingrained in our memories forever and can be read about (or watched) in countless mediums from books, documentaries, and Hollywood blockbusters. But most Rangers and even less civilians have absolutely no clue about 75th operations during the Persian Gulf War in ’90 – ’91. If memory serves me correctly there is no mention of it at all in our Ranger History booklet we all received in RIP/RASP. So I decided to do some research over the last couple of days and I found out some really great history of our time in the Gulf that I want to share with our fine readers here at SOFREP.

What I found most interesting is that the Rangers (specifically the beach boys of the 1st Ranger Battalion) actually deployed three separate times to the Gulf throughout 1990 to 1991.

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  • SGT Dan

    Double-tapping Formwiz's comment about Ranger Run 1 (the microwave tower raid) being covered as _the_ case study for the Regiment in then-Colonel Bolger's 1999 book Death Ground. That was where I first heard the story.

  • DavidSFaf

    Thanks very much to Lassen for creating this site. I have some idea as to how much work it required - and in my experience, it’s the best out there for info on the Rangers. I also see who’s participating, and I’d like to tap into your collective knowledge. I’m currently doing research for an author writing a novel which has some Rangers in it, takes place partly during GW1, and while, yeah, it’s fiction, I want the details right and the portrayals honest. Need to do honor to those who were there. Before I ask my questions, my background: 20+ years in USAF ops; retired longer ago than I care to remember :-{); many short tours in “the Kingdom” in the ‘80s, both with AWACS and USCENTAF. More than half my career overseas, in several theaters. As to the research for the novel, so far, after following many leads, one of the things that has surprised me is how hard it has been to get details of what the Rangers did in-country. Maybe because of classification, maybe because they were small in number and so missed in “the big picture”. If the latter, I’d like to correct that.   Anyway, here’s an outline of what I’ve got so far, with some questions. I’d appreciate any feedback, but particularly want to know (a) what I’ve got wrong, and (b) what I’ve missed.  - Bravo Company and elements of 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, deployed to SA 12 February 1991 and RTB Hunter 15 April 1991.  - Wherever they landed (Riyadh? King Khalid?) they were soon deployed to Al Jouf.  - Also at Al Jouf were US Delta Force, the 160th SOAR, AFSOC Pavelows - and, of course, the SAS.  - The Rangers went SCUD hunting with the SAS & AFSOC “in order to placate Israel” (according to one source), with Delta Force (+ Rangers) assigned NW of Al Qaim (“SCUD boulevard”) and SAS to the south (“SCUD alley”).  - Ranger and SAS web histories both talk about taking out a comm tower near Syria/Jordan: same one?   — Ranger history says that just prior to the start of the ground war they took out a 350-foot-tall microwave tower in far NW Iraq, destroyed the facility, took prisoners, in what was probably the furthest insertion of a light infantry unit in the entire war. No mention of SAS.   — SAS history says that their entire A squadron attacked a SCUD communications installation, code-named “Victor Two”. It was destroyed. No mention of the Rangers.   —Anyone know the whole truth?  - Final question: the ceasefire was on 28 February 1991. The Rangers didn’t deploy home until 15 April. What did they do in the six weeks in-between those dates? If you’d like to contact me directly, my personal email is [email protected] And thanks. For everything.

  • YankeeZulu

    I was in Ranger School when they sent some of the Bn over. All I remember about this is when everyone came back all they would do is go on about "Its classified, can't talk about it."

  • Aco1stPltWpnSqd

    Just wanted to say hi to those fellows who remember that jump into Camel DZ. I was one of the cherry Rangers who just got to 1st Batt in time for that jump. I remember the jump master blowing 10 knots while shaking his head NO. Ha, I knew it was going to hurt. Made it through the march and live fire although I herniated a disk. I was happy as crap to see those birds coming in to take us to Daho. We took a platoon picture in camp and I have lost mine. I would love to get a copy and show my kids. If you got a copy can you scan me one over to my email [email protected] Rangers Lead the Way!

  • TO1389

    Just a slight correction/addition to the Ranger assault on the communications facility (called "Ranger Run I"): 160th SOAR birds were there and provided C2 and CAS, but the actual raid platoon was infilled and exfilled by MH-53J Pave Lows from the Air Force's 20th Special Operations Squadron.    20th SOS Pave Lows were also the first aircraft to cross into Iraq (a distinction usually given to the Apache crews, who were led in by the Paves), and performed much of the CSAR for that war (and most of the SOF CSAR throughout the '90s and '00s; in fact, MH-53s were the dedicated QRF/CSAR platform for OCF-I for much of OIF, not the 160th).    You guys might be surprised how many SOF missions have been performed where the 160th was credited for the air mission, but it was actually AFSOC crews that flew the mission - exclusively, or along side their Army counterparts.