Unit history is chronicled throughout the military, sometimes in the form of bestselling books or blockbuster movies. You can mention “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young,” and I am sure people automatically think of the 1st Cavalry Division. Maybe you hear the words “Blackhawk Down” and instantly you think of Army Rangers. Although other units may keep record of their past, there is no unit in the U.S. military besides the Ranger Regiment that can trace its lineage all the way back to before the Revolutionary War.

Major Robert Rogers formed Ranger units to conduct combat operations in the French and Indian Wars in the 1700s. Major Roberts had 28 standing orders that are not only still in use today, but if you walked into any COF (company operating facility) within any of the Ranger Regiment units, you would likely see these orders posted on a wall somewhere.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were Ranger units formed for the war of 1812 and to protect the frontier land. These units boasted famous Americans Daniel Boone and Abe Lincoln as members. The war between the states prompted the Confederacy to form a Ranger unit, which operated in the Virginia area and was known as Mosby’s Rangers.

World War II brought about possibly the most famous time for Ranger units, with the formation of six Ranger battalions. These units started as the 1st Ranger Battalion and were formed by the legendary Gen. William O. Darby. They operated in North Africa and Europe. General Darby later trained the 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions and the coveted Ranger Scroll was born. The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions were formed in preparation for D-Day and the beach assault on Normandy. These battalions spearheaded the historic assault and climbing of Pointe Du Hoc, and were later decimated in the Battle for the Hurtgen Forest—one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. The famous “Rangers Lead the Way” slogan was born on the beaches of Normandy when General Norm Cota gave Major Max Schneider, commander of the 5th Ranger Battalion, the order to lead the allied troops off the beach: “Ranger, lead the way.” The famous “Ranger diamond” was worn by the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions.