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.

In the Pacific theater, the 6th Ranger Battalion conducted a daring POW raid at Cabanatuan, rescuing over 500 POWs and destroying the camp. This story is memorialized in the book “Ghost Soldiers” and the movie “The Great Raid.” Merrill’s Marauders, also known as Task Force Galahad, was formed and led by the legendary commander Major General Frank Merrill. This unit operated in the China-Burma theatre, conducting raids and essentially living off the land.

The wars in Korea and Vietnam brought about the formation of smaller Ranger units used for conducting reconnaissance and small raids—often referred to as LRPS or Long Range Recon Patrols. In this time period, numerous Rangers were recipients of the Medal of Honor.

In 1974, the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions were formed based upon a charter from General Creighton Abrams. Starting in 1984 the Ranger Regiment was born with the addition of the 3rd Ranger Battalion and the regimental headquarters. Since 1984, the Ranger Regiment has had units participate in every conflict the United States has sent troops to, as well as some situations you have never heard of and probably won’t for a long time.

One example of the kind of dedication and attention to detail the Ranger Regiment demands from newly assigned Rangers is the “Airborne Ranger in the Sky” tradition. Essentially, when a new Ranger is assigned to his company, he is given the name of a Ranger who has fallen in battle. The newly assigned Ranger must memorize everything about this fallen Ranger; when I say everything, I mean everything. As an example you would need to know where the Ranger was KIA, what province was the battle in, what was the name of the mission, how many children did he have, where did he go to high school, what was his wife’s name, what sports did he play in high school. The list is endless and even if you think you know everything, someone will find something you didn’t know, because odds are there is someone in your company that was friends with your “Airborne Ranger in the Sky,” and they will always know more than you. This tradition is about knowing who set the standard before you and pushing you to uphold the standard regardless of the situation.