The Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment, or RRD, was stood up in October of 1984 as a small element within the 75th Ranger Regiment. RRD would work directly for the Regimental Commander, and help fill the intelligence gaps that he and his S2 (Intelligence Officer) had when planning upcoming combat operations which the Ranger Regiment was to participate in.

By 1995, RRD consisted of three recon teams, each composed of six Rangers in the tradition of the Vietnam-era LRRP/Ranger patrols.  Each team would be tasked to conduct reconnaissance for each of the three Ranger battalions.  Team 1 would support 1st Ranger Battalion, Team 2 supported 2nd Ranger Battalion, and Team 3 would support 3rd Ranger Battalion.  The Team Leader of each team could be a Sergeant First Class (E-7), but more often than not it was a Staff Sergeant (E-6).  A six-man Headquarters element consisted of the RRD Commander, a Captain (O-3), an NCOIC who was a First Sergeant (E-8), two communications NCOs, a training NCO and an Operations NCO.  Housed within the 75th Ranger Regiment, RRD would take their taskings from the Regimental S2 Officer.

RRD’s nearly sole purpose in life was training to conduct recon operations on enemy airfields. Laying up in hide sites, they could eyeball the enemy’s defensive measures, analyze terrain, observe enemy troop movements, and record weather reports, all of which could be radioed back to the rear.  But RRD also carried with it a bit of a stigma at this time. In the 1990s, and well into the Global War on Terror, it could be hard to get young Ranger Sergeants to support RRD by trying out for selection.

In the Regiment, the ultimate goal of many Rangers is to become a Platoon Sergeant in one of the rifle companies. It is a position put up on a pedestal and rightly so.  However, because of this, many felt that going over to RRD would upset their career progression and ruin their chances of getting promoted, and potentially taking a platoon. There were also a lot of negative rumors about RRD during the mid-90s, many arising from the recon teams often getting compromised during training.

What many young Rangers didn’t realize was that the Regiment was encouraging RRD to push the envelop in training to see what was possible and what they could get away with.

In the process of this, their recon missions were often compromised in training, but this allowed the recon teams to learn from their mistakes and figure out what their own capabilities were. Special Operations didn’t just come into being the way it is today in 2013, there were a lot of growing pains and a lot of on-the-job training that took place.

Another issue with getting Rangers to try out for RRD is that, let’s face it, most Rangers are door-kicking muldoons, and recon isn’t for everyone.