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RANGERS are specially trained infantry capable of acting in small groups to make rapid attacks against enemy forces and then withdraw without major engagement. Rangers have existed since before the American Revolution, when the British employed skilled marksmen learned in woodlore to gather intelligence and harass the French and Indians. Colonists on both sides of the conflict organized ranger groups to fight during the American Revolution. John Butler's Rangers and the Queen's American Rangers fought for the British, while Thomas Knowlton's Connecticut Rangers served in the Continental army.

Ranger units fought in the War of 1812, in the Black Hawk War, and in the Mexican War. In the Civil War, many units of both the North and South adopted the name. Rangers were not used again until World War II. During 1942–44, the American military organized six ranger battalions that saw action in Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. After the invasion of Korea, the armed forces organized sixteen ranger companies, seven of which served in the conflict. In 1951 the military decided that rangertrained personnel would be better utilized if they were spread among standard infantry units. Since that time, selected officers and enlisted men have undergone intensive training at Fort Benning, Georgia, before being assigned to units throughout the army. In Vietnam, the army designated long-range infantry patrol units as ranger companies in 1969. The World War II ranger battalions, the First Special Service Force, and the Korean War ranger companies continued as part of the U.S. Army's Special Forces into the 1970s.


Hogan, David W., Jr. Raiders of Elite Infantry? The Changing Role of the U.S. Army Rangers from Dieppe to Grenada. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.

Johnson, James M. Militiamen, Rangers, and Redcoats: The Military in Georgia, 1754–1776. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1992.

Robinson, Charles M., III. The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers. New York: Random House, 2000.

John E.JessupJr./e. m.

See alsoMosby's Rangers ; Rogers' Rangers ; Special Forces .

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