March 18, 2009:
The 1st battalion of the U.S. 75th Ranger Regiment recently returned from a three month tour Iraq. This was the 12th deployment for the battalion since September 11, 2001. The rangers usually deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan for three months at a time, and serve as special muscle for important operations. The rangers, who belong to SOCOM (Special Operations Command), often act as backup for Special Forces or navy SEALs, but also carry out a lot of operations on their own. During this recent tour, the battalion carried out 350 missions (patrols, raids, etc). During these operations, the rangers killed at least 350 enemy fighters arrested 750 suspects and seized large quantities of documents and weapons.
Although a ranger battalion rarely has more than 600 troops, troops of the 1st battalion received, 60 Bronze Star Medals, 84 Combat Action Badges (to recognize non-infantry troops who have spent at least a month in combat) and 172 Combat Infantrymans Badges (for infantry who have spent at least a month in combat) for their recent tour. Thus about 40 percent of the 1st battalions troops got their first combat experience during the recent deployment. About ten percent of the battalion were killed, wounded or injured during that time. The battalion will probably spend 3-6 months at their base in the United States, before heading off for another overseas deployment (to Afghanistan, or somewhere else.)