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Rangers demonstrate capabilities at Fryar Drop Zone

The 75th Ranger Regiment flexed its muscle again during this year’s Ranger Rendezvous.

The biennial event kicked off July 25 as more than 1,000 Rangers conducted a Ranger capabilities demonstration and mass tactical Airborne operation on Fryar Drop Zone.

Leaders said it was a chance for the regiment to provide the public a rare look at its two core missions: Airborne forcible entry operations and the Ranger platoon assault.

“This is an opportunity for our Rangers to be showcased. That doesn’t happen every day,” said Maj.Patrick Stone, commander of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “And it’s an opportunity for them to show what they’re doing every single night overseas in a forum that allows their families and friends to come out and see just how awesome they are. This is the best America has to offer.”

The Ranger Regiment has been engaged in combat operations since October 2001, with more than a third of the unit deployed at any given time. It’s dismantled and destroyed countless terrorist networks through thousands of special-operations raids to capture or kill enemy insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Rendezvous is a tradition that brings the entire regiment together for the regimental change of command. But with the regiment’s battalions geographically separated — two are in Georgia and another is at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. — the rally is really a “fellowship event,” Stone said.

“We get to come together and see each other,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for Rangers young and old, from way back in Vietnam all the way through to today, to come together and celebrate our organization.

“The old Rangers come in and talk about their experiences and what it meant to them to be a Ranger. They instill that in our young Rangers now. And it’s an opportunity for the old Rangers to see the great things our new Rangers are doing.”

At Fryar Drop Zone, the regiment showed how it carries out a mass tactical Airborne assault aimed at seizing an airfield and destroying a terrorist compound harboring a known enemy combatant. The demonstration was spearheaded by elements of the Regimental Reconnaissance Company, which exited a C-17 Globemaster at 10,000 feet before deploying canopies about 4,000 feet above the ground.

After the recon team landed, it took cover in a woodline and formed a security perimeter. The Rangers then called for initial fire and established satellite radio communications with the regiment’s main body still approaching the drop zone.

The main assault force consisted of about 1,050 jumpers from regimental headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Battalion and the Ranger Special Troops Battalion. Eight C-17s and six C-130s took off from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Fort Benning’s Lawson Army Airfield. They met at an aerial linkup point over Auburn, Ala., to assume formation for the Airbone assault.

Then, a Ranger rifle platoon from C Company, 3rd Battalion, executed the raid and cleared the targeted compound. The strike force consisted of 47 Rangers, and it “detained” a noncompliant insurgent.

“That’s exactly the style of raid you would see in contact overseas on a nightly basis,” Stone said.