In the fall of 1966, the 9th Infantry Division formed a division Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) Platoon after division commander, Maj. Gen. George S. Eckhardt flew to Vietnam on an orientation tour of the combat theater. Major General Eckhardt noted that each division contained a long-range patrol unit. He arrived back at Fort Riley, Kansas, where the Division was completing preparations for its scheduled December deployment to Vietnam, and ordered the immediate organization of a reconnaissance platoon for his own division. Capt. James Tedrick, Lt. Winslow Stetson, and Lt. Edwin Garrison were chosen as the officers for the LRRP Platoon. They interviewed and screened the records of 130 volunteer soldiers and selected the best 40. The provisional unit was known as the "War Eagle Platoon". In November of 1966, the LRRP Platoon completed the Jungle Warfare School in Panama. Captain Tedrick conducted an extra week of tropical training following the regular two-week course. Platoon members were shipped to Vietnam in January 1967.
At the Special Forces MACV Recondo School at Nha Trang, the entire 9th Infantry Division LRRPS became recondo-qualified, Meanwhile, the unit adjusted to its combat operating area. The division operated primarily in the lowlands south of Saigon, the Rung Sat Special Zone, and the Mekong Delta. Torrential rains and year-round water exposed patrollers to high rates of disabling skin disease. Reconnaissance troops often suffered extensive inflammatory lesions and rampant skin infections. And by the fourth month of tropical service, nearly three-fourths of all infantryman had recognizable infections. The Bear Cat - Long Thanh area east of Saigon was where the division was initially concentrated. The new base, Dong Tam, was constructed by dredging the My Tho river to produce enough fill to build a major installation in the Mekong Delta. It was located five miles west of My Tho in Dinh Tuong Province.
On 8 July 1967, the 9th Long Range Patrol Detachment (LRPD) was formalized. Borrowing General Marshall's World War II phrase, the Division LRPD was "well brought up." During June and July, the LRPD completed forty-three patrols and clashed eighteen times with enemy forces. Through August and September, the LRPD continued to fill. By October it had reached full authorized strength of 119 personnel and was rated fully operational. Each platoon contained a command section and eight, six-man teams.
Some teams of the division LRPD rendered reconnaissance for 2nd Brigade in Operation CORONADO and entered the Viet Cong Cam Son secret base area while other teams supported the 1st Brigade in Operation AKRON and uncovered a massive underground system of enemy tunnels and bunkers. The LRPD also conducted important military intelligence tasks for the Mobile Riverine Force within the Mekong Delta.
Major General George C. O'Connor activated Company E (Long Range Patrol), 50th Infantry, to give the 9th Infantry Division specialized ground reconnaissance support on 20 December 1967. The long-range patrol company absorbed the LRPD and was designated as "Reliable Reconnaissance" after the division nickname of "Old Reliable's."
During January 1968, the Navy SEAL teams began joint operations with Reliable Reconnaissance. LRP's did this to gain training and experience in the Delta environment The missions designated as SEAL-ECHO were the highly selective patrols. They were inserted by Navy patrol boats, plastic assault boats, helicopters, and Boston whalers. The SEAL-ECHO troops used supporting artillery and airstrikes to destroy larger targets.
Maj. Gen. Julian J. Ewell assumed command of the 9th Infantry Division in February 1968. He authorized the Reliable Reconnaissance company to acquire a similar capacity to the 3rd Brigade Combined reconnaissance and Intelligence Platoon as a result of the Tet-68 battles. Company E received permission to employ available Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) personnel from the Central Intelligence Agency's Project Phoenix program. The PRU troops were hardened anticommunist troops dedicated to destroying the Viet Cong infrastructure. The PRU troops generally possessed very high esprit and great knowledge of Viet Cong operating methods. From November 1968 through January 1969, the last three months of Company E's existence, the Reliable Reconnaissance teams conducted 217 patrols, and engaged the enemy in 102 separate actions. The company was credited with capturi
On 1 February 1969, the department of the Army reorganized the 75th Infantry as the parent regiment for long-range patrol companies under the combat arms regimental system. Maj. Gen. Ewell activated Company E (Ranger), 75th Infantry, from Company E, 50th Infantry. The rangers were known as "Echo Rangers" or "Riverine Rangers," because they mostly dealt with riverine and canal reconnaissance - even though the company was only partially assigned to the Mobile Riverine Force. Ranger Company E took advantage of dry season conditions to harass suspected Viet Cong supply lines from activation until the end of April. The Riverine Rangers conducted 244 patrols and reported 134 observations of enemy activity. They clashed with the Viet Cong during 111 patrols and were credited with capturing five prisoners and killing 169 Viet Cong. When the 9th Infantry Division began phasing out of Vietnam in July 1969, the rangers renamed themselves "Kudzu Rangers" after the operational code word for the close-in defense of Dong Tam. The ranger company phased its teams out of the Kudzu business by 3 August.
On 23 August 1969, the Army formally inactivated Company E (Ranger), 75th Infantry. The provisional 'Go-Devil" Ranger company, also known as the separate 3rd Brigade of the 9th Infantry Division, formally established as an independent unit on 26 July 1969, was unaffected by this paper ruse. On 24 September, the U.S. Army Pacific reactivated Company E by General Order 705 and the U.S. Army Vietnam headquarters published orders reassigning Company E to the 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry was again activated on 1 October 1969 and the original Company E was discontinued and became the new Company E. The only difference was what they called themselves, They dropped "Riverine Rangers" and continued on with their newly acquired name, "Go-Devil" Rangers."
No other combat recon units waged reconnaissance and intelligence - gathering operations under circumstances more difficult than those with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Despite this, the Reliable Reconnaissance Patrollers, Riverine Rangers, and Go-Devil Rangers manifested sound tactical doctrine and imaginative techniques in adjusting to the alien Mekong Delta environment and applied undeviating pressure against the Viet Cong havens and their supply lanes throughout the division term of service in Vietnam.
Traditional Designation: Echo Rangers
Motto: Sua Sponte ("Of their own accord")
Distinctive Insignia: The shield of the coat of arms RANGER Designation:
Rationale - - The rationale for selecting the 75th Infantry as the parent unit for all Department of the Army authorized Ranger units is/was as follows:
(1) Similarity of missions between those missions performed by Merrill's Marauders and the 75th Infantry, Ranger Companies in the republic of Vietnam and those of the 75th Ranger Regiment - - Operations deep in enemy territory.
(2) It returns to the rolls of the active Army Regiment having a distinguished combat record and a unique place in the annals of the United States Army.
(3) It provides the 75th Ranger Regiment and the United States Army with a common regimental designation identifying an uncommon skill.