SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - We very rarely hear about United States Army Rangers. But our nation and our world, would be a very different, and likely a much more dangerous place without them.
The 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment is based at Hunter Army Airfield and just recently changed commanders. We offer a WTOC Military Salute to the man who's led them through years of the war on terror, Col. Lee Rudacille.
The very public ceremony, in the middle of Forsyth Park, is a rare chance to see some 800 of our finest soldiers marching to honor one of their own, and a time-tested military tradition. The change of command, symbolized by Col. Lee Rudacille handing the colors over to incoming commander, Lt. Col. Brian Mennes.
A time to remember and honor Col. Rudacille's leadership. Col. Richard Clarke knows all about leading Rangers. He's the current commander of the entire Ranger Regiment. He's also served in the unit based at Hunter.
Col. Clarke reminded the gathering of the hard work Col. Rudacille and his Rangers have taken in the global war on terror. "For the past two years, enduring three combat deployments, Lee has ably lead this battalion through some of the toughest parts of the fight," said Col. Clarke.
Tough isn't a strong enough word for it. Col. Rudacille obviously can't talk about the details, but did sum up the missions for his Rangers. "Over the course of 1,000 raids, they captured or killed over 3,000 insurgents," said Col. Rudacille. "You have forever changed the fight against extremism."
Col. Clarke pointed out just how challenging that can be. "While deployed all night, every night, they went on literally thousands of raids, by helicopter, by vehicle, by foot and in some cases on boat assault," said Col. Clarke. "Yes, Rangers were doing boat assault, against the world's most valuable, dangerous and elusive targets, in the worst areas, under the most threatening and demanding operational conditions."
Col. Rudacille bid farewell with honors for his soldiers. "The credit for this battalions achievements belongs to the Rangers in the field, who not only entered the arena time and time again, and emerged victorious," said Col. Rudacille. "May God bless, continue to bless, this great battalion, our Army, and our nation. Rangers lead the way!"