The Often Untold Story Of America’s ‘First, Last, And Only All-Black Rangers’

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Most may never have known about this unit, but its story is a rich part of military and U.S. Army history as well as a valuable part of African American history. 

The 2nd Airborne Ranger Co. was an all-Black Ranger unit that was born at Fort Benning, Georgia in the early 1950s, just in time to see action in the Korean War. They were a Ranger light infantry company trained in special operations and specializing in irregular warfare.

The 2nd Airborne Ranger Co. was an all-Black unit made up of 126 men who were trained in the Ranger tradition. They called themselves “Buffalo Rangers” and worked extensively with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. 

It won distinction for its actions in capturing Hill 581 during the battle of the Soyang River inflicting hundreds of casualties on the Chinese without a single Ranger being killed. In their 10-month existence during the Korean War, 2nd Airborne Ranger Co. troops were awarded four campaign streamers, nine Silver Stars, 100 Purple hearts. 

They were one tough Ranger Company.

Source: YouTube/LaPorsche Speaks
The all-Black Rangers of the Korean War.

As one of the men in the video tells us, “You had to fight twice as hard and be twice as good to get recognized.”  

Of the original 126 members few remain and they are now in their late 80s and early 90s. Their remarkable story has been put into book form under the title: “U.S. Army’s First, Last, and Only All-Black Rangers: 2nd Airborne Ranger Company.”

Source: YouTube/LaPorsche Speaks
Two of the remaining members of the 2nd Airborne.

These men fought gallantly on the battlefields of Korea and came home to a still segregated America to fight wholly different kinds of battles. Their legacy is important and needs to be passed on to the next generation. 

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The Veterans Site sends its respect and its deep and abiding thanks to these brave warriors who rose above the artificial limitations that society and the institutions of this society had put before them and overcame. They are an inspiration for all Americans. 

Thank you for your service and for giving all of us a great example of human dignity. Hoorah!

Click the button below to read more about the black Americans who helped our modern military aim higher.


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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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