RELEASE NUMBER: 051122-01 DATE POSTED: NOVEMBER 22, 2005 Ranger Regiment receives Valorous Unit Award By Kim Laudano 75th Ranger Regiment Public Affairs Office FORT BENNING, NC (USASOC News Service, Nov. 22, 2005) â The 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment received the Valorous Unit Award during a ceremony here Nov. 22 for actions while engaged in an intense battle during the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the award citation, Rangers from 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regt., as part of a joint task force, displayed extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy from March 30 through April 9, 2003, during a mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Rangers displayed exceptional gallantry while performing their mission to seize the enemy-occupied Hadithah Dam in Iraq to obtain a communication line across the Euphrates River and to prevent the enemy from destroying the dam. The element fought admirably in a series of direct and indirect enemy engagements against squad and platoon sized elements, 155 millimeter artillery and heavy mortar fires to clear the dam and destroy enemy forces in the vicinity. Their brave performance and determination resulted in mission success. This operation had all of the makings of a typical Ranger operation explained Lt. Col. John G. Castles, commander, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regt. âIt was very dangerous, against a numerically superior enemy, deep into the heart of the country behind enemy lines, with expectations of heavy enemy resistance and the dam itself thought to be rigged to blow. The Hadithah Dam was, and still is, a vital line of communication from Western Iraq leading into Baghdad,â he said. âThe importance of this site was that, if destroyed, the waters would flood the Euphrates River basin all the way into Baghdad and either destroy or limit the maneuverability of coalition forces moving up into this critical area.â Originally tasked to be there for 24 hours, the force was required to remain at this critical position for several days. âDespite continued contact with the enemy, the force held firm, continuing to take the fight to and destroy the enemy, resulting in coalition forces continued movement north into Iraq,â said Castles. Maj. David S. Doyle, who commanded the Rangers during the mission, recalled the operation from beginning to end. âWe infiltrated into the western desert with one plan, and then the circumstances changed during our movement. We received the Hadithah Dam mission and had less than 12 hours to plan and get moving. We planned on the hood of a vehicle in the desert and went through our troop leading procedures just like we were at Ranger School,â said Doyle. âOf course this time, we received the order from a digital transmission, there were no Ranger instructors looking over our shoulders and the enemy was waiting for us.â They prepared for the mission, issued the orders and as the sun set they knew that there was an amazing operation ahead. âAs the battle progressed, Rangers showed why they are specially selected and that they are well trained,â said Doyle. âThe pace of the combat was surprising. The days seemed to pass very quickly. We really gauged the passing of time by the consumption of our ammunition. â The battle damage assessment for the entire battle included 230 enemy killed, and destroyed 29 tanks, nine S-60 anti-aircraft artillery, 14 anti-aircraft artillery pieces, 28 155mm artillery, 22 82mm mortars, six 60mm mortars, eight ammunition caches, 18 buildings, three heavy cargo trucks, two motorcycles, 10 boats and one kayak. âRangers overcame the heat, enemy fire and unfamiliar terrain and held their ground without complaint,â Doyle said. âRangers learned that they could survive under constant enemy direct and indirect fire if they used their training and listened to their leaders.â Doyle echoed that the entire Ranger battalion earned this award. âRangers fighting at the dam displayed valor, Rangers from our staging base pushed critical ammunition and supplies to our location and received our casualties, and our leaders passed on the additional assets that we needed to stay on the target.â Previously, four Rangers received the Silver Star, 11 received the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, five received the Purple Heart, 20 received Army Commendation Medals for Valor, 15 received the Bronze Star Medal and 71 received the Army Commendation Medal for this mission. The Valorous Unit Award is awarded to units of the Armed Forces for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force. The unit must have performed with marked distinction under difficult and hazardous conditions to accomplish the mission, separating it from other units involved in the conflict. The degree of heroism required for this award is the same as is required for an individual to be awarded the Silver Star. It is second in unit awards only to the Presidential Unit Citation. âWith the hanging of this streamer on our colors, the events of this operation and the actions by the heroic Rangers involved are immortalized forever and take their place next to streamers representing historic Ranger actions from Mogadishu to Panama to Point Du Hoc,â said Castles. âWe honor the unit and those Rangers past and present for their actions at the Hadithah Dam, as their heroic actions will always serve as an example to us all as we continue the fight in the Global War on Terrorism.â The 3rd Ranger Bn. last received the Valorous Unit Award for actions while deployed to Somalia in 1993.