It’s difficult to exactly identify the location of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment’s 2012 deployment to Afghanistan for obvious operational purposes. From open press reports, suffice to say the 3rd BN’s Area of Operations extended throughout southern and eastern Afghanistan on a variety of missions pertaining to force protection, rapid reaction, and humanitarian. Presented seperately from their battalion’s garrison challenge coin, the 3rd Battalion’s 2012 Deployment Challenge Coin marks the unit’s unique participation in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Presented between 2011 and 2012, the OEF deployment challenge coin of the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment marks the 17th deployment of the unit in the GWOT and illustrates the very risks these men face, while honoring its longstanding history and those whom have participated in the unit. A two-inch circular coin, then Battalion Commander LTC Marcus S. Evans (who assumed command of the 3/75th between July 20th, 2011 and July 12th, 2013) and CSM Eddie Noland (whom served as the unit’s senior enlisted advisor to the Commander between September 14th, 2010 and March 28th, 2013) presented the unit’s deployment challenge coin circa 2011 and 2012 by while serving overseas in OEF. (The Lincoln Journal)(USASOC News Service) In a ceremony on July 12th, 2012 to honor four men during their tour LTC Evans said,
But as you hear the narratives and read what these Rangers did you cannot help but feel a sense of pride and comfort that these warriors will deploy again and selflessly display the same tenacity and courage under fire that they have done on so many occasions.” LTC Evans would conclude by reiterating, “The men standing before you today and seated in this auditorium represent the best of America, They represent a commitment to excellence and an audacious desire to be the best and win on the field of battle. (Bailey)
The Obverse of the 2011 OEF deployment coin features the Ranger Crest centered against a field of burnished antique silver. The crest itself has offset panels of dark green and blue, upon which both the sun and a star are represented to reflect the lineage of the 75th Rangers to the original group known as Merrill’s Marauders. Centered on the crest is a red lighting bolt by which to represent the speed Rangers can strike their intended target. According to the Institute of Heraldry,
The colors blue, white, red and green represent four of the original six combat teams of the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly referred to as Merrill’s Marauders, which were identified by color. The unit’s close cooperation with the Chinese forces in the China-Burma-India Theater is represented by the sun symbol from the Chinese flag. The white star represents the Star of Burma, the country in which the Marauders campaigned during World War II. The lightning bolt is symbolic of the strike characteristics of the Marauders’ behind-the-line activities.
Behind the crest, three horizontal red bands bisect the Obverse to represent the WWII numerical value of the 3rd Battalion. At the top of the Obverse are the Ranger Tab and 3rd Ranger Battalion Scroll in raised outline; while along the bottom in raised lettering is written “Sua Sponte”, Latin for “Of Ones Own Will” and the 3rd Battalion’s motto.
The Reverse is stylized to reflect the more specific mentality of the 3rd Battalion’s Rangers and gives character to their 2012 deployment challenge coin. Centered on the Reverse is a white Punisher skull often taken for both its lethal representation and sense of justice, and is also a well known moniker common with Rangers and Special Operations. The skull is wearing a shredded black Corinthian helm to demonstrate its ferocity in battle and unflinching resolve in a fight. Behind the skull is a crossed spear and Spartan short sword in raised burnished silver, which were the favored weapons of Spartan warriors and their principle tools of war. To the left again is the raised outline rank of a Colonel, while opposite is the yellowed rank of the Sergeant Major. Both features denote the level of Command that is presenting this unique coin. Below the Punisher Skull is a red diamond with a stylized “3” to denote the 3rd Battalion, a symbol of which that hails back to the battalion’s previous WWII-design of a horizontal diamond. Surmounting the outer edge is a white band on which are written the previous theaters of conflict that the 3rd Ranger Battalion has seen service, “India, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Licata, Maiora, Anzio, Central China, and Burma”.
Bailey, Tracy A. “3/75 Rangers receive awards for valorous combat actions.” Tip of the Spear (2012).
The Institute of Heraldry. “75th Ranger Coat of Arms.” 08 March 2014 <http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Catalog/Heraldry.aspx?HeraldryId=10408&CategoryId=5871&grp=2&menu=Uniformed%20Services&ps=24&p=0&hilite=Ranger%20crest>.
The Lincoln Journal. “LTC Evans takes command of 3rd Battalion, 75th RR.” 4 August 2011. The Lincoln Journal. 25 January 2014 <http://www.lincolnjournalonline.com/news/2011-08-04/People/LTC_Evans_takes_command_of_3rd_Battalion_75th_RR.html>.
US Army. “3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.” US Army Offical Homepage. 10 February 2014 <http://www.goarmy.com/ranger/heritage/third-ranger-battalion.html>.
USASOC News Service. “3rd Ranger Battalion conducts changes of responsibility.” 21 September 2010.Shadow Spear. 25 January 2014 <http://www.shadowspear.com/vb/threads/3rd-ranger-battalion-conducts-changes-of-responsibility.7173/>.
Contributions provided by LTC Donn H. Hill, Former 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Commander 2010-2011 US Army. Coordination provided with Tracy A. Bailey, Deputy, Public Affairs Officer, 75th Ranger Regiment.