In 1942, fifty American Rangers participated in the raid on Dieppe.
After the return of the survivors, American
soldiers in the United Kingdom began to pretend they were Rangers in
order to enhance their image, particulary with
English females. Capt. Roy Murray, senior Ranger officer who
participated in the raid, noted this phenomenon in his
after-action report on Dieppe and recommended the Rangers be permitted
to wear a shoulder insignia.
The officers and men of the 1st Ranger Battalion began to discuss
themselves what their insignia should look like.
Early on it was decided that in order to reflect their close tie with
the British Commandos, the
American insignia would be in the shape of a scroll as was that of the
On August 28, 1942, Brig. Gen. Lucian Truscott, Jr. sent a memorandum
to Major General Clark endorsing favorably
Lieutenant Colonel Darby's request for authorization for the Ranger to
have their own insignia. The reasons given were:
1. Tremondous boost to morale.
2. Soldiers all over UK are spreading stories about the recent raid
and pretending to be Rangers.
Truscott wrote that the insignia would only be worn on the service
and would not be worn in battle. He also stated
that Darby had the material and needed only permission to wear the new
insignia. The patch would be similiar in form to
the Commando shoulder patch with a blue background and white lettering.
Though no documentation has been located, it is apparent that
approval was granted. Darby announced a contest to see
who could develop the best design. Some say the prize was a three-day
pass, others that award for the best design was
The prize was won by Sgt. Anthony Rada of Flint, Michigan,
of Headquarters Company, 1st Ranger Battalion.
The patch was probably intended to be red, white, and blue. It is the
recollectionof Roy Murray that, due to wartime
conditions, the color of dye needed was not available and the insignia
became red, white and black. Another source
belives (without verification) that the colors were taken from the Nazi
flag and were intended to indicate to the
Germans that the Rangers were going to jame the colors red, white and
black down the Germans throats.
A United States Army signal corps photograph dated October
shows the completed Ranger insignia and indicates
the beginning of its use.
The men were justifiably proud of their insignia, and despite
Truscotts's letter, they wore it into battle. Some men
wore the Ranger Scroll on both sholder. There were occasions when men
would take off the Ranger insignia from their
shoulder in order to give this precious gift to a badly wounded friend
being ecacuated to a hospital.
While this activity was going on in Europe, on April 16, 1943,
Ranger Battalion came into being at Camp
Forrest, Tennessee. On Jul 16, 1943, the Department of the Army
approved a shoulder sleeve insignia for all Ranger
battalions. This approved insignia was designed by a member of the 2d
Ranger Battalion. In its final state, the insignia
was a diamond shaped with a blue background, yellow/gold letters and
edging, and the word "RANGERS."
The men of the 2d Ranger Battalion received this insignia in
September/October 1943 while at Fort Dix, New Jersey,
preparing for overseas movement.
The Blue Diamond patch was not liked by the men. The Sun Oil Company
(supplier of gasoline known as Sunoco) service
station signs bore a close resemblance to the "authorized" Ranger
insignia, and soldiers from other units on occasion
mocked the Rangers with catcalls of "Blue Sunoco." Fights resulted.
On September 1, 1943, the 5th Ranger Battalion was activated at Camp
Forrest and began to wear locally a patch based on
the blue diamond.
When the 3d and 4th Battalions were activated, they adopted
white and black scroll. The 2d wore the diamond
during D day (June 6, 1944), but when the 2d and 5th got deeper into
Europe, they also began to wear the red, white and
The 5th Battalion forwarded a request to the War Department asking
official permission to wear the scroll. The
request was denied. Ignoring the War Department response, the 5th
Battalion pursued their intention of wearing the red,
white and black scroll. The 5th Battalion had their insignia made by
nuns in a Bavarian convent and paid with German
marks taken from a German Army paymaster.
In the Pacific with the 6th Battalion, there was a period
insignia featuring a trench knife appeared on
signboards. The 6th Ranger Battalion soon adopted the red, white and
After the war, the men of the Ranger Battalions formed an
and used the red, white and black scroll as the
In 1947, the army abolished the "Blue Sunoco" insignia.
thiry years, including the war years of Korea and
Vietnam, men tried to get the red, white and black scroll approved
without success. In the early 1980's Korean War
Rangers with the strong support of the Rangers of World Warr II waged a
fight to make the insignia official. With the
birth of a Ranger regiment and the Ranger sucess in the Grenada
operation, approval finally came. Today, the red, white
and black scroll is the official insignia of the United States Army
The guidon used by the Ranger companies during World
War II was a
standard infantry guidon, featuring white crossed
muskets on a blue background with the company letter designation.