Objective Rhino (2001)
While the campaign was under way in Northern Afghanistan, US Special Operations Forces also struck in the southern part of the country in the heart of the Taliban movement near Kandahar. On the night of 19-20 October 2001 Rangers and other Special Operations Forces (SOF) soldiers spearheaded ground operations by conducting airborne and air assault operations against several sites in Kandahar. Four MC-130 aircraft dropped 199 Rangers of the 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, onto a desert landing strip southwest of Kandahar, code-named Objective Rhino. Assisted by circling AC-130 Spectre gunships, the Rangers quickly secured their objective. Then the soldiers and attached psychological operations (PSYOP) loudspeaker teams moved toward a nearby enemy compound and cleared it without resistance. Having secured the landing zone, they assisted follow-on helicopter forces of SOF soldiers that had additional raids to conduct in the area. In all, the Rangers and SOF soldiers spent almost five-and-a-half hours on the ground with only a few minor injuries. Although the tactical results of the raid were mixed, the Taliban was shown that U.S. forces could strike anywhere and anytime and that no location in Afghanistan was a safe haven any longer. Later, when U.S. Marines landed in that same area on 25 November, they would establish a new base on the Ranger landing zone, called Camp RHINO.