75th Anniversary of the of 6th Ranger Battalion Deactivation

On December 30, 1945, 6th Ranger Battalion soldiers fell in for their last formation in Kyoto, Japan. Although some of their comrades had already returned home as the U.S. Army demobilized after the Japanese surrender in World War II, there were still many Rangers awaiting their turn to go stateside in late 1945. Their Acting Battalion Commander, Major Arthur D. ‘Bull’ Simons, solemnly marched to the front of the formation to take the final report from his senior enlisted leader.  After reading the official deactivation order, Simons issued the order, “Dismissed,” and the 6th Ranger Battalion passed into history. In its short one year, three months, and four days of existence the unit achieved legendary feats fighting Japanese forces.

The 6th Rangers’ first saw combat on the night of October 18, 1944, when elements landed by rubber boat on the island outposts of Suluan, Dinagat, and Homonhon, which guarded the approach of the Allied invasion fleet then approaching Leyte Island. Their destruction of Japanese radio transmitters and early warning stations cleared the path for the long-awaited return of the U.S. Army to the Philippines. The 6th Rangers performed the same tasks three months later, when the Allied fleet landed at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon Island. And at nearby Cabanatuan, January 30, 1945, the 6th Rangers pulled off a superb rescue of more than 500 Allied prisoners of war, survivors of the Bataan ‘Death March’ facing death in captivity. The Rangers did so by penetrating more than 30 miles behind enemy lines, killing the guard force, and carrying the survivors to safety.

Following this highly successful raid, the Rangers fought determinedly throughout Luzon. Their reconnaissance and combat presence at San Fernando, Ipo Dam, Dingalen Bay, Baguio, and at Aparri helped units advance in Northern Luzon. In August 1945, the 6th Rangers were planning for operations in mainland Japan when the dropping of two atomic bombs brought the war to a swift end.  After the Japanese surrender, the Rangers performed occupation duty in Southern Japan until the unit was deactivated in December.

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