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3RD INFANTRY DIVISION
LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE PATROL DETACHMENT(LRRP)
Daley Barracks
Bad Kissingen, W. Germany
By
Mike McClintock

This is an abbreviated history of the 3rd Infantry Division Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Detachment (LRRP) during the period of its existence from 20 November 1961 to 14 August 1964. This history also includes reference to a predecessor unit, the provisional V Corps Long Range Patrol Co. established in October 1960.

The history of U.S. Army’s Long Range Recon Patrols in W. Germany evolved from NATO’s development of the concept in the late 1950s. This concept was influenced by the British Special Air Service’s (SAS) successful use of small independently operating deep reconnaissance patrols. Among the first such U.S. Army units to be activated in W. Germany was USAREUR’s (U.S. Army Europe) V Corps Long Range Patrol. This unit was initially a TDY unit comprised of highly motivated volunteers from various units of the 3rd Infantry Division and the 3rd Armored Division. The unit was organized in October 1960 for the specific purpose of providing Corps level long-range intelligence from behind enemy lines. The upcoming Wintershield II maneuvers were to provide both a test of the feasibility of the concept and to evaluate its effectiveness. The success of this unit in the Wintershield II exercises led to the formal establishment of the V Corps (ABN) LRRP Co. at Wildflecken on 15 July 1961. This unit ultimately became Company A (Airborne Ranger), 75th Infantry.

3rd lrrps germanyThe 3rd Infantry Division LRRP Detachment had its roots in the provisional V Corps LRRP Co. formed for the Wintershield II operation and the Division’s Battle Group (Battalion) level LRRP units. Among these were LRRP detachments from the 2d BG, 4th Infantry and the 1st BG, 15th Infantry stationed at Warner Kaserne in Bamberg. The members of these units formed the nucleus for the first division-level LRRP detachment in the U.S. Army, and, as with the British SAS, were all volunteers and were “returned to unit” if found unsuited for duty in a special operations environment.

The 3rd Infantry Division LRRP Detachment was formed on 20 November 1961 with 1LT Edward M. Jentz as Detachment Commander. 1LT Jentz was an Airborne Ranger from the 1st Battle Group, 30th Infantry in Schweinfurt. The Detachment’s Operations Officer was 1LT John H. Peyton from the 3rd Infantry Division’s Security Platoon in Wurzburg. 1LT Peyton was also an Airborne Ranger.

The unit’s First Sergeant was SFC Gerald M. “Mike” Tardif. SFC Tardif was also an Airborne Ranger who had served previously with the Canadian Army. The unit’s operations NCO was SSG Robert H. Schroeder. SSG Schroeder (“Red Dog”) was a master parachutist and instructor at the Army’s Ranger School at Fort Benning for nine years prior to being sent to Germany. SSG Schroeder had jumped into Nijmegen, Holland with the 82d Airborne Division as part of Operation Market Garden, and had served in the Korean War. His experiences as both a combat veteran and as a Ranger instructor set very high standards for the unit. Other Airborne Rangers forming part of the initial detachment were SGTs Clifford N. Mize, Bobby Freeman, and SFC Bobby McMeans. SGT Mize was a hand-to-hand combat instructor from the Ranger School and was later killed in Vietnam. SFC McMeans had served with the 10th Mountain Division. SGT Freeman had also served with the provisional V Corps LRRP Co. and returned to that unit in 1962.

The 3rd Inf. Div. LRRP Detachment was based at Daley Barracks in the Northern Bavarian resort town of Bad Kissingen, approximately 60 miles east of Frankfurt and about 20 miles from the E. German border. It was attached to the 10th Engineer Battalion in Wurzburg for logistical and administrative support. The unit was originally billeted with troops of the 2d Squadron of the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Cav troops weren’t sure who these crazy “Lurps” were, who got up and ran several miles every day regardless of the weather, even in deep snow. The fact that the unit wore distinctive German Army camouflage uniforms and carried rucksacks instead of standard issue web gear only heightened the Cav’s interest. The unit also wore a distinctive, but unauthorized “Long Range Patrol” scroll on its headgear.

The Berlin Wall had gone up in August of 1961, and international tensions were quite high. It was a time of great danger between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and everyone knew that if the Russians started World War III, the unit’s chances of survival were slim to none. Hence, everyone concentrated on learning everything they needed to know to enhance their chances of survival. As a result, the men’s confidence grew and they took pride in being a part of an elite unit. This pride was reflected in the detachment’s motto:

May the fires of Hell forever crackle and smell
with the meat and the bones of a thing
called a man who says, “I can’t!”

As a consequence of this esprit de corps, the unit was extremely cohesive, and in this regard would have been a good subject for a case study in small unit leadership, i.e., unit members were motivated to accomplish the mission because of positive, as opposed to negative stimuli. In other words, the men were motivated to get the job done with the highest degree of efficiency because they wanted to, not because they were coerced or forced.

v corps lrrpThe unit’s training reflected its mission: to act as the eyes and ears of the 3rd Infantry Division behind enemy lines and to observe enemy movements, pinpoint targets, and report back to Division Intelligence. In addition to its rigorous physical training program, the unit practiced patrolling (both day and night),map reading and land navigation, forward observer techniques, cover and concealment, explosives and demolitions, rock climbing and rappelling, escape and evasion, path finding and helicopter operations, hand-to-hand combat, CBR, first aid, and the recognition and identification of Soviet Bloc uniforms and equipment. The unit also underwent 6 weeks of intensive radio and Morse code (CW) training at the 123d Signal Battalion’s radio school in Wurzburg. During the course the detachment was taught how to operate CW (Morse Code) on the AN/GRC-9, AN/GRC-41, and AN/GRC-26 radios. The students also learned defense against jamming, communications security, and field radio maintenance procedures. The men also learned how to set up the radios in the field and how to orient and string the “long wire” antenna.

At the height of its proficiency, the detachment lost Captain Jentz and 1LT Peyton to the 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Tolz. This was just before the detachment was scheduled to deploy on its first major field training exercise. SSG Bob Schroeder was the NCOIC of the detachment during this interim period and directed the unit’s deployment on the FTX. The exercise was a huge success, with the Lurps providing real time intelligence on “enemy” troop movements and concentrations for the first time in the Division’s recent history.

The unit’s second commanding officer was 1LT Wilbur G. Bowersox. 1LT Bowersox was also an Airborne Ranger who was assigned to the unit in late-1962. During 1LT Bowersox’s tenure as CO, the detachment continued its rigorous training schedule and participated in numerous FTXs and war games, often playing the role of aggressors or guerrillas. Most of these missions involved helicopter insertions behind “enemy” lines with 3-4 man patrols.

v corps lrrpbThese patrols typically consisted of a patrol leader, radio operator, asst. radio operator, and a scout observer. On a 3-man patrol, the patrol leader usually acted as the radio operator (as the assistant had to hand-crank the AN/GRC-9’s generator). Early on, the patrol leaders were all E-6s and E-7s, but as these career soldiers “derossed,” SP/4s and PFCs became patrol leaders. These young EM were also experienced soldiers, many with over two year’s time in grade, but who were passed over for promotion by their TO&E units because of their detached duty status. Many top notch soldiers went home as E-3s because they chose to remain with the detachment. Such was the level of pride and camaraderie among the LRRPs of the 3rd Infantry Division. It was also during this period that the unit’s name was changed to the “Marne Scouts Recon Patrol (MSRP).” No one really cared for this name, but the unit bore it proudly knowing all the while they were still Lurps!

In late 1963 both 1LT Bowersox and SSG Schroeder rotated back to the States. SSG Schroeder was sorely missed by the remaining members of the detachment. His replacement as First Sergeant was a SSG Turner who was assigned to the unit from Division HQ. SSG Turner was a good soldier, but was not Airborne or Ranger qualified, and the unit’s training activities and field operations diminished accordingly.

The detachment’s third and last CO, 2LT John A. Walden joined the unit at the end of 1963. 2LT Walden was an Airborne Ranger, but by this time the Division had other plans for the unit. The Year 1964 was spent mostly in garrison duty, with only some opportunities for LRRP actions, most notably along the E. German Border with the 14th AC. In June 1964, the detachment participated in a 100-mile march to Nijmegen, Holland to commemorate the 20th anniversary of D-Day. The unit also led the Division in the Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) competition, with most of the detachment earning the coveted award. SGT Dalton Naill achieved the highest overall score in the Division, and was awarded a large trophy in addition to the EIB. SSG Don Rampanelli scored second highest in the Division and also received an award.

On August 14, 1964 the 3rd Infantry Division Long Range Recon Patrol was disbanded and its troops returned to their TO&E units. Several men offered to extend their tours for duty with the V Corps and VII Corps LRRP Companies, but were turned down by their TO&E unit commanders as being too valuable to be let go.

Although the 3rd Infantry Division LRRP Detachment never served in combat, it nonetheless trained hard, often in extreme weather conditions, and was arguably one of the finest units in the U.S. Army of its era. Even though it was disbanded over 52 years ago, the unit still exists today in the hearts and memories of the 100 or so men who served with it during its short existence. Among those memories is that of the unit’s disbandment party, which, even by LRRP standards, was one hell of a party!

In August 1997, twenty-six former members of the unit, along with wives and guests, attended the detachment’s first reunion in Columbus, Georgia. Ceremonies were held at the Ranger Memorial at Fort Benning to honor former LRRP/Ranger comrades who have made their last patrol. During a Friday evening banquet held at the historic Columbus Hilton Hotel, COL Ed Jentz (Ret.), LTC John H. Peyton (Ret.), CSM Mike Tardif (Ret.) and MSG Robert H. Schroeder (Ret.) received awards from the detachment recognizing their commitment to the unit and honoring their leadership. After more than 50 years we still remember and revere these old warriors, and appreciate the sacrifices made by them and those who came after us, and who continue the LRRP/Ranger tradition today in the form of Long Range Surveillance Units or Detachments (LRSU/LRSD).

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