75th Anniversary of the deactivation of the 6th Ranger Battalion

By Dr. Michael E. Krivdo, USASOC History OfficeJanuary 6, 2021

75th Anniversary of the Deactivation of the 6th Ranger Battalion
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left to right, PFC Julius Cobb, Navy Gunner’s Mate Clarence
Hall, British Army SGT Robert Hall, CPT Robert J. Duncan (in
cart), and an unidentified Ranger pose with the carabao cart
used to transport rescued POWs to Guimba on 31 January 1945. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
75th Anniversary of the Deactivation of the 6th Ranger Battalion
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Ten Rangers and two Alamo Scouts from the Cabanatuan raid
met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Oval Office
of the White House, 7 March 1945. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
U.S. Army Photo
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – COL Arthur D. ‘Bull’ Simons, former 6th Rangers company commander and acting battalion commander who went on to pioneer Ranger training in the Jungle Phase, then joined Special Forces and commanded a WHITE STAR contingent in Laos, the 8th Special Forces Group, and led the Ground Force during the Son Tay Raid into North Vietnam. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
75th Anniversary of the Deactivation of the 6th Ranger Battalion
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – LTC Henry A. Mucci (L), and CPT Robert W. Prince, 6th Ranger Battalion, review a map after the successful Cabanatuan POW Camp rescue. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army ) VIEW ORIGINAL

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.