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Ranger Battalion passes colors to new commander

Published: 04:51PM June 14th, 2012

The 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, one of four battalions in the regiment, changed command at Watkins Field on JBLM Lewis Main, June 7.

Lieutenant Colonel David Hodne passed the battalion colors to Lt. Col. Gregory Anderson during the afternoon ceremony. Known to many as “the battalion,” 2-75 Rngr. has been home to Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry and former National Football League player, Spc. Pat Tillman. The battalion traces its lineage back to D-Day landings at Pointe du Hoc on the Normandy coast.

Colonel Mark Odom, 75th Ranger Regiment commander, traveled to JBLM for the ceremony and said among many things, Hodne has helped shed necessary light on Army Rangers who avoid notoriety.

“Dave has produced the dual effect of properly recognizing his battalion and its Rangers and educating the public on the important work it has done and continues to do,” he said. “His complementary efforts have also helped a new generation of Rangers better understand both how they fit in its history and in the community.” Hodne led two Operation Enduring Freedom deployments since 2010.

Anderson comes to JBLM from command of 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. In his two years with 2-87 Inf., Anderson and his unit deployed to Kandahar Province’s Zhari District, where they conducted counter-insurgency operations and Afghan Army development in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Hodne is heading to Georgetown University where he will be the U.S. Army Senior Service College Fellow. From there he is slated to return to JBLM to lead 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

“On service in this incredible formation, I recently heard it described perfectly,” Hodne said of his final day as a Ranger Bn. commander. “‘For my fellow Rangers, I need not explain ... for those who aren’t, I never could.’ (My Family and I) stand together as a Family, and we do so in the company of the finest fighting force ever assembled.”

He said that an end for him is only a continuance for 2-75 Rngr. Within a month, the battalion will deploy for a 15th time since 9/11 in support of Overseas Contingency Operations.

“While this ceremony represents finality for the Hodne Family, it represents nothing of the sort for the Rangers to your front,” he said. “They know the rush, the adrenaline in running off the ramp in the dark; they know the thrill of the hunt, but they also know the pain and I pray they do not experience it again.”

In closing, he shared more insight about JBLM’s Ranger battalion and formally addressed its ranks one last time.

“Recognize that with every action they take, these men honor their nation — their sacred duty is to fight — the first to meet the enemy, the first to test his will, the first to break it,” he said. “These men spend themselves in a worthy cause and the Rangers know that the true meaning in this endeavor is ultimately about people — the people to their left and right matter most.

“Be comfortable with the knowledge that your children, your Families and your circle of friends will look at the support you provide each other during this time in your lives as something that will be nothing short of remarkable. Your children ... will be proud of you.”

The two other line batalions of 75th Ranger Regiment are 1st Bn, at Hunter Army Air Field, Fort Stewart, Ga. and 3rd Bn. at Fort Benning, Ga. The Ranger STB is also at Fort Benning.