Company F, 425th Infantry

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Company F, 425th Infantry (Ranger)

Company F, 425th Infantry was a long range surveillance unit of the Michigan National Guard that was inactivated on 12 June 2011. The company came into being in the mid-1960s when the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 225th Infantry was reflagged as Companies E and F (Ranger), 425th Infantry, and organized as Ranger companies. During this period these two companies were assigned to division and higher level commands to perform long range reconnaissance patrol missions, as opposed to the Ranger companies of today which comprise the four battalions (this includes the Special Troops Battalion) of the 75th Ranger Regiment.[1] According to the United States Army Center of Military History, it was reorganized and redesignated as the 425th Infantry Detachment (LRS) effective 1 September 2008 and was relocated from the State of Michigan Pontiac Armory to the Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mount Clemens, 15 miles northeast of Detroit.

History[edit]

At the conclusion of World War II the 125th Infantry Regiment, Michigan National Guard, returned to Detroit. A reorganization of the National Guard followed and the Detroit unit was redesignated the 425th Infantry Regiment. Regimental elements reorganized 1 September 1972 and Company E was redesignated Company F, 425th Infantry (Ranger).[2]

Organization[edit]

Company F consisted of a large company headquarters and operations section, three patrol platoons, a communications platoon, and a parachute rigger section. Each patrol platoon consisted of a platoon headquarters and, at full strength, six 6-man patrol teams. Company F was historically an independent company within the Michigan National Guard, but for a period during the Cold War beginning in 1983, the company was aligned with VII Corps Headquarters in Stuttgart, West Germany, where it would deploy and serve as the corps Long Range Surveillance unit in the event of a NATO-Soviet conflict in Europe. Members of Company F held military occupational specialties (MOS) in the branches Infantry, Quartermaster Corps (Parachute Rigger 92R), Signal Corps and Military Intelligence. Since it was an airborne unit, members were required to attend the Army's Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, GA.[1]

Equipment[edit]

Co.F troops at Camp Grayling, MI

Throughout the Cold War, many National Guard and Reserve forces were poorly equipped in comparison to the active component, however, Company F, given its importance as a long-range reconnaissance/Ranger unit was much better equipped than most. It was one of the first National Guard units to receive M16 rifles and M1956 equipment even before some active units. The unit was also historically equipped with the most modern communications equipment. As an airborne unit, Company F made use of T-10 static-line parachutes which is primarily used for jumps by the active military, allied military forces, as well as the Michigan Army and Air National Guard from UH-60 Blackhawks, CH-47 Chinooks, and C-130 Hercules transports. In the past, the unit also jumped from such aircraft such as the UH-1 Iroquois (Huey), C-123 Provider and the C-119 Flying Boxcar. In recent years the unit was equipped with the following weapons: the 5.56mm M4 carbine, the 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the 40mm M203 grenade launcher, and the 9mm M9 pistol, consistent with active combat arms units of the U.S. Army.[2]

Installations[edit]

Company F trained at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base Mount Clemens, MI; Fort Custer Training Center near Kalamazoo, MI; Camp Grayling MI; Puerto Rico; and has historically been headquartered at the Pontiac Armory in Pontiac, MI.[2]

Deployments and Civil Actions[edit]

Co.F troops with full equipment exiting a C-130 Hercules

Company F's first action was as part of the National Guard force brought to Highland Park to quell the Detroit riot of 1968, and performed its duties without casualties. This is not to be confused with the much more serious 1967 Detroit riot in which the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 225th Infantry participated. Unlike Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry, Indiana ARNG, Company F never deployed to Vietnam, but saw many training deployments during the period to locations including Puerto Rico and other stateside military installations. The company also participated in several REFORGER exercises in the 1980s. In 1987, Airborne and Ranger-qualified personnel from Company F deployed to the United Kingdom and jointly trained with 21 Special Air Services (SAS). Company F was the first Army National Guard company ever to deploy from the US and jump into a simulated combat scenario in Puerto Rico.[2]

After the 9/11 attacks, several members of Company F were mobilized as a vanguard for the unit and were deployed to Iraq during the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were designated as Company F, 250th MI Battalion and attached to Company H (LRS), 121st Infantry, Georgia ARNG. Company F was mobilized on 7 December 2003 and deployed to Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005, where it performed security operations, foreign internal defense training as well as normal LRS missions. Though several members were wounded through enemy action and received Purple Heart medals, Company F returned to Michigan with all soldiers that deployed a year earlier. Following its deployment, Company F continued training with the benefit of combat experience as a result of its one year tour of duty in Iraq.[2]

2nd Iraq deployment

Company F was mobilized again on 9 May 2009 and deployed to Iraq from July 2009 to May 2010.

Insignia[edit]

Michigan National Guard griffin patch and 425th Airborne Ranger scroll

Company F, 425th Infantry (LRS) wore the distinctive airborne tab above the griffin patch of the Michigan Army National Guard, distinguishing it as an airborne unit. Previously the unit had worn the Airborne Tab above the shoulder patch of the 201st Military Intelligence Brigade. Before being reflagged as a Long Range Surveillance Company, members of Company F wore a scroll with "AIRBORNE RANGER" in lieu of the common Airborne Tab above the griffin patch and the black beret with distinctive flash which identified them as Rangers. Upon designation as members of a LRS unit, soldiers of Company F switched to the maroon beret, the distinguishing feature of members of an airborne unit.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ankony, Robert C., Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri, revised ed., Lanham, MD (2009). [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f Woodworth, Maj. Thomas, "Heritage: F Company 425th Infantry," Patrolling magazine, Winter-Spring 2006