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|This article, 1st UNSC Expeditionary Army (Rangers), was written by RelentlessRecusant. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The 1st UNSC Expeditionary Army (Rangers) is the principal expeditionary and rapid deployment force of the UNSC Army and the UNSC Special Operations Command. Formerly known as the UNSC Army Ranger Corps, the Rangers are a unique coalition between the Army and the Special Forces, combining the mobility and elite skill of the Special Forces and the overwhelming combined-arms firepower of the Army.
The 1st Expeditionary Army is the only expeditionary force of the UNSC Army, and is tasked to deliver a prepared UNSC military response to any military or domestic incident that occurs within the Sagittarius-Carina Arm, Orion-Cygnus Arm, or Perseus Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Rangers are comprised of highly modular and mobile task forces that are comprised of infantry, vehicular, and airborne assets, unlike all other frontline Special Forces divisions, which are primarily comprised of infantry elements.
The organization of the 1st Expeditionary Army provisions the UNSC to maintain force projection across thirty thousand light-years in space, allowing a Ranger task force to always be within days or weeks within striking range of any location that is within fifteen thousand light-years from Earth, from Henize 3-1357 in the Norma Arm to NGC 2359 in the Perseus Arm.
The Rangers, formerly known as UNSC Forward Airborne Reconnaissance within Special Operations Command jargon, are by far the largest Special Forces division of the Special Operations Command, numbering approximately 240,000 men and women; this is because the Rangers are comprised of highly-trained operators from the infantry, vehicular, and airborne communities. The 1st Expeditionary Army is comprised of eight Army Corps, each consisting of thirty thousand soldiers. Each Corps of the 1st Expeditionary Army is a mobile strike force, and each one is stationed in a spatially-disparate location in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Rangers are best known for their fielding of elite light infantry forces; because Rangers are designated as first responders in any combat situation in a denied environment, each Ranger joint task force encompasses special operations infantry with the capability to operate in all major hazardous environs; each Ranger force contains airborne infantry, maritime infantry, and spaceborne infantry. This gives each strike force the capability to vertically deploy forces from the atmosphere, to stage maritime or littoral operations in aquatic environments, and to operate in zero-g, to board spaceborne structures such as installations, asteroids, and enemy vessels.
Most Rangers acquire airborne training, and are certified for High Altitude, High Opening (HAHO)/High Altitude, Low Opening (HALO) insertion techniques, and are capable of air assault heliborne operations, deploying from dropships or helicopters by fast-rope lines. The Rangers are best known for their airborne troops; hostile fire zones designated as Ranger drop zones can literally explode with clouds of falling Rangers, and vertical deployment allows Rangers to saturate enemy positions deep behind the battle front, giving the Rangers an unparalleled edge of surprise, strategically taking out critical points such as command centers, communications lines, and logistics centers, and drawing away enemy forces from the front lines, relieving friendly general-purpose infantry.
The Rangers are principally responsible for serving as support troops for NAVSPECWAR and other SOCOM assets, providing fire and numerical support for other special operations units. The Rangers are unique in that it they are capable of being inserted into enemy territory via not only airborne insertion, but via amphibious or riverine methods as well. After insertion, FARSIGHT forces participate in image intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and technical intelligence activities and are equipped with long-range communications capabilities to relay their findings to a remote controller. The Rangers double as a reconnaissance force, and their on the battlefield may also task it to perform fire coordination functions to call in long-range strategic strikes on enemy targets of opportunity.
Furthermore, they maintain a direct action capability, and all Rangers are trained in ground warfare, and at all command levels, are a highly integrated strike force that aggressively repositions and fluidly maneuvers, and an assault by a Ranger force is typically a devastating hurricane of blows, with multiple punishing strikes coming from all vectors on all flanks. All Ranger squads have a lead navigator and a backup navigator, allowing them to tactically maneuver on the battlefield to stage their overwhelming attacks.
Rangers are well-integrated into the UNSC expeditionary force, and utilizing their status as a special operations unit, are integrated with all UNSC assets, and Rangers are flexible highly flexible, adapting to the ever-changing tactical situation. Rangers may operate in support of the general infantry, such as the Marines or the Army, as well as other special operations forces, such as UNSC Naval Special Warfare and UNSC Marine Force Reconnaissance. Rangers are also a favorite to support special missions groups such as "Janelia Blue"; the Ranger combat capability, which is flexible and adaptable to all environments, coupled with their skill makes them welcome and efficient comrades in many special operations.
Each Ranger battalion typically has between one to three maritime platoons; these are elite special forces that operate in aquatic environments, deploying from air-dropped submersibles or patrol boats, and these "combat divers" are capable of assaulting islands and peninsulas from the waterfront, infiltrating into rivers and ravines deep into enemy territory, and of attacking seaborne or shore installations, such as Covenant tritium refineries or aquatic shipyards. Maritime platoons are heavily invested in reconnaissance specialists and explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) operators; this allows maritime Ranger forces to both reconnoiter enemy shore defenses and also to "de-mine" defended harbors.
Furthermore, amphibious Rangers are tasked with the recovery of UNSC equipment or personnel that are missing-in-action, presumably in maritime operations. Destroyed UNSC warships in orbit may spray Bumblebee lifepods into the oceans below, and Ranger divers operate to save and rescue stranded UNSC personnel in the water. Furthermore, UNSC satellites lost in re-entry that make landing trajectories into the waters are recovered by maritime Rangers; this is especially important when reconnaissance or intelligence satellites containing precious data or weapons satellites with nuclear munitions are lost.
During the post-War peace and the resurgence of hijacking of seaborne vessels by rebels or the pirating of unarmed freighters, amphibious Ranger teams supported UNSC Naval Special Warfare teams in maritime counter-terrorism operators.
Maritime combat divers are typically clad in self-contained black or dark blue combat suits with extended and recyclable N2/O2 air supplies to support extended autonomous maritime operations. This specialized amphibious-operations environmental armor is completely air-tight, with a much more lightweight and heat-insulating, albeit slightly weaker, alloy used in the construction of the armor. Helmets are equipped with a flashlight in case of dark areas underwater, and all team members contain medium-range integrated communications links to ensure that in the event of a severe storm or a squall where the team is forced to break apart, that they may maintain contact with each other.
While their weapons are waterproof by necessity to ensure survival through brine and freshwater, UNSC projectile weapons are incapable of firing underwater. Amphibious Rangers may carry waterproofed BR55 Designated Marksman Rifles and MA5-series assault rifles for ground warfare once they reach the surface, or else M7-series suppressed submachine guns for maritime close-quarters counterterrorism operations. While it is uncommon, typically maritime platoons have at least one operator equipped with a backup sonic rifle for underwater combat in the highly unlikely event that Ranger divers encounter Covenant forces in the water.
Forward Reconnaissance (FORCON/FARSIGHT)
- Main article: UNSC Army Forward Reconnaissance
Specialized reconnaissance assets are a company-level support level, with typically one specialized area reconnaissance / zone reconnaissance mobile light infantry team attached to each Ranger company to provide forward reconnaissance; these reconnaissance specialists are colloquially known as "Army Forward Recon", and are a strictly-dedicated reconnaissance element that participate in non-combatant intelligence gathering and reconnaissance. Army Forward Recon core responsibilities include deep ground surveillance, pathfinding for air assault and airborne Ranger troops, and post-strike reconnaissance. Army Forward Recon is a highly specialized reconnaissance unit and is not rated of reconnaissance-in-force (RIF); they typically have no combat capability to engage reconnoitered targets. Kevin Red Songbird and Alexis Lovejoy were Army Forward Recon operators attached to Task Force 51, Midgard.
The Ranger Corps, as one of UNSC Special Operations Command's strike divisions and a principal special operations force (SOF) of the UNSC Defense Force, has served in some of the most notable battles of Human history in the 26th century. Ranger forces served with distinction during the Human-Covenant War, and the men and women of the Rangers would continue to everyday take the fight to the Covenant, and despite countless casualties over decades of warfare, their resolve would not fail as they leaped from world to world, defending UNSC colony after UNSC colony as it came under attack by the Covenant. The Rangers would earn the admiration of the regular infantry and of the civilian population, and as the UNSC's first responders to each Covenant siege, would be seen as the knights in silver armor, always the first to put their lives on the front line, always the first to defend civilians from the Covenant menace.
This would climax in the Second Battle of Earth, and Ranger company "Ranger 38/6 C" would fight with distinction in the Battle of Cambridge, struggling in the last few hours of the Human-Covenant War. Company 38/6 C would sacrifice their lives; already at over fifty percent casualties, they would refuse a chance to regroup and to evacuate their wounded members, and the Rangers of 38/6 C would deploy one last time to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they sacrificed their lives to ensure the UNSCSOCOM extraction from Cambridge, walking to certain death to save the lives of Flurry Troop, Marines, and civilian refugees. Kishi would be decorated posthumously with the Medal of Honor for volunteering to stay behind and to fight a rear-guard action.
Later, Ranger forces would be seen in support of PROGWARDIV special task force Janelia Blue, and airborne Ranger troops would support the SPARTANs of Black Team during their mission to secure the Forerunner Dreadnaught at CAM-327-17.
Ranger forces would later be seen in 2590 as one of the core UNSC special forces in support of Task Force 51, a joint inter-service counterinsurgency strike force nucleated by Directive 0-3 in response to intensifying terrorist and rebel activities on Midgard and other Outer Rim worlds. Elite Ranger infantry would provide combat support to Myrmidon and NAVSPECWAR Six forces during counterinsurgency operations, constituting the major component of Task Force 51 by numbers.
- 8th Ranger Expeditionary Force (8th Irish Ranger Regiment)
- 38th Ranger Expeditionary Force - Earth, Sol Theater of Operations (UNSCSOCCEN)
- 38/1 Ranger Battalion (1st Battalion): AFB Otis, Massachusetts (Northeastern U.S., North American Continental Theater of Operations)
- 38/6 Ranger Battalion (6th Battalion): AFB Hanscom, Massachusetts (Northeastern U.S., North American Continental Theater of Operations)
- Valorous Unit Award (2552): UNSCSOCOM SF "RANGER" 38TH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENTAL THEATER OF OPERATIONS, EARTH, SOL SYSTEM. For sacrifice and conspicuous gallantry in UNSC special operations in the search and rescue of unarmed civilians and the extraction of fellow UNSC comrades.
- 2nd Lieutenant Clay Resamick (O-1)
Behind the Scenes
- The UNSC Army Ranger Corps is named in homage of the U.S. modern-day 75th Ranger Regiment.