The 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) was the first and only all-black Ranger unit in the history of the United States Army. Its 10-month lifespan included selection, training, and seven months of combat deployment in Korea, after which the unit was deactivated. Master Sergeant (Ret.) Edward Posey’s The US Army’s First, Last, and Only All-Black Rangers: The 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) in the Korea War, 1950-1951 is the first complete history of this elite, all-volunteer unit, whose members were drawn from the 3rd Battalion of the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion.
After experiencing the normal travails of boot camp at Fort Benning, which segregation and racism only made worse, the all-black Rangers set out to join the Korean War in late 1950. On January 7, 1951, the Rangers found themselves defending a critical railroad running through Tanyang Pass, which Communist guerillas tried to infiltrate. The nighttime action triggered the Rangers’ inaugural combat, which ended with the recommendation for a Bronze Star for gallantry for a Ranger sergeant. Additional combats with the North Korean and Communist Chinese forces erupted near Majori-ri and Chechon.
But the event that propelled the 2nd Rangers into the record books was their airborne assault near Munsan-Ni on March 23, 1951—the first in Ranger history. Once on the ground, Posey and his comrades executed the heroic attack and defense of Hill 581. The fighting—often conducted at close quarters and occasionally with the bayonet—demonstrated the courage of these tough American soldiers. Throughout their deployment in Korea, the 2nd Rangers served with honor and achieved a magnificent combat record.
Posey’s long overdue history is based upon his own firsthand experiences, official records, interviews with survivors, and other archival material. Stitched together, this information offers a rich and worthy addition to the growing literature on the Korean War by explaining the obstacles these patriotic men faced, their sacrifices, and their courageous actions on the far side of the world.
This book would not have been possible without the dedicated vision of "Big Jim" Major James C. Queen, Sergeant First Class William Weathersbee, and the collaborative efforts of the surviving members of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne). The result of their decades'-long journey is this wonderful book-their most important and final mission.
Nearly sixty years have passed since the Korean War slipped into the realm of history. Now, the world will finally learn the true story of the United States Army’s first, only, and last all-black Ranger unit.