It was in January of 1944, when GEN Omar Bradley gave LTC James Rudder, commander of the 2nd Ranger Bn the mission of capturing Pointe-du-Hoc. Bradley finished by saying, “It is the most dangerous mission of D-Day. LTC Rudder, replied, My Rangers can do the job.”
The Provisional Ranger Force (2nd and 5th Ranger Bn), under the overall command of LTC Rudder was divided into two elements. Task Force A (Companies D, E, and F, 2nd Ranger Bn, under LTC Rudder) and Task Force B (Companies A and B, 2nd Ranger Bn and the 5th Ranger Bn, under the command of LTC Max Schneider).
The plan was for Task Force A to assault the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, and once successful send a message to Task Force B to follow on as the second wave. If Task Force B did not receive the signal by 0700 they were to land after the 29th Infantry Division on Omaha Beach and move overland to Pointe-du-Hoc to reinforce the 2nd Bn.
The 2nd Bn ran into more opposition than expected and took longer to take the cliffs and consolidate their position. By the time the signal was sent to Task Force B, LTC Schneider has already shifted the force to land on Omaha Beach. This meant LTC Rudder and Task Force A had to “hold until relieved” with a bare minimum force.
Task Force B landed in the middle of “Bloody Omaha” where assault waves of soldiers were stacking up against the seawall and the tide was coming in. It was during this point in the assault when BG Norman Cota, Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division said to the troops on the beach, “Don’t die on the beaches, die up on the bluff if you have to die, but get off the beaches or you’re sure to die” Cota turned to LTC Schneider, telling him, “I’m expecting the Rangers to lead the way.” That was the beginning of the motto, “Rangers lead the way!”
We, the 425th Regimental Association, carry on the heritage of these and other Rangers who have “led the way!”