Company officers and senior NCO's of E Co 51ST INF (LRS)

Darmstadt Germany with E 51st Rangers LRS

The heritage and tradition of the U. S. Army Rangers (Long Range Patrol) is alive and well in an elite group of young men know as Company E 51st Infantry. Our plane was met by a young 1st Lieutenant by the name of David Painter and his beautiful and charming wife Cory. The nick name of L.T. quickly attached and he proceeded to take charge of our transportation and housing requirements. Lt. Painter is 1st platoon leader and we had two of his people as our constant escorts and drivers. L.T. insured that we had everything we needed to make our visit one of the most memorable events in our lives.

Upon arriving at the company area just outside of Darmstadt, and just down the road from our hotel, I couldn't help but get a nostalgic twinge when I saw the Co. E 51st Infantry Long Range Patrol blue and white scroll above the door of company headquarters. Captain John Scott Nelson who enthusiastically welcomed us to Germany met us. We were told that we would be going to the field with the men of his command for the various events, which make up the Pruden Competition. We sat in on a briefing session with the other company officers and senior NCOs. An equipment check came next and each item carried by these soldiers was displayed with an explanation of how each piece functioned. The sophistication and complexity of several pieces of equipment, especially their various radios and encryption devises was remarkable. My mouth began to water when I saw the night vision scopes each man carried. The jungle would have been ours for the asking if we had any of these devises on our teams.

We spent a great deal of time talking and interacting with the men of Echo Company. We ate in their mess hall and enjoyed their youthful enthusiasm. They treated us like royalty. We accompanied them to the Odenwald Forest for night navigation exercises. All members of our party including the ladies, feasted on MRE's. They tasted better then LURP rations as far as I was concerned. But the individual packets were too heavy to be taken to the field with out stripping them of unneeded items. Danny, Frank and I had an opportunity to sit down with these guys and we told how LRRP missions were pulled in the Nam. Several came up to us later and said how much they admired what we did in Nam and how they wanted to follow in our foot steps.

A full dress military ball aboard a ship that sailed up the Rhine topped off the week. Ranger units from the past, including those from Nam, and present were honored and toasted. Danny and Larry Pruden made sure that Bob Pruden was the focal point of the celebration. Danny did a great job in showing the human and funny side of Bob and Larry told what it was like growing up with his brother.

I can honestly say that I have never been treated better then we were by Captain Nelson and the officers and men of his command. If any members of the Association have an opportunity of going to Germany to meet these fine young men, I would highly recommend that they do so.

We can rest comfortably knowing that the dedication, enthusiasm, heritage and traditions of the U.S. Army Rangers (Long Range Patrol) are in good hands.

Tom & Sharon Robison


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Album best viewed at 800 x 600 display

Photos page 1-8 courtesy of Frank Svensson
Photos page 9 courtesy of Sandy Pruden