Many of our legacies of a country began even before we were a nation. The fervor and spirit, the dedication and perseverance, the unbelievable sacrifices that have perpetuated the American spirit have been with us since we began molding our country.
In the 1750s the French and Indian War was underway. What is now the United States was then a British territory. At that time the frontier was only a few hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean and northern New York was being contested by both England and France. The two countries were fighting over the territory and it was quite brutal. The Indians had adopted universal scalping from their European teachers that would pay bounties for Indian scalps.
Life was difficult and moving through the wilds of North New York and Southeast Canada took a unique person. The Indians easily achieved maneuvering through these wilds but the Europeans learned to live in this territory with difficulty. The movement of an army trained in colonial military techniques was very difficult if not impossible to accomplish when in heavily wooded mountainous terrain. The French built alliances with the local Indian tribes and it was the Indians that did a lot of France’s fighting in the back country. The British did not form an Indian alliance but instead depended on back woods militia. These militias were composed of men that had been living in the backwoods and who would learn their battle techniques from the Indians; many times from devastating encounters. One militia group was not only made of rough backwoodsmen, they were lead by a relentless leader that quickly learned from mistakes and trained his men to succeed. The commander was Robert Rogers and his men were known as Roger’s Rangers.
They would use commando tactics and were not schooled in European military tactics. Their primary mission was reconnaissance and special warfare tactics. The militia units were so bold that the British Crown used them as their chief units in the 1750s. Still the rangers were never fully respected by the British regular army units. This attitude must have manifested itself until today. One of my construction superintendents, Bill Sime, was a former British SAS member. These were the British Commandos. He told me that the British Prime Minister referred to the SAS as a necessary evil.
Robert Rogers developed his unit and displayed leadership beyond what is normally required to develop a normal fighting force. It is this type of leadership that built our country, leadership to move beyond the status quo and drive for excellence. The patriotic spirit remained with members of the rangers long after the French and Indian war. Several surviving members of the unit faced the British at Concord Bridge at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. This spirit of accomplishment is what we need to nurture and re-instill in our society to continue to build the greatest nation in the history of our planet.
Rogers Rangers did not die with Robert Rogers or at the end of the French and Indian War. A highly trained US Army unit took the name when it formed and thus Army Rangers has a lineage to the French and Indian War. Hollywood also took the queue and “The Northwest Passage” was born in 1947 with Spencer Tracy playing the part of Rogers.

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