The National Ranger Monument began as a sketch drawn on a napkin by two anonymous Rangers in a mess hall. From such humble beginnings has arisen a magnificent testimony to the contributions Rangers have made to the common defense of the United States and around the globe.
It wasn’t until 1992 that specific action took place. In January 1992, The National Ranger Memorial Foundation, Inc. was awarded its charter as a Georgia registered 501(c)3 organization. Major General, retired, Kenneth C. Leuer was elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Leuer was the perfect choice. A former Commanding General at Fort Benning, and commander of the first Ranger battalion-sized unit formed since World War II. Leuer was respected by the Ranger Community and an experienced leader.
Meanwhile, planning was underway for the 50th anniversary celebration of the formation of Darby’s Rangers. Ranger leaders and members of the various Ranger Associations decided to capitalize on the enthusiasm and goodwill that were being generated. The kickoff was a symbolic groundbreaking during the anniversary activities. Not wanting to detract from the enormous task facing the anniversary planners, Leuer decided to wait until the completion of the 50th anniversary celebration. When the festivities were over, he began the formation of the Board of Directors.
The board included the heads of the seven Ranger associations, the Commanders of the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Ranger The second goal was to raise $500,000 needed for the construction, maintenance, fund raising expenditures and other administrative expenses. This goal was achieved through the efforts of the associations, word-of-mouth, and a direct mail campaign. Corporate donations were solicited. However, the primary sources of funds came from past and present Rangers, their families and their friends. The funds were raised by selling memorial stones to be place on the monument walkway. The stones are engraved with the name and unit of Rangers of all ears—living and deceased.
At the onset, it was realized that a permanent office was necessary to maintain records. Colonel, retired, Ralph Puckett established a detailed system and supervised the fulltime secretary. Columbus Bank and Trust generously provided space for the foundation office at no charge.
By 1994, the Ranger Monument was completed with 2456 polished stones commemorating Rangers of all eras. In 1996, Phase II was completed with the addition of 2200 more stones, indirect lighting, a sprinkler system, ledger stones, and a locator system.
A prerequisite for the approval and acceptance by the Department of Defense was that the foundation continue to maintain the monument in perpetuity. This lead to the formation of a planning committee and the formation of the permanent Board of Directors in February 1995, six months after the August 1994 dedication of the Ranger Monument.
Since then, the foundation moved its office to Building 1367 on Fort Benning and continued its primary mission to build an endowment fund in order to provide perpetual maintenance. The first addition of 2200 granite stones was exhausted in 2007 and names are now engraved on the 5000 remaining red granite tiles.
In 2001the foundation embarked on an ambitious plan to expand fundraising to the national level through the annual Combined Federal Campaign. A scholarship program was developed with the initial funding from Mr. Bill Heard, III. After three years proving the foundation’s capability to operate and provide services at the state level, the foundation applied and was accepted in 2005 to the national-level campaign. The foundation has expanded it scholarship program to reach Rangers and their dependants across the United States and globe.
An additional program was developed in 2002 to provide support to Ranger families in need of help. This program has since provided funding through the Family Readiness Groups of the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Ranger Training Brigade as requested. In 2007, the foundation began it’s A-net program to keep Rangers everywhere informed of the happenings at the monument and within the Ranger brotherhood.
The National Ranger Memorial Foundation, Inc. is poised to achieve the goal of perpetual maintenance, but only through the constant support of donors can the other programs be sustained and broadened. The foundation was rated “Best in America” by the Independent Charities of America association because of the high standards, services, and professional management of the foundation compared to the low overhead costs.Please consider contributing to the foundation. All gifts are tax deductible. Click on either link below to give.