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He gradually became cadet company commander and Darby, though later was known to be one of the greatest infantrymen that the country had ever seen, graduated from West Point in June 1933 as a second lieutenant with artillery as his choice of career. From west point he later was assigned for duty in the 82nd field artillery which belonged to the 1st cavalry division and was stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. At the time that Darby joined the division, it was the only artillery unit remaining in the army which was on horse back. After serving some time there he was promoted to the rank of captain in October of 1940 and thereafter received amphibious training.
Darby was soon assigned to be the aide-de-camp to Major General Russell P. Hartle who was the commander of the thirty-fourth infantry division2. Soon the bombing by the Japanese of Pearl Harbor in 1941 led to the deployment of the division to Northern Ireland in January of 1942 and Darby was also deployed.
In Northern Ireland Darby was to meet General Lucian K. Truscott, who was put in charge of acquiring volunteers from the 34th infantry and the 1st armored division for the establishment of a new unit of elite commandos. These were to be acquired from the already thin contingency of troops who were in the United Kingdom at the time which was not much to work with. Furthermore, the new unit did not have any commanding officer and through one sly maneuver on the part of the chief of staff of the division at the time, Colonel Edmond Leavey3 Darby was given the opportunity to be the new commander of the Rangers. In no time Darby was the new commanding officer of his small number of soldiers who were then dubbed as Darby’s Rangers. William Darby was then promoted to the rank of a major and after the official setting up of the United States first army ranger battalion in 1942 he was made its commanding
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M. Rogers 1985
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