U.S. Army/Patrick Albright, Maneuver Center of Excellence

An Air Force officer became the first female airman to earn the Ranger tab last week, joining a growing group of women who have completed the Army's legendary combat leadership course.

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(U.S. Army/Sgt. Austin Berner)

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. -- No one close to him knows exactly how Sgt. 1st Class Wilton "Pappy" White was removed from the Ranger Hall of Fame, which honors the best of the elite U.S. Army Rangers.

There was, however, enough question about his mysterious removal nearly 20 years ago that the work of fellow Rangers and others in the intervening years got White reinstated to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, in ceremonies at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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Spc. Joe Gibson (U.S. Army photo)

On the night of April 26, 2008, UH-60 Black Hawks delivered U.S. Army Rangers to a grassy field in rural Iraq. As the soldiers took up their positions beneath the ascending helicopters, a heavy barrage of small-arms fire began whipping in through the tall grass. The men of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment had arrived on a mission to find and eliminate an al Qaeda cell. Now they were being ambushed by a group of insurgents less than 50 meters away.

Two of the Rangers went down almost immediately, one with a life-threatening gunshot wound.

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