Original Darby's Ranger Inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame

 

Staff Sergeant Philip Stern

Staff Sergeant Philip Stern is inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his service as an original member of the 1st Ranger Battalion (Darby’s Rangers) and for his lasting contribution to the photographic history of the Rangers in the European Theater during World War Two.  Stern enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 21, 1942 in Los Angeles, California. Because he was a "Skilled Photographer" he was appointed to Sergeant and after initial training, on July 29, 1942, he arrived in London to work in an army photo lab. Wanting to do something more meaningful he volunteered for an elite military group being formed. As a combat photographer, he would take thousands of pictures during Ranger training at Corker Hill and in action from North Africa to Italy. Like Matthew Brady during the Civil War, Stern would preserve in black and white images so many colorful American warriors, from generals to privates. At the Battle of El Guettar Stern was severely wounded in action; his right arm incapacitated and neck hit by shell fragments. The Army field hospital in Morocco performed surgery and fixed this right arm. After being awarded the Purple Heart, Stern was determined to get back with his unit.  In the summer of 1943 he joined “Stars and Stripes” and accompanied the Rangers during the first wave of the Invasion of Sicily. He was one of the very few photographers to capture the historical importance of Sicily being liberated by the allied European forces. Stern’s pictures, James Altieri later wrote, had not only made the public aware of the Rangers, but “they had given us a new surge of pride and spirit at a crucial time.”  After discharge from the Army, Stern was assigned by “Life” to produce a photo essay on the homecoming of Darby’s Rangers at Camp Butner, North Carolina. The “Life”  article, published on July 31, 1944 featured a photo of Darby on his motorcycle taken by Stern in Sicily. In Hollywood, Stern appeared with film personalities promoting war bonds. And in 1945 he provided more photo essays for “Life” on post war social rehabilitation.  Stern’s time as a Ranger in the Army during WWII influenced his photographic style for the rest of his life: gritty and honest with nowhere for either subject or viewer to hide.

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See Ranger News for more information; and watch for more photos to be added this week, including photos of Rangers in WWII.

 

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