Are Ranger School Graduates Rangers?

| August 5, 2020

The website has an article about individuals that graduated Ranger school claiming to be Rangers, especially politicians.  They pose the question – Is this right?

Ranger School graduates running for office are claiming to be Rangers. Is it right?

John James, running for Senate in Michigan, and Bryant Messner, running for Senate in New Hampshire have both claimed to be Rangers in campaign ads.

The Washington Post, and to some extent the U.S. Army itself, have called shenanigans on these claims.

Both men are Ranger School graduates. However, they did not serve in a Ranger Battalion. To the general public, and even service members outside of the Ranger community this sounds like a distinction without a difference.

Ranger School is a two-month-long course that teaches leadership and infantry tactics and is available to any qualifying soldier in the Army to attend. As an Army school, it falls under Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). The 75th Ranger Regiment is a special operations direct action unit that falls under Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and includes three battalions and several support elements. Service in the Ranger Regiment requires graduating from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP). Not all members of the Ranger Regiment are Ranger School graduates but those in leadership positions are.

To confuse matters even further, instructors assigned to Ranger School and those assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment both wear tan berets.

If this sounds a bit convoluted, that’s because it is, but the distinctions are crystal clear to those who are part of the Army’s Ranger community.

So can John James and Bryant Messner claim to be Rangers because they graduated from Ranger School or is this some type of Stolen Valor?

This comes up quite a bit. I defer to Army personnel on this one and would be interested to hear their take.

BUD/S graduates are not SEALs until they become attached to a SEAL unit and fulfill other qualifications such as jump school.

Marines have the designation “Marine” when they complete The Crucible in boot camp and are awarded the Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin representing the completion of qualifications and right to be called a “Marine.”

A Recon Marine must be in a Recon unit and fulfill other qualifications such as Jump School and Dive School.

Category: Ranger, Stolen Valor

Comments (116)

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  1. Sapper3307 says:

    Full RANGER= RANGER tab and served in RANGER Batts.
    Scroll RANGER= served in RANGER Batts without RANGER tab.
    School RANGER= a RANGER school instructor that never served in batts.
    Tab RANGER= earned the tab but never served in batts.
    From RANGER Ricks digest series.

    • timactual says:

      You forgot Chairborne Ranger and Park Ranger.

      The Rambo disease has reached its peak.

    • rgr769 says:

      You also forgot another category. Those of us with (and without) a Ranger tab and who served in the Ranger Companies that existed before the battalions were created. There are men who served in the letter Ranger companies in both Korea and Vietnam. I might add that the 75th Ranger Regiment Assn. considers us as Army Rangers even though some who served in those companies never went to Ranger School.

      The Army Ranger Assn. is open to anyone who was tabbed upon completion of Ranger School. I have a former Armor officer friend who is a member but cannot join the 75th Regt. Assn. because he never served in any Ranger unit. On of my battalion commanders in the RVN sported a Ranger tab. I wouldn’t follow either of them for a walk in the park. My friend can’t navigate worth a shit in the woods; and my former Bn. C.O.(O-5) was one of the worst leaders I ever experienced in the Army. (He was relieved after only three months commanding 3rd Bn/12th Inf.)

      • rgr769 says:

        I should also add that the 75th Ranger Regt Assn also says that the Merril’s Marauders, the Vietnamese Ranger Advisors (BDQ), and the Long Ranger Surveillance unit veterans are eligible for membership in the association.

        • rgr769 says:

          Long Range not “Ranger” surveillance units (LRS). Membership is also available to the veterans of the Long Range Patrol (LRP and LRRP) companies of the “Vietnam Times.” (They all became letter Ranger Companies in 1969.)

  2. Planet Ord says:

    My uncle is a Ranger. He graduated Ranger school and didn’t serve in the battalions. They didn’t exist during Vietnam. His job was to go back to the 4ID and train the other infantry on what he learned in school. He walked out with BSV and Purple Heart.

    He will always be a Ranger in my mind.

    • David Dennis says:

      Take a look at this: and here:

      Not trying to disparage your Uncles service, but some things may have been lost in translation. I know my service in 1972 has more than one murky area…hell my breakfast this morning is a bit murky.

      • Planet Ord says:

        Davis Dennis, what is your point? Battles were fought in Vietnam before 1969.

        • David Dennis says:

          My point is, that Rangers, were in fact in Viet Nam. I was merely pointing out that there may have been lapse in recollection, that is all. You didn’t mention when he was in-country so I have no way of knowing when he served. And yes, I am well aware of the numerous battles in Viet Nam prior to 1969. I grew up in that era and remember Prez Johnson commiting large level of troops to the area, as well as the draft, the build-up and the seemingly nightly body count. In my Army career, I went to several schools but never found myself assigned to a billet requiring that particular skill set. I was qualified, but never assigned. So how would I present myself to others? I had the school/skills but never worked in that particular arena. It was nver a point of contention with me. If someone asked about the school, I could answer with the date attended and the ASI if awarded one but generally made it clear that I was never assigned to a job requiring the skills. It was, what it was.

          • Planet Ord says:

            Yeah. I’ve spoken to him at length about this. He won’t talk to another about his service. I’m a vet and even served near him. He considers himself a Ranger because at the time he completed the school the battallions didn’t exist. The job of Ranger graduates was to go back to their line units and teach those guys what they knew. He, unfortunately, got into a hell of a battle and was shot in the head, survived, and noted that the only reason he and his platoon lived was his ability to call for fire, that he learned in Ranger school. So, he’s a tabbed Ranger with a PH and BSV. I’ve got his tab he wore that day in Vietnam in my basement along with his original medals. And his tab from school.

    • Slow Joe says:

      Well, your uncle is not a Ranger.

      He is Ranger qualified, which is a great achievement on itself, since Ranger school is the hardest school in the Army, bar none.

      But, he ain’t a Ranger.

      • Planet Ord says:

        Slow Joe, he tabbed. He fought. He trained. He was wounded in battle that he told me that if it weren’t for the Ranger training he would have died, particularly being able to call for fire. The Battallions weren’t a thing then. Go piss up a rope prick.

        • Slow Joe says:

          He is still not a Ranger.
          He is Ranger qualified.

          • ninja says:

            Planet Ord:

            For what it is worth, Slow Joe NEVER ATTENDED RANGER SCHOOL.

            IMHO, your Uncle IS a RANGER…and I know you are very proud of him.

          • ninja says:

            To Slow Joe:

            Who are YOU to make that comment, especially since you never attended RANGER School or are even a RANGER?

            You can’t see how you come across to some, i.e. being arrogant and narcisstic.

            How would you feel if a Soldier who is of another Branch tell you that you are not Infantry?

            Are you really that shallow?

          • Hubristic Hubert says:

            Slow Joe-

            That is some big tough guy talk from someone who has never attended Ranger School, Airborne School, or even Air Assault School.

            If you had not waited so long to join the Army, perhaps you could have attended some advanced schools before you became too old to be physically competitive for selection.

            It must suck to be an old man E-7 who struggles to keep up and has to take orders from officers who are half your age. It is a pity that your retirement is still so far away.

            • Planet Ord says:

              Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. He’s a good man that served when others wouldn’t. His father was in the 4ID at Normandy and they actually served in the same battalion, roughly 25 years apart. I’ve got his school tab, his tab he wore in battle, his battle insignia and his original BSV and PH. He’s discarded them as he no longer sees himself as a hero warrior, I made a shadow box with them and display them in my home.

              Those that doubt him like Slow Joe, well, they can still piss up a rope. Show me you did better, prick.

  3. fm2176 says:

    While in the service, sure, there’s a big difference between Ranger qualified personnel and those who spend significant time in the Battalions. It’s hard to argue that a kid who served under a year in a Battalion and received a combat scroll before being shown the door is more of a Ranger than someone who spent an equal amount of time in the School after being recycled a couple of times. I know a guy who did froze up in combat, got sent to The Old Guard sporting a CIB and Scroll, and later completed Ranger School.

    This shows exactly how much overemphasis we Soldiers place on bells and whistles. The aforementioned guy changed his MOS, but looking at him you’d think he was a hardened Ranger, sporting a Scroll, Tab, CIB, Airborne, Air Assault, and Pathfinder. Talk to his former squad leader and you’ll realize his only combat experience amounted to freezing up on a mountain and being dragged out of the kill zone.

    Once you’re a civilian it’s all semantics in my opinion. We can debate back and forth, but in the end, who really cares outside of die hard Army types? Oh, and my special hat is more intimidating to the average vet than any French-inspired headgear… 😉

    • Slow Joe says:

      Excellent example of the exception of the rule.

      It is really hard for a shitbag to earn all those tabs and qualifications.

      But, it happens.

    • OldManchu says:

      I was asked by a sincere civilian friend to splain him the difference in the tab and scroll. When I told him about each he said “that just sounds too complicated.” Lol.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      The original purpose of awards and decorations was recognizing Valor and Merit that was noteworthy and above expectations.

      Not everyone is above average, eh? Not above typical expectations.

      Sadly, the -primary- purpose now seems to be ticket-punching for careerists and camouflage for sub-standard service.

      The idea that everyone gets an “end of tour” award is exhibit A.

      • Green Thumb says:

        I have seen that last part go both ways.

        I am seen shitbags get BSM’s and hard charging leaders get ARCOMS.

        Is what it is.

        Has a lot to do with your command structure and if leadership (at all levels) give a shit.

  4. Green Thumb says:

    Both politicians are Republicans. But Dicky B. is a Vietnam Vet. Good stuff.

    Funny. Gotta love the Washington Post.

    Dude that wrote the article seems legit per his bio. Unsure as to his level of concern on this or his motivation, but hey, its his opinion and he damn sure earned it.

    Class 6-00 here. Never in Batt (got pulled off of an X-ray contract but still went/was sent in my other unit) but every slot after Ranger School (I was a PFC) was a V slot from E-4 on. Sometimes you cannot serve in certain units based upon time, era, professional and personal paths, being wounded, EMFP needs, etc. And I am not talking about failing the schools (SFAS to Q, Sapper, Ranger, etc.). Sometimes it just does not work.

    Dude at the top of the post lays out a bunch of definitions and I guess they are technically correct. Never put a lot of thought into it.

    I just lived the values of the Creed. But then again, I never really walk around telling folks about my military, professional or academic background. It’s on my bio and CV along with other accomplishments (awards, badges, medals and ribbons) and other academic and professional achievements and degrees.

    I moved on in life.


    • Green Thumb says:

      I guess the other point I failed to mention is this (or used to be): you will not command in the IN without the Tab.

      Yeah, you might be a D Co Gun Bunny CO or an HHC dude after being a PL down on the line (if you were lucky), but in my day, I rarely saw dudes get past CPT (a few MAJ along the way, but that is staff) without it.

      First things dudes do when you show up at your unit is 1) look at your left shoulder and 2) get you to swear so they can judge your artistic value / presence.

  5. Mason says:

    If the Army (and its Rangers of both types) want there to be a distinction, they need to make one. Rename the course to something else. They could easily resurrect the “RECONDO” name or something else that sounds cool and put it on a tab.

    I think they like the blurred lines. Everyone with a tab can tacitly channel the Battle of Mogadishu to civilians and non-Army folks.

  6. ninja says:

    Oh, no..not this again..



    IMHO, in the case of Bryant Messner:

    Messner is NOT Stolen Valor.

    He successfully completed RANGER School in 1977.

    He received the RANGER Tab.

    According to the US Army RANGER Association, Messner is a US Army RANGER:

    There are those who wear the RANGER Tab that believe Messner is RANGER Qualfied, but not a RANGER.

    Then there are others who earnefmd the Tab who believe he is definitely a RANGER.

    Not every Soldier who attended and succesfully completed RANGER School and earned the tab are assigned or have been assigned to the 75th RANGER Regiment.

    Similiar to attending and sucessfully completing the US Army Airborne School or the US Army Air Assault School or Pathfinders, etc.etc.

    One may have completed Airborne School, but may have never served in an Airborne Unit.

    So the question comes up: Are they Airborne qualified or are they Airborne?

    And does it REALLY matter?

    IMHO, one cannot compare Army RANGER training and serving or not serving in a RANGER unit with what the Navy does with SEAL Training and serving in a SEAL unit. The same with what the Marines do.

    IMHO, that is comparing Apples with Oranges. Two different components with two different standards.

    IMHO, I firmly believe and have always believe that if a Soldier has successfully completed RANGER School and earned the Tab, that they can call themselves, self-identify as a US Army RANGER.

    So sad that being RANGER Qualified or being a RANGER (whatever cranks one tractor, i.e. to each his own) has turned into a Political Fodder.

    This has never been an “issue” before.

    Why now?

    I believe that sometimes (as with everything in life) “STOLEN VALOR” has gone overboard, too far, too extreme.

    What is next? Religion Affliates, i.e. Denominations? Is one only a true Christian if one is only a Catholic or a Southern Baptist or a Methodist or a Morman or Assembly of God etc. etc.?

    Or can one self-identify as a Christian even if they don’t physically attend a building designated as a church,but chooses to stay home or attend “services” with 2 or more Christians in their own home? (Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I shall be”…JC)..

    See where I am going with this?

    If someone else believes that one can only self-identify as a RANGER only if they served in a RANGER Regiment, then more power to them. I respect their beliefs.

    The ninja family is sticking to our beliefs on our definition of being a RANGER and frankly, we don’t care if others disagree with us. To each his own. We earned the tab and are proud to wear it.

    Now if someone accuses us of STOLEN VALOR, well, that is a different story….




    • The Grunt says:

      Well said. It’s a matter of semantics as someone posted above. The primary difference is being ASSIGNED to a Battalion or simply graduating the course. You say To MAY to and I say To MAH to.

      • The Grunt says:

        oh and FWIW if it is proven that they are what they claim then it is not a Stolen Valor issue. Again it’s semantics and nothing more.

  7. Poetrooper says:

    Since this has come up in reference to politicians trying to appeal to voters to whom the distinction is meaningless, ol’ Poe says:

    What the hell difference does it make?

    If the politicians were to say, “I’m a Tab Ranger but not a Scroll Ranger,” would that have any bearing on the issue or effect the outcome of the election? It’s a distinction without a difference to the voters: Ranger=Ranger=Ranger.

    For those of us in the military community who do know the distinction, are we really going to be that petty?

    As for that ass-wiping WAPO, ask them if Sen. Blumenthal is a Vietnam veteran…

    • ninja says:


      THANK YOU.

      You took the words out of my mouth (please see my comments above).

      Also, thank you for this comment:

      “What the hell difference does it make?”

      As shared, this has become another Political Fodder. I doubt alot of folks “care” or gives two cents or a mouse’s behind if attending RANGER School makes one a RANGER.

      Petty, Petty, Petty…

      So I guess RINO will have a new meaning, i.e. RANGER IN NAME ONLY?




    • UpNorth says:

      Thank you, Poe. 👍🏼

  8. Jay says:

    I am a Marine. That is enough. I was the pogiest pog that ever poged a pog….but in uniform, you could never tell.

    • Steve 1371 says:

      I had good friends in the office at 8Th engineers back in 69. They helped me get transferred to USNDC Portsmouth N H as a prison guard. That is 90 miles from home! I have a lot of respect for Pogs!

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Jay, I see your pogiest pog and raise you a REMFiest REMF. I never pulled a lanyard in anger, nor did I launch a Baby Nuke. And, overall in the grand scheme of things, that was a good thing. ‘Specially the not launching a Baby Nuke.

        I have tried to model my life after the tenets of the Ranger Creed since I FIRST read about Rogers Rangers as a young lad. Don’t make me a Ranger nor do I claim to be. Imma gonna hang out with ninja’s take myself on this subject. If one went thru all of the training and was certified, bonafied and awarded the TAB but not ever assigned to the unit for whatever reason(s), I’m not gonna question it. Now if that same person starts embellishing what they did that they didn’t do, then we got issues.

        • ninja says:


          With all the discussions about US Army RANGERS and Navy SEALs, have to admit that the Air Force PJs don’t really get the recognition they solely deserve.

          Hard core guys.


  9. Steve 1371 says:

    I have been contributing to John James’s candidacy for many months now. He is far more qualified to serve as a senator than his Schumer lap dog opponent. He is more of a great American than most people on the D side of the senate now. He is also an accomplished business man. I really don’t care if he went just thru school successfully or if he served in a Ranger Battalion. He served in combat as an attack chopper pilot and that is far more than his limp wristed opponent. I am a Vermont resident and I chose John to be my Senator because there is no one in the senate that currently represents me from Vermont. That is what grass roots support is.

  10. John says:

    Ranger School or Ranger Regiment (or company if your old enough), doesn’t matter, still a Ranger. The only people I have run into that seem to give a shit are internal “way of life” versus “just a school” good natured ribbing.

    I only ask myself this one question, did you wear the word Ranger on your shoulder in the form of a tab or a scroll at some point? Good, you are a Ranger. Now, who gives a shit?

    Being a Ranger to me has always been a personal thing, not something to shove in someones face or to prove how bad you are.

    Be the silent professional.

    B Co 3/75
    Class 6-93

    • ninja says:


      Again, this has become a Poitical Fodder.

      There are those who attended and succesfully completed RANGER School and whose one and only assigmnent was the 75th during peacetime (they served 3-4 years and got out).

      Then there are those who earned the Tab, never had the oppirtunity to serve in the 75th, but served in two major conflicts and had 29-30 years of service.

      In the above scenario, who can self-identify as a RANGER?

      IMHO, they BOTH can.

      But then again, who cares or gives a flying you-know-what?


      Bryant Messner and John James are NOT STOLEN VALOR.

      The Dude who ran for Sheriff in Texas who self-identified as a RANGER? Now THAT is STOLEN VALOR.

      Same with Ole Les and Alaska Bob.

  11. Graybeard says:

    Scroll or Tab, they’ve still done more than I have, and have my respect.

    And the folks in the Ranger office at Benning were very kind to one of our young ladies in Venturing, years ago. It meant a lot to her.

  12. Martinjmpr says:

    Agree with Ninja on this.

    My test is how the term is used within the Army itself.

    It is common in the Army to refer to anyone with a Ranger tab as a “Ranger” no matter what unit they serve in, as in “Lt. X is a Ranger while Lt. Y is not.”

    It is also common practice within the Ranger regiment to refer to any soldier assigned to the regiment as a Ranger regardless of the soldier’s MOS (military job) and regardless of whether the soldier in question has completed Ranger school and been awarded the tab.

    The terms are not mutually exclusive.

    So this nit-picking with regard to “who is a REAL Ranger” is on the same level as medieval scholars arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    Or to put it another way, if the WORST thing you can say about your opponent is “He completed Ranger school but never served in a Ranger battalion” then you got nothin’.

    • ninja says:

      Martinjmper NAILED it:

      “So this nit-picking with regard to “who is a REAL Ranger” is on the same level as medieval scholars arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.”

      “5Or to put it another way, if the WORST thing you can say about your opponent is “He completed Ranger school but never served in a Ranger battalion” then you got nothin’.”

      Thank You, Martinjmper.


    • MI Ranger says:

      I would have to disagree with your statements. Officers who make decisions about careers (i.e. Infantry) do not call a Soldier wearing a Tab a Ranger…they call him Ranger qualified. You are however correct from the day you start RIP you are called Ranger, until the day you leave Ranger Regiment. Regardless of whether you get the chance to go to Ranger School to prove your knowledge to the rest of the world.

      As far as someone not currently in the military self describing themselves as a Ranger. I would agree with Ninja and Green Thumb, it is all a matter of the person (because now it can also be a women). And yes, we have many from Vietnam and before who are grandfathered as Rangers because they served in Ranger units (not the Regiment).
      I could care less, because civilians don’t know what we went through, and it matters only if you learned what you should have to be a leader. Whether you passed the school, got medically dropped, or served in the unit. I don’t compare myself to modern Rangers, because I served at a different time. Would I have rather served now, where they are on equal footing with other SOF units, yes, but I had my chance to go back and I don’t regret my 24 years of service. Would it have been longer or shorter if I had gone back, probably but that would be an alternate timeline that I can’t seem to picture. If a Soldier who served honorably wants to call attention to his schools he attended…than I know what kind of Soldier he was, and the kind of things he holds as values.

  13. ninja says:

    And then there are those who never completed RANGER School or served with a RANGER Regiment, but was given the honarary title “Power Point RANGER”…



    • MI Ranger says:

      Why is it only honorary? I have my Power Point Tab right above my Ranger tab on my sleeve (It is a long tab)!

  14. OldManchu says:

    Anyone with a scroll, or the tab, or both took some serious kickin’ in the nuts either way. Or a kick to the cunt. Gotta clarify these days….

  15. NHSparky says:

    In this regard, tabbed or scrolled, that qualifies in my book.

    However, there would be a subtle yet significant distinction in the case of Jimmy Janos, who, while he did attend and graduate from BUD/S and earned the Trident, never served on the Teams.

    Ditto someone who graduated from Nuclear Power School or Submarine School but doesn’t get qualified in the fleet. They no longer get to (if they ever did) get to call themselves a nuke and/or a bubble head.

    Bottom line, shades of gray.

  16. 26Limabeans says:

    Mike Sleeper knows how this all works.
    You out there Mike?

    • Green Thumb says:

      I forgot about that loser.

      He must be taking a nap down at All-Points Logistics as he probably runs their employee daycare.


      Stephen Cio “Ranger” Burrell would be another one. Who needs that shit when you are the 4th Most Dangerous Man in the World.

  17. ninja says:

    What ever happened to the “Round RANGER”?


  18. Slow Joe says:

    Why is this even a discussion?

    Dudes that graduated from Ranger school are Ranger qualified, and dudes that have served with the Ranger Bats are Rangers.

    So real Rangers have scrolls, Ranger school qualifieds have tabs.

    • ninja says:

      Slow Joe:


      What is a “REAL RANGER”?

      Out of curiousity, did you read my comment I posted above?

      “There are those who attended and succesfully completed RANGER School and whose one and only assigmnent was the 75th during peacetime (they served 3-4 years and got out).”

      “Then there are those who earned the Tab, never had the oppirtunity to serve in the 75th, but served in two major conflicts and had 29-30 years of service.”

      “In the above scenario, who can self-identify as a RANGER?”

      Who do you think is the RANGER, Slow Joe, in the scenario I just described?

      Just wondering. As shared, I respect your beliefs.

    • Green Thumb says:

      What is your class date?

  19. Ret_25X says:

    you know who doesn’t care about intramural arguments among rangers? This guy?

    Anyone wearing a tab was seen as a ranger throughout my career.

    Anyone who served in the regiment at any time was seen as a ranger throughout my career, tab or no.

    Anyone who was a 29V and worked strategic comms was seen as the superior form of Signal Soldier and all rangers bowed before them….

    oh…wait…maybe not…LOL

    • SFC D says:

      What is this “strategic comms” of which you speak?

      • Ret_25X says:

        bwahahahahaha….you know…Madison MW Site in ROK, Installation Battalion (504th)…335th TSC (R)…

        actually, Madison and 504th were hard work…being an AC/RC advisor to a reserve unit sucked hairy donkey balls…

        • SFC D says:

          Closest I ever did to strategic comms was building the commercial fiber network at COB Speicher. Had the best platoon of cable dogs ever.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        There was a 26V (strategic) and a 26L (tactical).
        Some of us have been both so yeah there are some
        very admirable Signal guys out there.
        I’m pretty sure the Rangers loved us.

        • Ret_25X says:

          By the time I got med boarded the MOS was 29V and the tactical and strategic sides were merged.

          It then became 31P and then 25V.

          The MOS is nothing like we remember it at this point. No one repairs anything…just rip the LCU out and replace it.

          • 26Limabeans says:

            I loved the job description term “attendant”.
            I did a lot attending. It’s not bad if you have a book
            to read instead of the TM’s and FM’s.

            • Claw says:

              One of the funniest MOS descriptors (at least to me) that I ever came across was that of a 25D – Birdie Repairman.

              My first thought was that of somebody with a roll of duct tape and a hot glue gun and all the Wiredogs bitching about having their Badminton game being held up while the Shuttlecock was being worked on./s

  20. Poetrooper says:

    What is truly amazing about this thread is that a certain “expert” hasn’t weighed in here to tell us that we are all “full of shit” (his descriptive–not mine) then proceed to point out the crucial differences between a Ranger and a Ranger and why WAPO is correct in attacking “dishonest” Republican politicians.

    Or have I just not given him sufficient time? Could still be in bed I suppose–after all, it’s only 2:20 on the left Coast and saving all those lives at the protests does tend to cut down on one’s fart-sack time.


  21. rgr769 says:

    Ranger School was likely the most significant training I received in the four and a half years I spent learning to be a career Army officer. I used things I was taught there as a rifle and weapons platoon leader in the 509th Parachute Infantry Regt., as a rifle company commander in Vietnam, as the commander of a Ranger Company, and as an ODA commander in the 10th Group. After Ranger School, I believed there was no river, mountain, or other obstacle I couldn’t cross. I always knew where I was on a map; I eventually could navigate from the cupola of an APC, in a Jeep, from an aircraft, and, of course, on foot.

    Having the tab means something; but those that put what they learned to practical use means just a much and more. I have met numerous tab wearing officers that never put any of those skills to use after Ranger School, just as I have met SF officers who are incapable of effectively leading an ODA. I had a Group Commander whose first SF assignment was as our new Group Commander. How do I know; he said so on my exit interview when I left the Group. The sumbitch didn’t even know how to properly shape and wear the beret.

    So, in my book, performance counts more that effing badges or tabs.

    • Green Thumb says:

      Opened a lot of doors for me as well.

    • Green Thumb says:

      As a Tabbed E-3, I could patrol.

      Kinda key to being light….

      • rgr769 says:

        Our lowest ranking man in my class was a spec-4 from the V Corps HQ LRP Co., D/17th Inf. Everyone else was E-5 or above.

        • Green Thumb says:

          Only two units, at least in my time, could send E-3s. TOG and Batt.

          That said, it was sterile. No rank. You figured it out after a while who had what rank but the suck made a lot of folks equal.

          • rgr769 says:

            No rank was worn in my time either. But we all pretty much knew the ranks of most everyone in our class. Most of our class were 2LT RA officers and recent grads of NCOC that had orders for the RVN. We did have a Reserve SF major who was a Korean War combat veteran. Some of the E-5 RI’s loved to eff with him.

            • Green Thumb says:


              An old school (to me anyway) Korean war vet going through in 69.



              • rgr769 says:

                In civilian life he was an L.A.P.D. homicide detective. Imagine going to Ranger School at 40 like he did and as a fully qualified SF officer. Initially, he was our student company commander for about three weeks until the RI’s effed with him by trashing his greens with all his bling from his wall locker. He blew up and was replaced. I was one of his student platoon leaders. Being relieved from that position was the best thing that happened to me at Harmony Church; Maj. DeGraw felt the same because then we got to hit the rack at the same time as everyone else instead of two hours later each night, after our meetings.

                • Green Thumb says:

                  The only place where one loves getting fired.

                  People laugh at that, but its true.

                  You: “I just got fired!”

                  Then: “Damn, that sucks”.

                  You: “Hell NO! Being in charge fucking sucks!”

    • penguinman000 says:

      I spent some time volunteering providing mentoring for transitioning vets (Veterati, check ’em out). What you said here is almost verbatim what I tell ’em about school in general. Schools/degrees are great. But what you do/have done with the knowledge after is way more important.

  22. Green Thumb says:

    Oh, yeah.

    Whats up with homeboy’s hair?

    When I went through, clean shave.


  23. stoutguy says:

    But on the Democratic side there are politicians that consider themselves Vietnan Veterans instead of Vietnam-Era veterans since they never served in country. But WaPo would never write an account about that and make scene as they did about this incident. In 10 years will we be arguing about claims of combat veterans based on getting a CIB vs a CAB? Civilian writers making waves on something they don’t understand.

  24. Hate_me says:

    Who cares? Why is everyone so focused on what color hat someone wears? What happened to simply wearing a soft cap and being good at shit?

    I’ve neither a tab nor a scroll (though I’d jump at the chance for either), so I’ve no dog in this fight, but… I used to feel that scroll = Ranger and tab = Ranger-qualified, but the more I’ve thought on it, the more I’ve realized this is a petty distinction that only undermines the guys that rightly care more about the title than the job. If the Regiment doesn’t want to share a title with the school (didn’t the school come first?), then they might consider a different name. RECONDO deserves to be reborn.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Pass the school and serve in a Ranger unit– no argument. Or, as Mat Best depicted:

  26. Rob says:

    Graduated Ranger school, never spent time in a “Batt” = Ranger qualified. Same with Airborne wings w/o having been in an actual Airborne unit. (I’m both). That’s the way I see it anyway

  27. Harry says:

    When I was a kid I had a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine – does that count?

  28. Combat Historian says:

    This is a WaPo political hit because the two candidates are Republicans. If the two candidates are proggy demonrats, would this issue even remotely be on WaPo’s give-a-shit-o-meter?

    I refuse to play WaPo’s partisan games; not going to…

    I was happy and proud to enlist in the combat arms as an 11 Charlie mortar maggot when I was seventeen, despite my recruiter trying to get me to go MI or AVN because of my ASVAB scores. But a man’s got to know his limitations, and I knew my limitation was to stay as a straight leg mortarman. I knew when to stay in my lane…

    • RGR 4-78 says:

      If the candidates had been democrat’s, WaPo would not have said shit, even if they had a mouthful.

  29. LTC F says:

    I don’t have a dog in the fight, back in 1989 I figured if God wanted tankers to be Rangers the Ranger School would have been at Ft Knox and they’d let you bring a tank.

    I did spend 4 years in the 82d Airborne. If a dude was wearing a Ranger Tab, everyone said he was a Ranger.

  30. Mustang Major says:

    Warning- Slightly off-topic!

    I served in the infantry. Given that, I have a theory: If ranger school completion didn’t award a tab or other device, many people wouldn’t attend.

    I vote for a ranger as someone that served in a ranger unit. Tab or no tab.

    • Fm2176 says:

      I can’t disagree with you. The “tab check” is thing and as with the various badges, a lot of Soldiers (especially use Infantry types) want to “collect them all”. We want that special look, bedecked with tabs and badges showing how high-speed we are. I mentioned the guy I knew who spent only a few months in a Ranger Battalion, serving in Afghanistan but freezing up in his only firefight. That doesn’t matter now since he got his combat Scroll and later completed the school. Without knowing his history he looks the part of the super-hooah Ranger. I had a Ranger and Special Forces qualified platoon sergeant once, who had actually served in Ranger Battalion and was a prior service Marine (albeit non-combat arms). He would joke about walking into the CSM’s office with his left shoulder forward. He was also one of the worst PSGs I’ve had, as he had little leadership time and no conventional Infantry time.

      A lot of guys (and now some gals) go to Ranger School for the tab. The respect and even lenience received is worth the few months taken to complete it. Even more go to the much less strenuous courses such as Airborne, Air Assault, or Pathfinder, because they give some level of prestige, even for those who never plan to use the skills. Two badges that aren’t as in demand are Recruiter (because it hampers our career in many cases) and Drill Sergeant (because, like Recruiter, we have to actually commit to using the skills gained in the schools).

      A slightly more extreme example of those motivated only by what they get to show off in uniform is that of Infantrymen who refuse to test for the EIB because they have their CIB. I’ve known a few.

      • Green Thumb says:

        To your last part about the EIB and CIB.


        But I heard that the EIB is starting to make a comeback, if you will, as dudes are now completing a four year hitch with no deployment.

  31. Slick Goodlin says:

    My take on this –
    Substitute Ranger for Christian

  32. Topski says:

    Ok dumb ass question; Does a soldier that is “tabbed” go through RASP prior to assignment to the regiment? Back in the day there was no RASP or RIP so attendance of ranger school happened after assignment, when your CoC felt you were ready (at least for enlisted).

    • RGR 4-78 says:

      RASP 1, E5 and below.
      Rasp 2, E5 and above.
      IIRC, I believe it is on their website.

      I predate RIP (now RASP) by about 6 months.

  33. OldManchu says:

    More important than any of this, scroll, tab, etc…….

  34. Mikhail Koulikov says:

    We see this in the civilian world all the time.

    Are all law school graduates lawyers – no.
    There is a whole big thing for – I went to law school, I got a law degree, now I am doing something else.

    What else do you need to do to become a lawyer (a licensed attorney) – a lot of different things.
    Do people claim to be lawyers when they are not – all the time
    Do people get busted for this – all the time.

    (as an aside – are all lawyers law school graduates – in a couple of states, it’s still possible to become an attorney without actually going to law school)

    • rgr769 says:

      Then you also have lawyers who graduated from law school, were admitted to the bar, were suspended, but practiced while suspended and were finally disbarred. We had one of those featured on this site for years— our dearly departed “Lawn Dart” Danny Bernath.

    • Green Thumb says:

      Good point.