Service as an army ranger is generally well-documented. However, civilians may experience difficulty when trying to determine whether a person has served as an army ranger. In most cases, the army will not release service records to a third party unless the service member is deceased and the third party is listed as next-of-kin; the service member has been deceased for several years and reasonable cause is shown; or a court order to release such documents has been received and approved.
Deceased Service Members: Unrelated Persons
Download Form SF-180 from the National Archives website.
Complete Form SF-180 by including any information you have regarding the service member's army unit, the time frame during which he served and all other identifying information.
Follow the instructions on page three of SF-180 to determine where to send the completed form.
Deceased Service Members: Next-of-Kin
Download and complete Form SF-180 or visit the National Archives' EVetRecs website to complete an online request form.
Print the EVetRecs form when it is complete.
Attach the deceased veteran's death certificate (if necessary) to the EVetRecs form and mail them to the location serving your area as noted on the form.
Living Service Members and Veterans
Request a copy of the service member's Enlisted Record Brief (ERB) from the service member. The ERB is a standard document detailing a service member's military service record, including current and prior duty appointments such as army ranger status. If the service member is or was an army ranger, the SQI (Special Qualification Identifier) block will contain a letter "G" (army ranger) or a letter "V" (airborne ranger).
Ask the former service member for a copy of his Department of Defense (DD) form 214. The DD 214 is a service member's "Report of Separation" and will include documentation of army ranger status in block 13 or block 18. Additionally, attendance and graduation from the Army's Ranger Course will appear in block 14.
Engage the potential army ranger in conversation and ask questions like, "Where did you train?" "What unit were you in?" and "Where were you stationed?" Request photographs of the potential army ranger in uniform or with his fellow rangers. Verify whether his answers are feasible. For example, ranger training takes place at Fort Benning, Georgia. If the potential army ranger claims to have conducted ranger training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, that may indicate he is not an army ranger.
Rangers, upon passing the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP), are given to the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Rangers are awarded a Ranger Tab upon completion of RIP, which can be worn on their left shoulder even after they have left the Ranger Regiment. If an army ranger has been in combat with his ranger unit, he is authorized to wear his Ranger Unit Patch on his right shoulder.
- American Flag image by dwight9592 from Fotolia.com