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Ranger Leadership

Photo by SGT Brian Kohl

Photo by SGT Brian Kohl

“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent or dormant can be developed. Other ingredients can be acquired. They are not easily learned. But leaders can be, and are, made.”

General C. B. Cates, 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps


Leadership, the most essential element of combat power, gives purpose, direction, and motivation to succeed in critical (and competitive) events. The leader balances and maximizes maneuver, firepower, and protection against the enemy. The US Army Rangers describe the principals of leadership in terms of “Be, Know, Do” when defining the duties, responsibilities, and actions of an effective leader and the leader’s command.


  • Be: Technically and tactically proficient.
  • Be: Able to accomplish to standard all tasks required for the wartime mission.
  • Be: Courageous, committed, and candid.
  • Be: A leader with integrity.
  • Know: The four major factors of leadership and how they affect each other (the led, the leader, the situation, and the communication by and between each.
  • Know: Yourself, and the strengths and weaknesses in your character, knowledge, and skills. Seek continual self-improvement, that is, develop your strengths and work to overcome your weaknesses.
  • Know: The men and women you are responsible for, and look out for their well-being by training them for the rigors of combat, taking care of their physical and safety needs, and disciplining and rewarding them.
  • Do: Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions; exercise initiative; demonstrate resourcefulness; and take advantage of opportunities on the battlefield that will lead to you to victory; accept fair criticism, and take corrective actions for your mistakes.
  • Do: Assess situations rapidly, make sound and timely decisions, gather essential information, announce decisions in time for Rangers to react, and consider the short- and long-term effects of your decision.
  • Do: Set the example by serving as a role model for your Rangers. Set high but attainable standards; be willing do what you require of your Rangers; and share dangers and hardships with them.
  • Do: Keep your subordinates informed to help them make decisions and execute plans within your intent, encourage initiative, improve teamwork, and enhance morale.
  • Do: Develop a sense of responsibility in subordinates by teaching, challenging, and developing them. Delegate to show you trust them. This makes them want more responsibility.
  • Do: Ensure the Rangers understand the task; supervise them, and ensure they accomplish it. Rangers need to know what you expect, when and what you want them to do, and to what standard.
  • Do: Build the team by training and cross-training your Rangers until they are confident in their technical and tactical abilities. Develop a team spirit that motivates them to go willingly and confidently into combat.
  • Do: Know your unit’s capabilities and limitations, and employ them accordingly.

Information contained on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. Please refer to our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before attempting any technique described herein.

Lead The Way

Photo by SGT Brian Kohl

Photo by SGT Brian Kohl

“Let the enemy come till he’s almost close enough to touch.
Then let him have it and jump out and finish him with your hatchet.”
Major Robert Rogers, 1759


Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite Soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster, and fight harder than any other Soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well trained Soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.

(Major Robert Rogers, 1759)

1. Don’t forget nothing.

2. Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute’s warning.

3. When you’re on the march, act the way you would if you was sneaking up on a deer. See the enemy first.

4. Tell the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don’t never lie to a Ranger or officer.

5. Don’t never take a chance you don’t have to.

6. When we’re on the march we march single file, far enough apart so one shot can’t go through two men.

7. If we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast, so it’s hard to track us.

8. When we march, we keep moving till dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.

9. When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.

10. If we take prisoners, we keep’ em separate till we have had time to examine them, so they can’t cook up a story between’ em.

11. Don’t ever march home the same way. Take a different route so you won’t be ambushed.

12. No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to keep a scout 20 yards ahead, 20 yards on each flank, and 20 yards in the rear so the main body can’t be surprised and wiped out.

13. Every night you’ll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.

14. Don’t sit down to eat without posting sentries.

15. Don’t sleep beyond dawn. Dawn’s when the French and Indians attack.

16. Don’t cross a river by a regular ford.

17. If somebody’s trailing you, make a circle, come back onto your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.

18. Don’t stand up when the enemy’s coming against you. Kneel down, lie down, hide behind a tree.

19. Let the enemy come till he’s almost close enough to touch, then let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.

Information contained on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. Please refer to our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before attempting any technique described herein.

Rural Evasion

Photo by SSgt Ryan Crane

Photo by SSgt Ryan Crane

Introduction to Rural Evasion

There are major distinctions between operating in permissive and non-permissive environments prior to discovery and the threat of apprehension, and evasion. “Operating” presupposes only the threat of discovery by bad guys, and thus the limited choices to preserve the nature of covert or clandestine activities. You prevent discovery by properly operating in a tactical environment.

Evasion is the act of actively preventing being captured or killed after discovery, or at least after some evidence of your presence is discovered (i.e., evading enemy troops after your aircraft has been shot down). The Unibomber was operating from his cabin in Montana prior to capture prior to any possible evasion attempt. Christopher Dorner was operating until his vehicle was discovered in the Big Bear mountains, after which he was evading in a rural environment. Eric Frein was evading for all of the 48 days he was presumably on the run from nearly 1,500 highly trained law enforcement officers, aircraft, and tracking professionals. Eric Rudolph was a hybrid, essentially evading for the nearly five years he was on top of the FBI most wanted list but clearly having opportunities to operate.


The definition of evasion is “The act of evading or escaping…by trickery, cunning, deception, or illegal means.” Evasion is very hard physically, mentally, and emotionally as the stakes are obviously high: death, interrogation, torture, lengthy imprisonment, etc. at the hand of a hostile force if captured. The “Survival” matrix applies:

Size up the situation, surroundings, physical condition, and equipment.
Use all of your senses.
Remember where you are.
Vanquish fear and panic.
Improvise and improve.
Value living.
Act like the natives.
Live by your wits.

Immediate Actions

  • Assess immediate situation. Think before you act.
  • Security: Take immediate action to protect yourself from conventional, nuclear, biological, or chemical threats.
  • Seek a concealed site.
  • Assess medical condition; treat life-threatening trauma immediately as necessary, other injuries when possible.
  • Sanitize clothing and equipment of potentially compromising information.
  • Sanitize area; hide equipment you are leaving.
  • Apply personal camouflage.
  • Move away from concealed site, a zigzag or random pattern is recommended.
  • Use terrain to advantage, communication, and concealment.
  • Find a hide site (may be improvised or a predetermined cache).

Hide Site

  • Reassess situation; treat injuries, inventory equipment.
  • Review plan of action; establish priorities
  • Determine current location (if hasty or improvised).
  • Improve camouflage.
  • Focus thoughts on task(s) at hand.
  • Execute plan of action but stay flexible


Select a place of concealment providing adequate concealment, from both ground and air search elements, and is a safe distance from enemy positions and lines of communications (LOC).

  • Establish listening and observation posts.
  • Ensure multiple avenues of escape. Booby-trap is possible.
  • Ensure protection from the environment (shelter).
  • Determine possible communications/signaling opportunities/protocols (for friendly recovery operations).
  • Stay alert, maintain security.
  • Drink water.


  • Travel slowly and deliberately.
  • Do not leave evidence of travel; use noise and light discipline.
  • Stay away from LOC’s.
  • Stop, look, listen, and smell; take appropriate action(s).
  • Move from one concealed area to another.
  • Use evasion movement techniques

Communications and Signaling

  • Communicate as directed in applicable plans/orders, particularly when considering transmitting in the blind.
  • Be prepared to use communications and signaling devices on short notice.
  • Use of communications and signaling devices may compromise position. Be prepared to move.


  • Select site(s) in accordance with predetermined recovery plans.
  • Ensure site is free of hazards; secure personal gear.
  • Select best area for communications and signaling devices.
  • Observe site for proximity to enemy activity and LOC.
  • Follow recovery force instructions.

Planning. Guidelines for successful evasion include:

  • Keeping a positive attitude.
  • Using established procedures.
  • Following your evasion plan of action.
  • Being patient.
  • Drinking water (do not eat food without water).
  • Conserving strength for critical periods.
  • Resting and sleeping as much as possible.
  • Staying out of sight.

The following odors stand out and may give an evader away:

  • Scented soaps and shampoos.
  • Shaving cream, after-shave lotion, or other cosmetics.
  • Insect repellent (camouflage stick is least scented).
  • Gum and candy (smell is strong or sweet).
  • Tobacco (odor is unmistakable).


  • Disturb any area you occupy as little as possible.
  • Avoid activity that reveals movement to the enemy.

Apply personal camouflage using local vegetation as a model:

  • Blotch pattern. Temperate deciduous (leaf shedding) areas.
  • Desert areas (barren).
  • Snow (barren).
  • Slash pattern. Coniferous areas (broad slashes).
  • Jungle areas (broad slashes).
  • Grass (narrow slashes).
  • Combination. May use blotched and slash together.

Personal camouflage application:

  • Face. Use dark colors on high spots and light colors on any remaining exposed areas. Use a hat, netting, or mask if available.
  • Ears. The insides and the backs should have two colors to break up outlines.
  • Head, neck, hands, and the under chin. Use scarf, collar, vegetation, netting, or coloration methods.
  • Light colored hair. Give special attention to conceal with a scarf or mosquito head net.

Position and movement camouflage:

  • Avoid unnecessary movement.
  • Take advantage of natural concealment.
  • Cut foliage fades and wilts, change regularly.
  • Change camouflage depending on the surroundings.
  • Do not select vegetation from same source.
  • Use stains from grasses, berries, dirt, and charcoal.
  • Do not over-camouflage.
  • Remember when using shadows, they shift with the sun.
  • Never expose shiny objects (like a watch, glasses, or pens).
  • Ensure watch alarms and hourly chimes are turned off.
  • Remove unit patches, name tags, rank insignia, etc.
  • Break up the outline of body  “V’s” of the crotch/armpits/etc.
  • Conduct observation from a prone and concealed position.


Use camouflage and concealment; Locate carefully. Remember BLISS:

Low silhouette
Irregular shape
Secluded location

Choose an area least likely to be searched (inaccessible drainage, rough terrain, etc.) that blends with the environment. Determine multiple escape routes (do not corner yourself). With observable approaches and work a range card for available weapons. Also:

  • Locate entrances and exits in brush and along ridges, ditches, and rocks to keep from forming paths to site.
  • Be wary of flash floods in ravines and canyons.
  • Conceal with minimal to no preparation.
  • Take the direction finding threat into account before transmitting from shelter.
  • Ensure overhead concealment.
  • Booby-trap is possible.


  • Moving objects are the easiest to spot.
  • Use the military crest and avoid silhouetting.


  • Restrict to periods of low light, bad weather, wind, or reduced enemy activity.
  • At irregular intervals Stop at a point of concealment and Look for signs of human or animal activity (smoke, tracks, roads, troops, vehicles, aircraft, wire, buildings, etc.).
  • Watch for trip wires or booby traps and avoid leaving evidence of travel.
  • Peripheral vision is more effective for recognizing movement at night and twilight.
  • Listen for vehicles, troops, aircraft, weapons, animals, etc.
  • Smell for vehicles, troops, animals, fires, etc.
  • Employ noise discipline; check clothing and equipment for items that could make noise during movement and secure them.
  • Break up the human shape or recognizable lines.
  • Route selection requires detailed planning and special techniques (irregular route/zigzag) to camouflage evidence of travel.

Concealing evidence of travel:

  • Avoid disturbing the vegetation above knee level.
  • Do not break branches, leaves, or grass.
  • Use a walking stick to part vegetation and push it back to its original position.
  • Do not grab small trees or brush. (This may scuff the bark or create movement that is easily spotted. In snow country, this creates a path of snowless vegetation revealing your route.)
  • Pick firm footing (carefully place the foot lightly but squarely on the surface to avoid  slipping).
  • Do not overturn ground cover, rocks, and sticks.
  • Do not scuff bark on logs and sticks.
  • Do not make noise by breaking sticks. (Cloth wrapped around feet helps muffle this.)
  • Do not mangle grass and bushes that normally spring back.
  • Mask unavoidable tracks in soft footing by pacing tracks in the shadows of vegetation, downed logs, and snowdrifts. It mat also help if you move before and during precipitation to allow tracks to fill in.
  • Travel during windy periods.
  • Taking advantage of solid surfaces (logs, rocks, etc.) leaving less evidence of travel.
  • Patting out tracks lightly to speed their breakdown or make them look old.
  • Secure trash or loose equipment and hide or bury discarded items (trash or lost equipment identifies who lost it.).
  • Concentrate on defeating the handler if pursued by dogs.

Penetrating and overcoming obstacles:

  • Enter deep ditches feet first to avoid injury.
  • Go around chain-link and wire fences. Go under fence if unavoidable, crossing at damaged areas. Do not touch fence without looking for electrical insulators or security devices.
  • Penetrate rail fences or low walls by passing under or between lower rails/openings. If impractical, go over the top, presenting as low a silhouette as possible.

Stay Low When Crossing Barriers

  • Cross roads after observation from concealment to determine enemy activity. Cross at points offering concealment such as bushes, shadows, bend in road, etc. Cross in a manner leaving your footprints parallel (cross step sideways) to the road.

Navigating Open Areas

  • Use same method of observation for railroad tracks that was used for roads. Next, align body parallel to tracks with face down, cross tracks using a semi-pushup motion. Repeat for the second track. A third track may mean one of the tracks are electrified.

Crossing Linear Obstacles

Information contained on this website is for general information and educational purposes only. Please refer to our Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions before attempting any technique described herein.