Graduating from the U.S. Army’s grueling Ranger School is a major achievement that all aspiring Army Rangers aim for. If you’re looking to find the rosters of previous Ranger School classes, you’ve come to the right place.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The key resources for finding Army Ranger School class rosters are the U.S. Army Freedom of Information Act office, ancestry/genealogy websites, and unofficial websites run by Ranger graduates.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share where you can find listings of Ranger School graduates going back decades. Read on to learn about the different resources available and how to access Army Ranger class rosters.
Submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request
What Is FOIA?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that grants the public access to information controlled by federal government agencies. FOIA allows any person to request copies of federal records on any topic, with some exemptions for sensitive information.
When an agency receives a valid FOIA request, it is required to disclose any relevant records it controls, unless they fall under one of the exemptions.
FOIA is an important tool for accessing government information. Journalists, researchers, and ordinary citizens can use FOIA to uncover details about government operations, policies, activities, and decisions.
How to Submit a FOIA Request for Ranger Class Rosters
Here are the key steps for submitting a FOIA request for Army Ranger School class rosters:
- Determine the correct agency to send the request to. For Ranger School rosters, this would be the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).
- Write a formal letter requesting the Ranger class rosters for specific classes. Identify the records as clearly and specifically as possible.
- Include your contact information and request that any fees be waived because the disclosure is in the public interest. FOIA allows agencies to charge reasonable fees for record searches and copies.
- Send the letter to the FOIA office of the appropriate agency. For TRADOC, the address is: FOIA Requester Service Center, TRADOC, 950 Jefferson Avenue, Fort Eustis, VA 23604-5166.
- Wait for a response acknowledging your request. The agency has 20 business days to make a determination.
- If some or all of the request is denied, you can appeal the decision to the agency head and ultimately the courts if necessary.
Tips for an Effective FOIA Request
- Be as specific as possible in describing the records you want.
- Check if requested records are already publicly available before filing a request.
- Ask the FOIA office for assistance in narrowing or refining your request if needed.
- Be prepared to wait several months for processing of complex requests.
- Keep track of all correspondence and document deadlines in case an appeal is necessary.
- Maintain politeness and patience throughout the FOIA process.
While waiting for a FOIA request, check government websites, catalogs, and databases for publicly available information as an alternative avenue.
With persistence and preparation, FOIA can be an effective tool for accessing Ranger class rosters and other government records in the public interest.
Searching Ancestry and Genealogy Websites
Overview of Relevant Websites
There are several great genealogy websites that can aid in searching for Army Ranger School class rosters and ancestors who served in the military. Top sites like Ancestry.com, Fold3, and FamilySearch contain extensive records including military yearbooks, draft cards, enlistment records, muster rolls, and personnel records that may list servicemen and details about their units and training.
Using Available Search Tools and Filters
These genealogy sites have search engines and filters to narrow down your results. You can search by name, date, location, military branch, and other keywords. Using the filters for “Military” and “Army” can help zero in on relevant documents.
Fold3 has a specific filter for “Rangers” to surface Ranger training records. Building out the profile of an ancestor with details like service dates and locations can surface more precise matches.
Accessing and Downloading Results
Once you locate a relevant record like a Ranger School roster, most sites allow you to view the original scanned image. You can often download and save copies. Ancestry and Fold3 offer paid subscriptions for full access to their records. FamilySearch offers free access to much of its content.
Having a subscription, using creative keywords, and cross-checking across these resources are best practices for finding records on Army Ranger class rosters and WWII era ancestors who served.
Checking Unofficial Ranger Resources
Ranger School Websites Run by Graduates
One great way to find Ranger School class rosters is by checking websites run by Ranger School graduates. Many graduates maintain sites dedicated to the Ranger School experience and will often post rosters from their classes.
These sites can be found through search engines or by asking around in Ranger veteran online groups.
For example, RLTW.org has an archive section with rosters listed by year from 1996 onwards. The popular ProfessionalRanger.com site also hosts some class rosters submitted by graduates. By searching around these sites, you may be able to find the roster for your desired class.
Social Media Groups for Ranger Vets
Another option is leveraging social media groups dedicated to Ranger School graduates. On Facebook, groups like “Ranger School Graduates” and “RLTW” have thousands of members who are happy to help fellow Rangers.
You can simply post the class date you are looking for and often someone will have a copy they can share.
Sites like LinkedIn also have large Ranger veteran groups where you may have luck finding someone from your desired class. Don’t forget to also check closed and private groups which may have rosters archived.
With thousands of Ranger grads on social media, there is a good chance someone has the roster you need.
Leveraging Ranger Contacts and Networks
Finally, don’t forget to check within your own network of Ranger contacts, especially if you have graduated yourself. Reach out to classmates and see if anyone has a copy of the roster you need. Fellow Ranger grads are usually happy to share rosters and help others connect.
You can also try contacting the Ranger Training Brigade or RTB Association to see if they have an archive of class rosters they can share. If you are looking for a recent class, they may be able to help track down a copy of the roster.
With some perseverance checking these resources, you should be able to eventually track down the Ranger School class roster you are looking for. The Ranger community is tight-knit so take advantage of all the ways to connect with fellow grads online or through your personal contacts.
Other Potential Sources for Ranger Rosters
Many libraries, especially those located near military bases, maintain extensive archives of historical documents related to military training and operations. These archives can be a treasure trove for finding old Ranger School rosters and class photos.
Many libraries have searchable online catalogs, so aspiring Ranger students can look for keywords like “Ranger School”, “Ranger Training”, and specific base names. The largest collections are often found at the Army’s own libraries like the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA. With some digging, library archives may turn up long-forgotten rosters and rare photos from the early days of Ranger School.
Groups like the 75th Ranger Regiment Association and Ranger Association Foundation have active alumni networks of former Rangers. These groups frequently compile member rosters and may have records of graduates over the years.
Getting in touch with the association’s historian or archivist is a good starting point. They may be willing to look up fellow alums from specific class dates or regiments. However, privacy concerns may limit access to certain rosters.
Still, these groups have a strong camaraderie and often enjoy assisting with research on Ranger history and graduates.
Former Ranger Instructors
Picking the brain of a former Ranger instructor can provide unique insights into the history of the classes they oversaw. Long-time instructors often have impressive memories and stories to share about specific cycles they taught.
They may still have copies of old class photos and rosters as mementos. However, instructors are bound by operations security rules regarding the disclosure of certain information that could compromise Ranger School.
Respectfully asking an instructor about their experiences and if they have any authorized information they can share is often the best approach. Their first-hand knowledge helps bring Ranger School history to life.
Finding Army Ranger School class rosters can take some digging, but with the right approach and resources, the listings of Ranger graduates from years past can be accessible. Start with FOIA requests, ancestry records, and Ranger-run websites, but also leverage personal networks and archived materials.
With a systematic search, those who have completed the Ranger course can be identified to honor their exceptional achievement.