I've spent a bit of time around Rangers. I married one, my sister married one, my sister's father-in-law was an Army Ranger for over 20 years, and some of my best friends are married to Rangers, and consequently that makes some of my best friends...well Rangers.
Growing up the daughter of a Navy Rio (Goose from TopGun), I have spent my entire life surrounded by high caliber officers. As a child I could tell you what jet was flying overhead simply by the sound, as an adult I have lost that keen hearing.
However, as an adult I can now with uncanny accuracy spot an United States Army Ranger. Whether they're wearing the tan beret and their scrolls or not.
Obviously all Rangers are Brave, Dedicated, killing machines but it's hard to truly pinpoint those aspects of their personality from one conversation.
Here's how to Spot a United States Army Ranger in One Conversation:
1) Quality Intelligence. Not solely or distinctly defined in the manner that they can do complex mathematical equations in their head (while I know a few who can), but simply put; their IQ is well above the national average.
Example: When I first entered into the world of Army Rangers as a girlfriend, then fiancé, and then new wife I had the pleasure of going to a number of events, dining outs, and picnics at the Battalion XO's house. The Battalion XO at the time was incredibly intelligent and savvy in the art of leadership, and conversation. At each event he not only remembered my name, what I did for a living, but also recalled my relationship status with his soldier- which changed from girlfriend, to fiancé, to wife during his time as XO. That not only shows how intelligent he is, but further that he has what it takes to be an excellent leader -understanding the importance to a new girlfriend, fiancé, and wife of not only knowing her husband's leadership, but trusting and liking them as well.
2) Humor. Seriously. While this hasn't been so keenly developed in lets say the specialist and Privates of Ranger Regiment, they're a work in progress, there is an undeniable distinction in what Rangers find humorous and what the rest of the world does.
Example: Using the noun "crazy" in excess. Both my brother-in-law and my husband have this tic. It would have bothered me but it is almost an endearing term. My brother-in-law frequently asks his children "What are you talking about 'crazy'?" When they are being silly. I'm not sure which Ranger coined it - but whoever you are all the wives I know want to ask you something: WTF, dude?
3) Physically Fit: My husband once ran a marathon on a whim. A marathon. That's 26.2 miles....On.A.Whim. There are really fast Rangers, really strong Rangers, and really fast and really strong Rangers. You know what does not exist? Fat Rangers. (unless they're retired - in which case their fat is the typical American's "fit"...and good on'em - bet they have a beard too).
From support to infantry ALL RANGERS must meet the same qualifications serve as a Ranger: Pass RASP. This means they are ALL a minimum standard of physical fitness that is more rigid and difficult than that of the regular Army PT.
Also they regularly have leaders like the XO I mentioned from point 1 who have them ruck 15 miles in the summer with weighted rucks while wearing gas masks.
4) Humble. Or at least good at acting humble. In a recent interview with the Ledger-Inquirer Sgt. Major Colin Boley gives an excellent example of both the humility that is standard issue to successful Rangers, and the humor mentioned from point number two. Watch the Video - Click here
I have two favorite quotes from this interview:
1- "[There is] Nothing an American Soldier can't do"
2- "Everyday in Ranger Regiment you're training for war", "Everyday in Ranger Regiment you're hoping for war"
5) They are aware. Not simply of you, but also of their surroundings. You can tell by watching their eyes, their body language, and when they pause in conversation or (rarely) actively look around. They're not distracted, they're paying attention to your conversation, but they are also constantly assessing their surroundings - it is something in the training).
I may be biased being a proud Ranger Wife - But SGM Boley hit the nail on the head in his interview. There is nothing a Ranger can't do. I am consistently amazed by my husband and the things he can accomplish when he sets his sights on success. Part of it is his personality, the other part is the training and experience he received as a Ranger; the lessons he learned from Ranger School, and his experiences while serving in 1st and RSTB.
While the top 5 ways to spot a Ranger in a single conversation are pretty accurate, the best way to spot a Ranger over time is to watch for excellence. Whether they are still serving in Ranger Regiment, at the needs of the Army elsewhere, or working in the civilian world - Rangers bring excellence to everything they do.