Carl-Gustaf gun crew during a firing exercise Carl-Gustaf gun crew during a firing exercise


tactical unit members

The Ranger platoon is made up of Soldiers with various roles and abilities, and they all work together for the success of the mission. Learn about each of those roles below.


The typical Ranger platoon is made up of about 30 Soldiers, and includes rifle squads, mortar elements, anti-tank elements, machine gun squads and sniper teams. These platoons are designed to quickly and efficiently complete missions that call for heavy firepower and precision. 

Platoon Leader

The platoon leader is responsible for planning patrol routes, assigning tasks, and positioning and employing the Soldiers under his command. The platoon leader and the platoon sergeant, along with the radiotelephone operator, make up the headquarters section of the platoon.

Platoon Sergeant

The platoon sergeant is the second in command of the platoon. He assists and advises the platoon leader, handles requests from squad leaders for ammunition, food and water and he is responsible for overseeing administrative tasks, training, logistics and maintenance.

Squad Leader

Platoons are made up of 7-9 man squads with various functionalities. The typical squad is then divided into two equal fire teams of about four men each. Types of squads range from the machine gun squad, mortar squad and rifle squad. You can learn more about the specific types of squads and what they do in the next section.
The squad leader is the tactical center of the team, and he is responsible for carrying out the mission. He is also responsible for reporting up the chain of command, overseeing the maintenance of his squad’s weapons and equipment, and tactically deploying his squad during missions and patrols.

Weapons Squad Leader

A weapons squad, as opposed to a typical rifle squad, is responsible for deploying the unit’s machine guns. The weapons squad leader carries the same basic duties as the squad leader.

Team Leader

Squads are made up of 4-5 man teams, which are the smallest organizational unit in a typical platoon.  The team leader controls the movement of his fire team, along with the rate and placement of fire. He leads from the front and uses the proper commands and signals. The team leader is responsible for accountability, and keeps track of weapons and equipment. 

Army Ranger Army Ranger


The Rangers iconic motto “Rangers, Lead the Way!” was coined during the allied invasion of Normandy. During the landings, several units were pinned down in the Dog White sector of Omaha Beach when General Norman Cota approached and demanded a group of soldiers to identify their unit.
”Fifth Rangers,” a soldier yelled.
After some expletives, Cota replied, “Rangers! Lead the way!” 



The platoon’s lead medic is responsible for directing the unit’s aid and litter teams, which are responsible for first-aid and evacuation of casualties. The medic is also responsible for the general health and hygiene of the platoon. 

Radio Operator

The radio operator is responsible for maintaining communications with company headquarters and within the patrol.

Forward Observer (FO)

The forward observer is the eyes and ears of the platoon. He is responsible for locating targets and calling for adjusting indirect fire support. He knows and understands the operational terrain, the tactical situation and the unit’s scheme of maneuver and priority fires.

Additional Information About U.S. Army Rangers