There are two kinds of Army Rangers: Those who are serving in one of the battalions of the 75th Ranger Regiment, which consist of three infantry battalions and one training battalion; and those who are serving elsewhere in the Army, but who have graduated from the challenging U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia -- considered one of the premier small-unit military leadership schools in the world.
About the Ranger Battalions
The three Ranger maneuver battalions are highly trained units that specialize in complicated or difficult small-unit missions. The soldiers in these units are selected from the most promising soldiers in the Army, and frequently serve much of their careers in the regiment. In war, their mission is to conduct reconnaissance for larger units, seize key objectives, such as airfields, in advance of the main force, and to conduct special missions such as raids on high value targets. They have seen service on America's battlefields in every war since World War II.
All members of the military receive a base salary, which in turn is based on their rank and number of years in service. Few soldiers go directly to the Ranger battalions out of basic training. A specialist with over two years of service in the Army earns a base pay of $2,014 per month. A sergeant with six years of service earns $2,620. A first lieutenant -- the second rank on the officer pay scale -- with two years of service and no prior enlisted experience, earns $3,653 per month in base pay as of 2011. All are paid twice per month, on or about the 1st or the 15th of the month.
The Ranger battalions are airborne units. That means the unit is designed and trained to be deployable via parachute assault. The Army pays soldiers extra for remaining in "jump status" and to make at least one parachute jump per quarter while in training. As of 2011, the special pay for jump status was $150 per month.
Ranger battalions are frequently deployed overseas in combat operations. While overseas, Army Rangers -- whether they are assigned to the Ranger Regiment or elsewhere in the Army, qualify for hostile fire pay of $225 per month, tax free. Like all other soldiers, they can also qualify for a tax free housing allowance that varies with rank, marital status and duty station. Where applicable, they qualify for family separation pay and hardship duty pay. Occasionally, they receive re-enlistment bonuses depending on the needs of the Army. Income earned in a combat zone is generally tax free for enlisted soldiers. A portion of officer pay earned in a combat zone is also tax free. And all Army Rangers receive subsidized health care coverage for themselves and their family members through the TRICARE system.