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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-18-2005, 01:38
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Composition of a Ranger Chalk???

I would like to make a Ranger team and would like to know what makes up a chalk.I am pretty sure of a SAW gunner,a 240 gunner,RTO and a grenadier,but who else and how many men are in a chalk?
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Last edited by A squared-R-O-N; 08-18-2005 at 08:23.
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Old 08-18-2005, 11:18
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I believe it is twelve men plus a chalk leader. At least, according to Matt Eversmann in The Battle of Mogadishu, he says that there were thirteen Rangers, counting him, aboard Super 67 on Oct. 3. That's what it says at the beginning- I haven't really read the book in detail yet.

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Old 08-19-2005, 05:34
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I remember that a 'Chalk' used to be called a 'Stick', based on the old WWII Airborne term, and that a 'Stick' was usually the number of men in a plane or glider flown to a drop point. Unfortunately, I can't remember how many that is. Though 12 sounds like a possible number (seeing that WWIItransport planes and gliders probably didn't carry anything near the number of troops a modern C130 can).
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Old 08-19-2005, 19:17
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"Stick" refers to a row of guys attached to a static line, usually 12. A C-47 Skytrain could carry 2 sticks of 12 for a total of 24.

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Old 08-19-2005, 23:35
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Well, since we're all takin shots in the dark here, here's my guess

Chalk sounds like a fancy word for squad. 12 in a squad, plus Squad Leader

3 fire teams, 4 soldiers a piece

1 Gunner per team (M249/M240)
1 Assist. Gunner (M4)
1 Rifleman/Driver (M4)
1 Fire team leader (M203)

Fire team leaders are junior NCO's, Cpl and Sgt.

One assigned RTO within the squad
One assigned CLS/Medic within the squad

Squad leader is a SSG
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Old 08-20-2005, 17:32
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In the AF, in my experiences, a "chalk" is however many troops loaded into a transport aircraft. When you're getting ready to go on deployment, you might be on "chalk one", on the first aircraft out the door.
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Old 08-29-2005, 16:54
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Usually, a "chalk" is only used when designating personell on an airborne op. Example: I am the PJ for Chalk 1 (I am the lead jumpmaster on the 1st a/c).


I am the stickpusher for chalk 12 (I am the last mofo out of the 12th bird).

The composition will change for aircraft type and mission. Otherwise, Rangers belong to a fireteam, squad, platoon, then company.

Hope this helps

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Old 08-30-2005, 04:33
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My guess would be
1 Sqaud Leader
2 four man fire teams (fire team has 1 team leader, 1 SAW gunner, 1 grenadier and 1 rifleman)
1 three man machine gun team
1 Medic

for a total of 13
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Old 09-15-2005, 09:58
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First, a "chalk/stick" is the line up for an airborne or air assualt mission. This is the positioning of personnel on the bird, as each "chalk/stick" consists of a mixture of personnel from different squads, platoons and even companies while conducting their mission.
Here is the set up for a squad (whether it is a Straight Leg, Airborne, Air Assualt or Ranger unit). There are three (3) Squads per Platoon plus one (1) Weapons Squad.
Squad Leader, M4 w/M203 or M16 w/M203
1st Fire team and 2nd Fire team
Team Leader, M4
Grenadier, M4 w/M203 or M16 w/M203
Rifleman, M4 or M16
Automatic Rifleman, M249 SAW
A Combat Medic is assigned to a Platoon, who would be assigned to a squad if needed for mission. Usually armed with an M9 or (old school) 1911.
The Weapons Plt. would consist of the,
Squad Leader, M4 w/M203 or M16 w/M203
Team 1 and Team 2
Team Leader, M4 or M16
Gunner, M240 or (old school) M60
Ammo Bearer, M4 or M16
Of course you would have the Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant, M4 or M16 with their RTO's being assigned from one of the squads within the Platoon.
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Old 09-16-2005, 23:00
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In all my years as an Infantry Squad Leader, I never carried an M203, the team leaders or a designated grenadier carried that weapons system.
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Old 09-17-2005, 20:50
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Your right, my bad. Should have read my post before sending it.
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Old 09-23-2005, 08:06
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Bullshit.......ropes ropes ropes !!!!!!!
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Old 12-15-2005, 01:13
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This was answered a while back. It should be archived cuz it comes up again. A chalk is a term that derived from the number of the aircraft that a soldier is assigned to on a particular mission. Those numbers were written in chalk. Thus, it became a term to designate whatever number the aircraft was assigned. Since the aircraft may vary in capacity. There are no fixed numbers of men like 12 men, 1 squad (though it might worked out that way at times) a chalk can have; this will vary from mission to mission, aircraft to aircraft.
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Old 12-31-2005, 13:25
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Originally Posted by PBR549
My guess would be
1 Sqaud Leader
2 four man fire teams (fire team has 1 team leader, 1 SAW gunner, 1 grenadier and 1 rifleman)
1 three man machine gun team
1 Medic

for a total of 13
I'm guessing that the weapons squad, 2 M-240 Teams, would make up a chalk by itself, or a team could move with a squad as space on the aircraft allowed. The Platoon leadership personel (PL, PSGT, RTO, Medic, FO...) would then group up with the squad that did not have a MG Team with it.
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Old 02-08-2006, 22:13
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Let me dispell a few myths here. A "chalk" as it refers to US Army Air Assault Operation refers to one Aircraft (UH-60 or CH-47) and the personnel it is carrying. There is a "Chalk Leader" (not necessarily a SSG, but perhaps a highspeed E-5 or an E-7 depending on the personalities aboard). The layout of the chalk is mission dependent, regarding the firepower that needs to be on the ground and the speed in which it needs to arrive. Rarely will the PL and the PSG be on the same flight, and a general rule of thumb is to cut the MG teams apart from each other in order to not lose all your firepower in one chopper mishap.
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Old 03-01-2009, 22:04
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Re: Composition of a Ranger Chalk???

Well just putting my 2 cents that I read in Shadow Warriors, it said that a Ranger squad consisted of 9 men: the Sqd leader 2 team leaders 2 Grendiers 2 automatic riflemen and 2 rifle men. Like I said I read it in a book so I don't have first hand knowledge.....until next year lol.
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Old 03-03-2009, 00:17
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Re: Composition of a Ranger Chalk???


Stop it! You are making me grind my teeth. Markdrake (never put the two MG teams on the same bird though) Mtnsldr & dudeman got it right.

Reference FM 90-4 Air Assault Operations Ch 3 Para 42 "At company and lower levels, the airloading table assigns each man and major items of equipment or supplies to a specific aircraft (chalk)."

Chalk is an air movement term. It is NOT a tactical organization (e.g. team, squad platoon). It may be used as a tactical term by Hollywood or when in an extremely fluid situation where a unit does not move to a Rally Point (RP) customary after arriving at a landing zone (LZ).

OK, I'm breathing regular again...

I'm going to make this as simple as possible. I was the air movement officer for my infantry company in the 101st and eventually moved up to the BDE S3 air. I say that so vets don't start bringing up things like multiple PZs, deception plans air movement control points (ACP)etc.

When planning for an air assault there is a meeting between the ground and air commander. At the Air Movement Brief (AMB) the ground commander gets a bunch of info (route, ACP etc) most importantly the number/type of aircraft (A/C), how much each helo will carry (aircraft load - ACL) and number of lifts (trips to the LZ and back) they have. The company and below leaders then conduct load planning.

A UH60 can carry 9 - 26 troops depending on the altitude, UH60 crew (crew chief and door gunners), A/C configuration (sling load, fast rope rigging, seats, no seats etc.)

Given that you have a limited number of A/C and lifts you prioritize what gets on the ground first simultaneously maximizing unit integrity (e.g. keep squads together as much as you can, NO empty seats) and spreading out key weapons/leaders. You always send key weapons and leaders complete (e.g. M60 loader and ammo bearere go with the M60 gunner, RTO goes with the CO/Platoon leader) and on different aircraft (don't put all your machine guns, medics or leaders on one bird). This way if you lose and aircraft load (or CHALK) you don't lose everything.

CorranJ - I think you are asking for a typical load of Rangers in a helo but you haven't provided enough info (e.g. type of A/C, ACL, platoon/company/battalion air assault, raid, cordon and search, defend etc.).

Lets assume a vanilla mission (UH60, fast rope rigging, ACL 12, platoon mission) a chalk could be a rifle squad and M240 team (three guys) (every chalk is going to be different to get your whole platoon on the ground, the rest of the weapons squad, medics, platoon leadership and any additional attachments). You would always want to fly a squad together but sometimes have to subtract from that squad if the aircraft is full and the platoon leader/sergeant or a dog team has to be added to your bird.

Remember the smallest size of an air assault is typically platoon though that can be plussed up (CO might add a recoiless rifle, snipers or scouts to your organization) and if its a larger air assault you have to worry about company assets (mortars, CO, 1SGT, RTOs etc.).

Hope that is clear as mud. Let me know how else I can help.
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Last edited by major.rod; 03-03-2009 at 00:25.
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