Division Soldiers face challenge in Best Ranger Competition
April 18, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Two out of three teams representing Fort Drum finished in 19th and 21st place in the grueling 60-hour David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition held Friday through Sunday at Fort Benning, Ga.
This year's Best Ranger Competition started at 5 a.m. Friday, when 49 two-man teams lined up at the start line for a three-mile run and an eight-mile cross country foot march with rucksacks weighing some 60 pounds.
"Our teams did really well this year," said Sgt. 1st Class Vernon Kenworthy, who coached the 10th Mountain Division (LI) competitors.
This year's teams were made up of Rangers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and 10th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Drum, and 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Polk, La.
Representing the division were Team 6, made up of Capt. Benjamin Hartig, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, and 2nd Lt. Robert Shalvov, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT; Team 7, made up of Capt. Ian Kent, commander of G Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and 1st Lt. Oleg Sheynfeld, Pathfinder Company, 10th Combat Aviation Bri-gade; and Team 8, made up of Capt. Matthew Stapay, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and Capt. Ian Allen, C Troop, 3-71 Cavalry.
Overall, during the first day of the competition, the Rangers averaged 48 miles of walking, running and road marching. On Day 2 and 3, Soldiers were required to complete a stress shoot, prusik climb, the mile-long Darby Queen Obstacle Course and the Ranger First Responder medevac event.
During the night foot march, the teams had to carry full sandbags, full five-gallon water cans and full Meals, Ready-to-Eat boxes on top of their 60-pound rucksack throughout the 17.3-mile foot march.
By the end of the first day, 25 teams had dropped from the competition.
"Competitors are getting better and stronger," Kenworthy said. "That showed going into the competition and coming out of the first day events. They were stronger this year than what they were last year."
One Ranger who is no stranger to the competition is Kent.
"I feel really good," Kent said. "I honestly think that this year was tougher; so I feel more accomplished this year than I did last year."
"I would advise anyone that is looking to participate in the (Best Ranger Competition) to know going into it that it will, hands down, be the hardest thing they'll ever do," Kent said. "They need to fully commit themselves mentally and physically to this competition and allow themselves not to have any distractions to get ready for this event."
Kent commented that it was a nice change of pace, but that he was ready to get back to his company and his Soldiers.
Sheynfeld is another Ranger who is glad the competition is over.
"We've competed with the best teams in the Army," he said. "We're glad we were able to complete it successfully."
Sheynfeld said everything in the competition was difficult for him. He said he was at his lowest point during night orienteering, but the support of his teammate helped him get through it.
"Just knowing that your Ranger buddy is going to keep going no matter what," Sheynfeld said. "That gave me the confidence to keep on going."
To be the No. 1 team, Sheynfeld said, requires an exceptional amount of dedication and training. It also helps to be gifted and talented physically and to have experience in the competition, he added.
One Ranger who enjoyed his first experience in the BRC was Shalvov.
"This is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life," Shalvov said. "It's kind of a surreal feeling to think that just a few months ago I was in Infantry Officer School and then Ranger School.
"When I showed up at my first duty station, they told me to go try out, and all of a sudden, here I am running across the finish line. It was incredible."
Winners of this year's BRC was Team 34, made up of Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Santiago and Sgt. 1st Class Timothy S. Briggs, both from the Rangers Training Brigade, Fort Benning, Ga.
The winning team and teams that completed the competition were recognized during an awards ceremony Monday at Marshall Auditorium in McGinnis Wickham Hall.
"I hope to take this renewed sense of confidence to Fort Drum and improve the combat effectiveness of my unit," Shalvov said.