Fort Benning's Rigger of the Year team
Teammates PFC Ismael Navarro and PFC Brandon Curtis accept Army Achievement Medals in a ceremony Tuesday at Eubanks Field.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - E Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment announced the four parachute riggers who will represent Fort Benning at the annual Rigger Rodeo competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., this fall. Team leader SGT Johnny Delgado, PFC Ismael Navarro, PFC Brandon Curtis and PFC Terrence Smith, all of Pack Platoon, beat out three other rigger teams during a three-phase competition here March 5-12. The individual overall winner and Distinguished Rigger of the Year is SGT Jonathan Lopez, whose team finished a close second to Delgado's.

The competition consisted of an accuracy jump, Airborne physical fitness test, proper rigging of a container delivery system, packing a T-11 and T-11 reserve parachute, sewing a basic patch, a line replacement, written test, joint airdrop inspection and a mystery event.

"The Rigger of the Year competition tests all those rigger skills - from maintenance to packing to rigging equipment to drop," said LTC Jon Ring, commander of 1st Bn., 507th PIR, in a ceremony Tuesday. "The competition was difficult and I think the team sitting in front of us today has shown the 507th is in good stead to keep that trophy where it belongs - at Fort Benning."

Delgado was the team leader for last year's Rigger Rodeo team, which won first place and took home the trophy and title of best riggers in the Army. Delgado and Navarro, another member of last year's team, hope to duplicate that success.

"We want to keep the trophy here for many years," Navarro said. "It brings honor to know this unit is the best wherever you go in the Army."

Delgado said his team suffered a setback early on but was able to rally for the top finish.

Teammate PFC Luis Alcazar injured his leg during the first event, the accuracy jump, and had to drop out of the competition, Delgado said.

A replacement teammate came on board and the team continued without losing anyone to disqualification or injury.

The team received Army Achievement Medals, monetary prizes and custom T-shirts and sweatshirts. Lopez received an Army Commendation Medal, monetary prizes, a cased K-bar knife, an engraved hatbox and a scale model of an MC-6 parachute.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16