FORT BENNING, Ga. Aca,!" More than 40 two-man Ranger teams from around the Army began the 27th annual Best Ranger Competition here today. While most competitors are focused on the win, one team has another goal in mind: to finish. At 49 and 42-years-old, COL Chris Argo and LTC Thomas Foster of team eight said they want to finish in the top tier and cross this event off their Aca,!A"bucket list.Aca,!A?

On average, only one-fourth of the teams that enter the contest will finish the last event. Three hours into the grueling, three-day competition, teams had completed a four-mile buddy run, swam 250 meters, ran another three miles and were about to carry a stretcher weighing 150 pounds before completing an urban obstacle course.

To help push them through the tough events, many teams have family and friends here to cheer them on. SGT Jessie Collins and SGT Michael Malchow of team 21 have more than 20 family members here to support them. Ranging in age from 3 to 53-years-old, the Collins-Malchow families can be easily spotted in their matching, red t-shirts.

Aca,!A"(Michael) said theyAca,!a,,cre doing better this year at this point than they did last year,Aca,!A? said MalchowAca,!a,,cs sister Rachel, who came from San Francisco to watch her brotherAca,!a,,cs team compete. These 75th Ranger Regiment Soldiers came in third in last yearAca,!a,,cs competition.

Following the urban obstacle course, teams tackled orienteering, or land navigation. In orienteering, Soldiers maneuver from one point to another using only a map, a compass and a protractor, and meet various other checkpoints along the way. The next three events of day one tested the Ranger teamsAca,!a,,c weapons knowledge and shooting skills, followed by a three-mile buddy run and a helicopter spot jump.

The final event of day one is a foot march, which is both physically and mentally challenging because the distance is unknown, Soldiers are already exhausted and they still have two days left in the competition. Last year, the foot march was 18 miles.

Aca,!A"Soldiers will have about 17 miles on their feet before the start of the foot march tonight,Aca,!A? said CPT John Vickery, Best Ranger project officer. Aca,!A"Going into the foot march Soldiers are told to do their best and the top 28 teams will place.Aca,!A?

The competition will continue through the weekend and is open to the public. It concludes Sunday evening at Freedom Hall at approximately 5 p.m. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday at Freedom Hall.

For up-to-date information, follow along at or visit the Best Ranger Web site,

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