• Master Sgt. Eric Ross (left) and Master Sgt. Eric Turk, representing the Army Special Forces Command, finish the last run as winners of the 2010 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Winners cross the finish line

    Master Sgt. Eric Ross (left) and Master Sgt. Eric Turk, representing the Army Special Forces Command, finish the last run as winners of the 2010 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Staff Sgt. Eugene Mirador, a Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment, fires downrange during the moving target event of the 2010 Best Ranger competition. The teams competed in three shooting events during the second day of the competition.

    Marksmanship

    Staff Sgt. Eugene Mirador, a Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment, fires downrange during the moving target event of the 2010 Best Ranger competition. The teams competed in three shooting events during the second day of the competition.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Jose Magana and Staff Sgt. Thomas West, a team from the 6th Ranger Battalion, run between events during the 2010 Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga. The team placed 13th overall.

    On a Mission

    Sgt. 1st Class Jose Magana and Staff Sgt. Thomas West, a team from the 6th Ranger Battalion, run between events during the 2010 Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga. The team placed 13th overall.

  • Teams get securely fastened to their parachutes prior to conducting a spot jump during the 2010 Best Ranger competition. Teams were scored depending how close they landed to the designated marks.

    Ready Parachutes

    Teams get securely fastened to their parachutes prior to conducting a spot jump during the 2010 Best Ranger competition. Teams were scored depending how close they landed to the designated marks.

  • Staff Sgt. Bernado Mota, a Ranger with the 82nd Airborne Division, helps teammate Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Waggoner stretch out severe cramps during the grueling three-day Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Paying the Price

    Staff Sgt. Bernado Mota, a Ranger with the 82nd Airborne Division, helps teammate Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Waggoner stretch out severe cramps during the grueling three-day Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Teams swim across Victory Pond as part of the Buddy Run to start a three-day, non-stop Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga. Of the 40 teams beginning the event, only 25 were there at the end.

    Swim Event

    Teams swim across Victory Pond as part of the Buddy Run to start a three-day, non-stop Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga. Of the 40 teams beginning the event, only 25 were there at the end.

  • Sgt. Michael Malchow, 75th Ranger Regiment, rappels down the side of the Prusik Climb tower during day two of the Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Prusik Climb

    Sgt. Michael Malchow, 75th Ranger Regiment, rappels down the side of the Prusik Climb tower during day two of the Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Vernon Kentworthy, a Ranger with the U.S. Human Resources Command, strains as he climbs the commando crawl, one of the obstacles that made up the Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Commando Crawl

    Sgt. 1st Class Vernon Kentworthy, a Ranger with the U.S. Human Resources Command, strains as he climbs the commando crawl, one of the obstacles that made up the Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Staff Sgt. Thomas West, 6th Ranger Training Battalion, jumps from a Blackhawk into a lake where they then drag their poncho raft and gear to the shore during the grueling three-day Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Helo Cast

    Staff Sgt. Thomas West, 6th Ranger Training Battalion, jumps from a Blackhawk into a lake where they then drag their poncho raft and gear to the shore during the grueling three-day Best Ranger competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • A total of 80 Rangers from throughout the Army begin a three-day Best Ranger competition to determine the Army's 'best of the best.' Only 50 of the 80 Rangers would finish the contest.

    Fresh Start

    A total of 80 Rangers from throughout the Army begin a three-day Best Ranger competition to determine the Army's 'best of the best.' Only 50 of the 80 Rangers would finish the contest.

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- The 2010 David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition came to a close on Sunday evening, when the last teams standing following the three-day event had crossed the finish line.

More than 40 two-man teams began the quest for the title of Best Ranger, but only 25 can say they were able to complete the ultimate Army competition.

"It's kind of like the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Daytona 500, and the World Cup for the Army and the Ranger community," said Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Smith, Ranger Training Brigade command sergeant major. "Just to finish it is saying a lot. These competitors are the best of the best."

The competition started with a four-mile buddy run, a 250-meter swim, and another three-mile run to their first obstacle course. Following the urban obstacle course, teams had to navigate their way across the camp to firing ranges to conduct a series of weapons skills events before moving out again on another buddy run. The day ended with a spot jump and concluded with an unknown distance foot march.

The grueling first day of events and more than 30 miles traveled eliminated nearly half of the competitors. Only 26 teams began the second day's events of completing Ranger skills stations that included rappelling, rope climbs, first aid, hand grenades and additional weapons skills challenges. The day ended with an overnight orienteering, or land navigation, course.

Competitors were in agreement that it was a relief to have made it past day one, and most were looking forward to the finish line after day three.

"It sucks, I'm not going to lie," said Staff Sgt. Keith Bach, representing 3rd Infantry Division.

"(The first day) was harder this year than last year," said Sgt. Michael Malchow, representing 75th Ranger Regiment. "We are getting stronger as we go on and hopefully we can get today over with and make up some ground as far as getting up there in the standings."

Day three began with the Darby Queen, an obstacle course laid out on a one-mile route. Upon completion of the course, teams constructed a poncho raft for use in the Helocast event. The Helocast event took the teams and their poncho raft over a pond and dropped them. Teams were required to utilize their poncho raft and swim to shore. The day finished with a water confidence test, canoe race, and the final buddy run to the finish line.

"Over the past three days the competitors covered more than 60 miles on foot for over 60 hours without sleep, and very little food intake," said Capt. John Vickery, project officer for Best Ranger. "All those teams that completed the competition are really, really good teams. They represented their units well."

The winning team of Master Sgt.'s Eric Turk and Eric Ross, representing the U. S. Special Operations Command, raised their hands in celebration as they crossed the finish line.

"It feels pretty doggone good to be able to walk out with the trophy today," said Turk.

(S.L. Standifird is a journalist with the Joint Hometown News Service)

Page last updated Tue May 11th, 2010 at 16:38