FORT BENNING, Ga. - With less than three weeks to go, Best Ranger Competition planners are adding finishing touches and ensuring event schedules remain under tight guard.

Battalion-level event rehearsals are in full swing this week, followed by brigade rehearsals next week.

For nearly a year, a select group of Soldiers with the Ranger Training Brigade have been behind the scenes preparing events that will ultimately challenge every facet of Ranger knowledge.

Brainstorming sessions began the day last year's competition ended, said Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Smith, who along with the brigade commander has the final say on all BRC events.

Some events, such as the aptly named "mystery" events, remain secret until the day of competition, while others known as "legacy" events have become a staple of the competition. A third category called "relevant" events are newer tasks Rangers should have knowledge of.

A good competition has the right mix of each to make "an extremely physically demanding endurance event," he said.

The brigade's 4th Ranger Training Battalion is responsible for planning, resourcing and executing the event, in addition to its role of conducting the first phase of Ranger School and teaching the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader's Course.

The battalion builds a sequence of events then tests them to ensure the competition remains "demanding yet do-able," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Miller, battalion commander.

The ultimate goal is to push competitors to their limits.

"We're evaluating the whole person and accessing a multitude of things," said Maj. Mark Wade, the battalion's executive officer.

To be competitive, teams must be "generally good at everything a Ranger would do on the modern battlefield," he said.

Each event is assigned a number of points, which are determined by the brigade and kept under "lock and key," with only a handful of people knowing the point scoring.

Prior to last year's competition, competitors had access to their point totals throughout the competition. In a departure from tradition, the 2010 competitors remained unaware of their point totals and only told their standings.

Smith said feedback from the teams last year said they preferred not to know their point totals because it made them push harder in events.

"We took some of the gamesmanship out of it, we wanted it to be a true endurance test. We publish the standings but you don't know exactly how many points you've earned or how many points each event counts," he said.

The three-day competition begins at 6 a.m. April 15.

For more information, visit www.army.mil/ranger.

Page last updated Wed March 30th, 2011 at 11:03