• A Ranger team works together as shooter and spotter during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Day 2 CACTF

    A Ranger team works together as shooter and spotter during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Secretary of the Army John McHugh addresses the crowd during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition Awards Ceremony.

    Secretary of the Army John McHugh

    Secretary of the Army John McHugh addresses the crowd during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition Awards Ceremony.

  • Fifty teams kicked off the 28th annual Best Ranger Competition with a three-mile buddy run before dawn Friday. The teams head into a foot movement and canoe race to round out the morning. Events are scheduled around the clock, with teams moving to the firing ranges in the afternoon to conduct machine gun and moving target events before heading out for day orienteering, fast-rope insertion and their first obstacle course. The day ends with teams navigating an approximately 10-mile night orienteering course well into the early hours of Day 2.

    2011 Best Ranger Competition

    Fifty teams kicked off the 28th annual Best Ranger Competition with a three-mile buddy run before dawn Friday. The teams head into a foot movement and canoe race to round out the morning. Events are scheduled around the clock, with teams moving to the...

  • The "super team" of Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski and Master Sgt. Eric Turk are the winners of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition.  Zajkowski, a 2007 Best Ranger Competition champion, and Turk, who won last year, are the first repeat winners in more than two decades. Turk is only the second competitor in Best Ranger Competition history to win the competition back to back.

    2011 Best Ranger Competition

    The "super team" of Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski and Master Sgt. Eric Turk are the winners of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition. Zajkowski, a 2007 Best Ranger Competition champion, and Turk, who won last year, are the first repeat winners in more than...

  • 'The Weaver' is one of the 26 obstacles the competitors must conquer during the mile-long Darby Queen event on Day 3.

    The Weaver

    'The Weaver' is one of the 26 obstacles the competitors must conquer during the mile-long Darby Queen event on Day 3.

  • Master Sgt. Eric Turk lands after scaling a rope at the Urban Obstacle Course during Day 2 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Urban Obstacle Course

    Master Sgt. Eric Turk lands after scaling a rope at the Urban Obstacle Course during Day 2 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Rangers compete in the helocast during Day 3 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Helocast

    Rangers compete in the helocast during Day 3 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Rangers compete in the helocast during Day 3 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Helocast

    Rangers compete in the helocast during Day 3 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • A competitor takes on Day Stakes during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Day Stakes

    A competitor takes on Day Stakes during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • A competitor completes his rappel.

    Day Stakes

    A competitor completes his rappel.

  • A competitor drops into Victory Pond after completing the Water Confidence Test.

    Plunge

    A competitor drops into Victory Pond after completing the Water Confidence Test.

  • Capt. Hunter Southerland and Sgt. Sean McAlpine, 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), at day three of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.,  finishes with the buddy run at Freedom Hall.

    The Old Guard finishes the Buddy Run

    Capt. Hunter Southerland and Sgt. Sean McAlpine, 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), at day three of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., finishes with the buddy run at Freedom Hall.

  • Master Sgt. Jamie Newman and Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon Biltz, Ranger Training Brigade, rest before beginning the Laser Shoot at the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Day Stakes

    Master Sgt. Jamie Newman and Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon Biltz, Ranger Training Brigade, rest before beginning the Laser Shoot at the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Spc. Jeffery Journeycake and Spc. Cristobal Cruz, 75th Ranger Regiment, compete in the Litter Carry event during Day 2 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Day Stakes

    Spc. Jeffery Journeycake and Spc. Cristobal Cruz, 75th Ranger Regiment, compete in the Litter Carry event during Day 2 of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Capt. Nathan Lokker and Sgt. 1st Class Conrad Kaluzny drag their fallen 'Soldier' through barbed wire during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

    Litter Carry

    Capt. Nathan Lokker and Sgt. 1st Class Conrad Kaluzny drag their fallen 'Soldier' through barbed wire during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski, Team 8 from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, prepares to drop into Victory Pond during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.  .

    Water Confidence Test

    Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski, Team 8 from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, prepares to drop into Victory Pond during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga. .

  • Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski, left, and Master Sgt. Eric Turk, both of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, raise their newly-awarded pistols during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition awards ceremony April 18, 2011, at Fort Benning, Ga. Turk also won the competition in 2010, while Zajkowski won it in 2007.

    Zajkowski and Turk, 2011 Best Rangers

    Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski, left, and Master Sgt. Eric Turk, both of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, raise their newly-awarded pistols during the 2011 Best Ranger Competition awards ceremony April 18, 2011, at Fort Benning, Ga. Turk also won the...

FORT BENNING, Ga., April 18, 2011 -- The "super team" of Sgt. Maj. Walter Zajkowski and Master Sgt. Eric Turk are the winners of the 2011 Best Ranger Competition.

At an awards ceremony today at Freedom Hall, Secretary of the Army John McHugh congratulated the teams on their accomplishment.

"I can't begin to express how truly impressed I was," said McHugh, who spent Sunday watching the competitors battle through the helocast and water confidence course before racing through the final buddy run. "It's truly a test of tactical, mental and technical proficiencies and those are the tools that every successful Soldier, every successful leader, has to have on the battlefield."

"Just qualifying for this competition says that you're among the best. But by finishing it, you are the very best," he said.

Zajkowski, a 2007 Best Ranger Competition champion, and Turk, who won last year, are the first repeat winners in more than two decades.

Turk is only the second competitor in Best Ranger Competition history to win the competition back to back.

Sgt. Paul Scurka is the only other two-time champ, winning the competition in 1985 and 1986.

Team 14 of the 75th Ranger Regiment and Team 42 of the Ranger Training Brigade rounded out the top finishers.

Team 14's Staff Sgt. Charles Cogle and Spc. Chris Broussard were in close competition with Zajkowski and Turk heading into Sunday. But the team faltered in a series of missteps at the Darby Queen Obstacle Course which led them to finish second overall.

Cogle said finishing second, while an honor is bittersweet and the pair is already planning another run at the title.

Of the 50 teams who began the competition before dawn Friday, only 31 crossed the finish line Sunday afternoon.

Page last updated Mon April 18th, 2011 at 15:20