By 1st Lt. Matthew Walker, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry RegimentApril 11, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 10, 2014) -- Fort Jackson will be represented in one of the most respected and elite military and athletic competitions this weekend -- the 31st Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.
Army Rangers Capt. Kevin Raymond, Master Fitness School, and Sgt. 1st Class Jason Diaz, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, will represent Fort Jackson in the Best Ranger Competition, making this only the second year the installation will enter a team.
Training alongside Raymond and Diaz for the competition were 1st Lt. Timothy Shively, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment; Sgt. 1st Class Nicolas Brady; and Staff Sgt. Sidney Graham, both with the 1-34th.
The two Rangers representing the post were chosen after they completed an assessment and tryout hosted by the 1-34th. For the past two months, Raymond and Diaz have conducted training on multiple weapons systems, ranging from 9 mm handguns to the M240B machine gun; studied vehicle and threat identification; did basic airborne refresher training; and took a practice jump. Their training also contained a rigorous daily physical training program that included running, swimming, biking, road marches, climbing walls and weight training.
"It is important for Fort Jackson to stay connected to the Ranger community through this event," said Lt. Col. Eric Flesch, 1-34th commander. "Our Ranger leaders set the example every day as officers and noncommissioned officers from across the force, joining us for training at the Master Fitness School, the Master Resiliency School, and the Drill Sergeant School. At the Army's largest Basic Combat Training center, where over half of today's Soldiers begin their Army careers, every graduating class has Soldiers leaving the USATC for the Ranger and Special Operations communities. It is important that (Fort Jackson) has role models like these Rangers paving the way for the next generation."
Started in 1981, the Best Ranger Competition is a three-day competition comprising physically- and mentally-demanding tasks. Originally open only to Army Rangers, the competition now determines the best two-man team in the armed forces. The competition is considered comparable to many professional athletic events. It has been featured on ESPN, the History Channel and the Military Channel.
This year's competition, which starts Friday and ends Sunday, will be covered by Fox Sports with live streaming video available at www.bestrangercompetition.com/live/.