By Tanja LintonFebruary 6, 2018
Fort Huachuca, Arizona -- Two captains from the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion here are putting their all into training for the 2018 Best Ranger Competition hosted each year at Fort Benning, Georgia, to determine the Army's best two-man team.
For Captains Bill Goldsworth and Rob Shalvoy, this year's competition will be the second time for both. Each has competed previously with another team mate. This is their first competition together.
It is a physically and mentally demanding 60-hour competition that most Soldiers will never have the opportunity to compete in. So what would motivate someone to do it twice?
Despite being knocked unconscious during the slide-for-life event on the final day of competition in 2013, Shalvoy has a positive memory of covering the competition's 65 miles in 60 hours.
Goldsworth is proud to represent Fort Huachuca a second time citing the comradery with the other 49 teams competing last year as an inspiring experience.
Last year the 304th MI Bn. fielded the team of Goldsworth and Capt. Ray Kuderka for the 2017 Best Ranger Competition.
This is the second year running that the 304th MI Bn. has supported a team training for the Best Ranger Competition. Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Paul Oh, said doing so sends a message to officers here that being intellectually and physically ready is important. Oh hopes Shalvoy and Goldsworth's dedication to training for the competition inspires other Soldiers in the battalion.
"We're proud of them," Oh said. "They're a model for every officer in the battalion, brigade and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence."
Oh added that having Soldiers train for the competition for two successive years marks a bit of a cultural shift for the MI branch.
Goldsworth said last year other teams were curious about where he and his team mate, Kuderka, came from since Fort Huachuca and USAICoE aren't as familiar to the Ranger community as other duty stations and units.
Shalvoy, who has been in the Army for six years, started off as an infantry officer. During his second deployment to Iraq he felt at that stage of his career he would have more real world applicability as an MI officer and made the switch. He is currently an instructor at the MI Captains Career Course.
Goldsworth, an infantry officer with 13 years of service, is currently the Senior Small Group Leader at the MI Captains Career Course.
Goldsworth and Shalvoy began training for the 2018 Best Ranger Competition in August with minimal impact to the battalion's mission due to the command's support.
Both are appreciative of the team effort across the installation to support them. Goldsworth pointed out that U.S. Army Garrison has been one of their biggest supporters noting that garrison commander, Col. Whit Wright, is the only other branch-qualified infantry officer on the installation.
Both captains are also appreciative of the support they get from their wives.
Goldsworth said his wife, Cassidy, helped keep him grounded and is a good example for their three boys. Shalvoy's wife, Natalie, is also supportive and helps him with his recovery efforts after strenuous training sessions.
With water bottle close at hand, both officers talked about the importance of nutrition in their training regimes. They have to constantly think about what they put in their bodies, replacing fluids and calories.
The team is focusing on doing more training while tired in order to simulate the stress of the competition. Goldsworth has read books on endurance and is working on trying to live in the moment rather than get lost in the big picture of the overall competition.
What would they advise anyone contemplating training for a future Best Ranger Competition?
Shalvoy says knowing the fundamentals, which are basic Soldier skills, is critical. Being physically and mentally fit also helps.
"Go for it!" said Goldsworth. Taking advantage of the rare opportunity to be surrounded by 49 other teams made up of the best warfighters in the country is something you will never regret, he added. "It's a real honor."
Goldsworth and Shalvoy have an 18-hour, mini competition scheduled later this month and will take part in the 26-mile Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, this spring as part of their on-going preparation for the 2018 Best Ranger Competition.