By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)April 14, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 14, 2018) -- Twenty-four two-Soldier teams have competed for nearly 36 hours, pausing only as time between events allows, as the 2018 Best Ranger Competition extends into the evening of Day Two April 14 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition was organized in 1982 to determine the best Ranger in the Ranger Department, but has since expanded to include all Ranger-qualified Soldiers throughout the entire Army and other willing Ranger-qualified service members from sister services.
The competition tests the team members' physical abilities, mental agility, and technical and tactical skills under stressful conditions throughout three days with no scheduled sleep.
From the firing of the starter pistol, teams ran, went through the Malvesti Obstacle Course, carried slush pipes and weighted medical splints, swam through Victory Pond, ran in body armor, went through an urban obstacle course, fast-roped from a helicopter, flipped tires and carried heavy objects, and fired weapons systems at several ranges.
The teams then marched through the evening, and, once stopped, only the top 24 teams were allowed to continue with the competition.
That's when the night stakes began. Competition organizers set up five different events, which the teams went through in a round robin fashion. The teams had to assemble weapons in the dark, set timber-cutting charges, perform a night engagement, and perform well on an Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade history test and map test. In addition to these events, the teams performed a mystery event.
After the night stakes, the Soldiers took buses to Dekkar Strip on the Alabama side of Fort Benning, where they took part in the Spartan Race.
Conducted by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the Spartan Race is a 5.5-mile course through 20 obstacles. As a separate event that coincides with the Best Ranger Competition, the Spartan Race is open to a set of elite athletes, who were then followed by the Ranger teams.
After completing the Spartan Race, the Ranger teams took buses to Todd Field for the day stakes, a series of events that includes an 81 mm mortar event, a grenade assault course, a Ranger first responder course, a three-tower and knots-tying event, and a stress shoot.
For the mortar event, teams must mount the 81 mm mortar and place aiming posts on a predetermined deflection and elevation. Scores during this event are based on time, and teams are penalized for improperly assembling the mortar system or incorrectly placing the aiming post.
During the grenade assault course, individual competitors must throw grenades at targets from pre-designated points. Teams with the most "kills" get full points. Ties are broken by fastest times.
The Ranger first responder course tests the teams on their lifesaving abilities. Teams encounter a downed helicopter scenario, they conduct tactical field care on a casualty and move the casualty through the course and prepare the casualty for medical evacuation. Teams are graded according to their level and proficiency of care.
The three-tower and knots-tying event has two teams at a time climbing Prusik Tower and then rappelling down. Once both members from a team have completed the rappel, they move to one of two other towers where they climb a caving ladder and fast-rope down. At the third station of this event, each competitor must tie five military knots: double figure 8, middle-of-the-rope clove hitch, rerouted figure 8, middle-of-the-rope Prusik, and Munter hitch.
As of 3 p.m., the day stakes have not concluded, and the current standings are as follows:
-- Team 23: Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Allen, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Rolfes, Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade
-- Team 22: Sgt. 1st Class Michael Roggero, Staff Sgt. Michael Browne, ARTB
-- Team 32: Capt. Matthew Thwaites, 1st Lt. Kendall Ward, 75th Ranger Regiment
-- Team 33: 1st Lt. Jeremy Dettmer, Cpl. Tyler Taormina, 75th Ranger Regiment
-- Team 41: 1st Lt. Chris Smith, Sgt. Aditya Singh Sehrawat, 25th Infantry Division
Following the day stakes competitors will perform night orienteering, scheduled to arrive at Camp Darby, where the number of teams will narrow down to 16.
The first spectator event of Day Three is the Darby Queen obstacle course in the morning April 15. Rain is expected, potentially adding to the difficulty of the event. After the Darby Queen, a helocast and a combat water survival assessment are scheduled to take place at Victory Pond. The final event of the competition is the buddy run, scheduled to finish back at Camp Rogers, where the entire competition began April 13.
More updated cumulative point results are scheduled to be posted April 15 on the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning's news page and to MCoE and Fort Benning social media.
More Best Ranger Competition stories will be published to Benning News on the Army News Service as the contest progresses April 15. To learn more, visit www.army.mil/benning.
For photos from the Best Ranger Competition, visit www.fortbenningphotos.com/Infantry-Brigades/Airborne-Ranger-Training-Briga/Ranger-School/Best-Ranger-Competition/2018-Best-Ranger.
For live updates from the competition, visit the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning on social media, like us at www.fb.com/fortbenningmcoe or follow us at https://twitter.com/fortbenning.