Two teams with the 4th Infantry Division competed in the Best Ranger Competition April 13-15 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Richard A. Leandri started the competition in 1982 to honor his personal friend Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr. It is an annual competition where Ranger-qualified Soldiers compete against each other in two-man teams to see who is best.

The competition is made up of a series of grueling events, which test the physical, mental and emotional limits of competitors. During the tournament, participants conducted an 8-mile run, night land navigation, a 17-mile foot march, a 5-mile Spartan Race, and negotiated an obstacle course.

Four Soldiers represented the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, "Raiders," 4th Inf. Div., for the fi rst time in the competition: U.S. Army Rangers 1st Lts. Corbin Davey, Tom White, Joseph Colonna, and Conor Spaulding, all platoon leaders from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment.

"The most important reason I can say I wanted to compete in the Best Ranger Competition is to be a positive example for, not only my troops, but my son as well," said Colonna. "I wanted to challenge my physical and mental limits and see how far I could push myself. I've been into sports my whole life and the thrill of a competition is a big part of what makes me."

The desire to compete and to be the best of the best, motivated the leaders to give it their all throughout the competition.

"I've wanted to compete since I saw (the competition) on the television as a kid," said White. "I love competitions, plus it gave us a chance to compete against some of the best."

Although the lieutenants didn't win the competition, their grit and relentlessness to accomplish greatness is one that cannot be overlooked. The leaders remain fit, disciplined, inspired and trained.

Spaulding plans to continue training and sharpening his skills for the next competition.

"Before I do it again, I will get more training on shooting with iron sights, specifically in the stress shoot style environment," said Spaulding. "I will also train in a mix of aerobic and anaerobic events on a more regular basis."

Whether physical or mental, the Raiders continue to train daily to outshine the nation's adversaries and prepare for the unexpected.