By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (Benning)April 13, 2019
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Following a night foot march that lasted into the early morning hours April 13, only 28 of 54 teams were allowed to continue into the second of three days of the Best Ranger Competition here.
The two-person Ranger-qualified teams are in the middle of a competition to test their physical endurance, their technical ability in Ranger-relevant tasks, and their marksmanship with a variety of weapons systems.
The top five teams after the first night are:
- First: Team 28 with Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gerber and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys representing the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team,
- Second: Team 42 with Capts. Timothy Boyle and Sam Pullman representing the 199th Infantry Regiment, Maneuver Center of Excellence,
- Third: Team 48 with Lt. Col. Andrew Farina and Capt. Stephen McCarthy representing the U.S. Military Academy,
- Fourth: Team 20 with 1st Lts. Nathan Penick and Edward von Kuhn representing the 101st Airborne Division,
- and Fifth: Team 36 with Sgt. Maj. Eric Echavarria and Master Sgt. Robert Jackson representing U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
The first day of competition included a mass run from Camp Rogers, an obstacle course at Malvesti Field, a weighted carry to Victory Pond, a swim at Victory Pond, an improved outer tactical vest run, and an urban obstacle course at Selby Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. From Selby CACTF the teams took a helicopter to Oscar Range Complex, descending by rope before taking part in an M4 qualification, a team live-fire exercise, an M240 mounted engagement and a precision rifle shoot. Their final event was a foot march which lasted into the early morning hours the following day.
The foot march ended at Galloway Range for the night stakes. Throughout the first day's events, the teams were given points and ranked accordingly. Only the top 28 continued to the night stakes events, a series of five events conducted in a round-robin fashion. The teams had to disassemble and reassemble weapons, construct and emplace an explosive charge, and to carry a casualty to a bunker while engaging four targets and one vehicle target, and to take a written test.
From Galloway Range, the teams went to the day stakes at Todd Field. This event, which is open to the public, is another round-robin event. Spectators came out to see the teams take part in the events.
The day stakes included a 60-millimeter mortar event, a modified Army Combat Fitness Test, an assault lane, a ranger first responder scenario where they must move a casualty from a downed helicopter to safety, a grenade assault course, a dual tower event where they must demonstrate their ability to tie military knots and descend from the towers, and an obstacle course where they must also engage with enemy targets.
Following the day stakes, the teams will carry equipment to construct a field expedient bangalore, which is a type of explosive device. Once the teams construct the bangalore they will take it to Babbit Field. At Babbit Field they will go through a wired obstacle course to place the bangalore.
The final event of day two is night orienteering, which will last into the next day. During night orienteering the teams must locate points and must arrive at the finish before 8 a.m. Any teams that do not arrive before 8 a.m. will be cut.
Only the 16 top teams will be allowed to continue into the third and final day of the competition, when they are scheduled to take part in the Darby Queen obstacle course, a helocast into Victory Pond, a combat water survival assessment at Victory Pond and a final buddy run back to Camp Rogers.
The Best Ranger Competition is the final of three multi-day competitions taking place during Infantry Week at Fort Benning. The Best Mortar Competition concluded April 11, and the Lacerda Cup combatives tournament concluded April 12.
To keep up with the Best Ranger Competition as it happens, visit the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning Facebook page at www.fb.com/FortBenningMCoE for updates.
For photos of the competition, updated throughout the competition, visit www.fortbenningphotos.com.
For news of the event as it occurs, visit www.army.mil/benning.