By Bryan Gatchell, BenningApril 14, 2019
FORT BENNING, Ga. -- After two full days and nights of events to test their stamina, technical prowess and mental acuity, 16 teams crossed the finish line April 14 at Camp Rogers, concluding the Best Ranger Competition.
The final standings will be announced during an awards ceremony scheduled for April 15 at the Maneuver Center of Excellence headquarters. Leading into the final event, the top five teams were as follows:
- First: Team 19 with Capts. John Bergman and Michael Rose representing the 101st Airborne Division
- Second: Team 28 with Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gerber and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys representing the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
- Third: Team 20 with 1st Lts. Nathan Penick and Edward von Kuhn representing the 101st Airborne Division
- Fourth: Team 42 with Capts. Timothy Boyle and Sam Pullman representing the 199th Infantry Brigade, Maneuver Center of Excellence, and
- Fifth: Team 36 with Sgt. Maj. Eric Echavarria and Master Sgt. Robert Jackson representing the U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Following the night orienteering event that took the 28 teams from the second to the third and final day of the competition, only the top 16 teams were allowed to continue.
The first event of the final day is the Darby Queen Obstacle Course at Camp Darby. The teams must individually move over, around and through 24 obstacles. For one obstacle called the "skyscraper," the teams must get through it with their partners' assistance.
A helicopter ride and helocast into Victory Pond was scheduled for after the Camp Darby event, but inclement weather necessitated a bus ride to Victory Pond where the second to last event took place: the combat water survival assessment.
The CWSA is a relay event where one member of the team climbs 35 feet to a log walk above Victory Pond. The team member must climb partway down an angled rope to a wooden Ranger tab, tap the Ranger tab and drop into the water below. Once they emerge from the water they can grab zip-lining gear and tag their team member to begin the log walk. The first team member continues on to a 75-foot tower, ascends the stairs and zip-lines back into the water of Victory Pond.
As the different Soldiers splashed down, the audience oohed in sympathy or aahed in appreciation, depending on whether the Soldier tumbled or thudded into the water or gracefully skidded along the pond's surface at the end of the zip-line.
Once the second Soldier of each team finished the zip-line, both team members ran for the CWSA finish line and were scored according to their time.
After the last of the teams finished the CWSA, the teams began the final buddy run, staggered according to their placement going into the final event.
Entering the last turn into the final stretch, the spectators at Camp Rogers leaned out into the roadway to capture photographs and video of the competitors finishing, cheering each team on as the 16 remaining teams completed the contest of strength, skill and endurance.
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.