By Ms. Lori Egan (Benning)May 8, 2010
FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 9, 2010) -- Twenty-six teams out of the 40 that started the 27th annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition were still in the quest for the title of best ranger at the end of day two's Day Stakes.
Although the points weren't posted, Master Sgts. Eric Turk and Eric Ross, Team 6, with the U.S. Special Operations Command, had the lead.
The Day one events took a significant toll on the competitors, said Cpt. John Vickery, project officer for the competition. The events leading up to the 13-mile road march were longer than in the past, putting around 17 miles on their feet before the road march.
One team fell out during the buddy run. Another went out during the orienteering.
"We'd lost a handful (of teams) before the road march started, and the road march took another handful," Vickery said.
Historically the competition starts with a buddy run of unknown distance. This year it was seven miles and included a 250-meter swim.
Before starting the urban obstacle course on day one, Team 30's Sgt. 1st Class Cedric King, with the 199th Infantry Brigade, described the buddy run as "evil."
"It was not knowing when it would end - we'd run, swim, run ... really wanted it to be over but then we passed the MOUT site ..."
"We expected it to be over but we kept going," said Staff Sgt. Rommel Hurtado, King's teammate.
One of the teams that didn't start day two was Team 8, Lt. Col. Thomas Foster and Col. Chris Argo, with USASOC. At 49, Argo was the oldest competitor in this year's competition and his team's alternate. A first-time competitor, he said the BRC was "quite the experience."
Day Stakes events included weapons assembly, throwing grenades, a stress shoot, ranger first responder, the Tri Tower challenge and two mystery events.
One of the mystery events this year was to enter and clear a building - using combatives. Team 9's Staff Sgt. Keith Bach, with 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, said he hoped the combatives would become a regular event for competition.
At the end of the Day Stakes, Vickery said all 26 teams were a go for the night orienteering, which typically ends the competition for another two or three teams. The teams finished the orienteering at Camp Darby, where day three started Sunday with the Darby Queen.