By Staff Sgt. Adora GonzalezMay 13, 2010
Only a handful of U.S. Army Rangers earned bragging rights after crossing the coveted Best Ranger Competition finish line to complete three strenuous days of nonstop events from May 7-9. Amongst the few accomplished, and placing 9th in the overall competition, was the U.S. Army's Oldest Active Infantry Regiment known as The Old Guard.
"We competed in one of the most difficult events in the world," Staff Sgt. Chris Malone, an Old Guard representative for this year's competition said. "We were on people's heels the whole time and we didn't give up. We were chasing people down and trying to figure out how we were going to get ahead and how we were going to place even better," the Burke, VA., native continued.
Ranger teams from some of the toughest units throughout the Army, arrived at Fort Benning, GA. for a chance to participate in the 27th annual competition. The Army Rangers quickly put their tactical skills and physical endurance to the test, while pushing through 60 plus miles of ground, completing challenging back-to-back events, and riding on roughly one to two hours of sleep per night and around two Meals Ready to Eat (MRE's) per day.
As time progressed, the number of Ranger teams dwindled down as some struggled to keep up and some just simply could not make the cut; still The Old Guard's two-man team continued on with the best of the best recalling times throughout the competition where other Ranger's would turn their eyes and look over their shoulders in confusion as if to say" seriously the Old Guard's here'" and "are we really being beat by the OId Guard'"
Though the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) is often associated solely for their ceremonial duties, the competitors fought to change that perception by surpassing 31 teams out of the original 40 that began the competition.
"The Old Guard is not just a unit that looks pretty and does ceremonial aspects and funerals in the Arlington National Cemetery," Capt. Derrick Anderson, Malone's partner in the competition and Fredericksburg, VA., native said. "We wanted to let the Ranger community and let the Army know that the Old Guard is also a tactically sound unit that has veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq just as any other unit does, and to let them know that we can hang with the big dogs."