By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coffee The Old Guard Public AffairsApril 12, 2011
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) is the official ceremonial unit and escort to the president of the United States. They traditionally are perfectionist when it comes to drill and ceremony and memorial affairs, but four Soldiers are pushing themselves beyond The Old Guard standard. They are trying to win the best ranger competition.
Fort Benning, Ga., is celebrating the 28th Best Ranger Competition 2011, starting April 15. Dick Leandri, a former commanding officer of military affairs, first started the competition in 1982 as a way to honor his friend, Lt. Gen. David Grange Jr. It was created to salute the best two-man buddy team from throughout the entire United States Armed Forces.
''I am competing in this year's best ranger competition so that I can prove to myself that there is nothing out there that is too great for me to take on. Also, to show my Soldiers that no matter the adversities that you may face, as long as you put in a lot of hard work and dedication then you can accomplish anything," said Sgt. 1st Class John Rhoten, Charlie Company, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
The competition is a three-day event that tests both mental and physical fitness with little rest between events.
Historically, BRC has a 60 percent failure rate. The competition is designed to challenge and surprise the competitors. So much so competitors are not made aware of the test sequence until they arrive at the test site.
''We have been preparing for this competition full time for the last 13 weeks. We have run, rucked, lifted and trained more in the last three months than any of us has in our military careers," said Maj. Ed Arnston, deputy regimental operations officer.
With such a high attrition rate Soldiers find different goals. Some enter the competition hoping to just finish, while others have their eyes set on winning the entire competition.
''Our goal as a team is to build on the success that The Old Guard team had last year. The main thing though is just making it through each individual task and just focusing on what is ahead of us and not trying to be overwhelmed by the whole competition. We are showing up to compete and finish, we aren't just going down there to get a T-shirt," said Rhoten.
The Soldiers competing in BRC aren't the only ones that have to endure challenges. With all the intense training and the long hours away from home, spouses and Family members are also strained.
''My wife is proud that I am competing, but I know she'll be happy when the competition is over because I have had to be gone quite a bit to train for this competition. She'll be happy to have me around more. I know my Family is proud of me, and they are looking forward to coming down to watch the competition," said Arnston.
There are two teams from The Old Guard that are competing in BRC. The teams are scheduled to leave April 4 for Fort Benning.
The teams will have one week to get acclimated to the installation before the competition begins.