By Staff. Sgt. Thaddius S. Dawkins II, 49th Public Affairs Detachment (Airborne)April 14, 2012
FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 14, 2012) -- Day two of the 29th Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition continued today with 34 of the 50 teams remaining.
Following a mentally and physically grueling first day, teams competed in an estimated 15-mile, overnight foot march to Todd Field for additional challenges at Ranger Day Stakes.
"These competitors have been going since 6 a.m. Friday," said Army 2nd Lt. Joseph Hyer, a logistics officer for this year's competition. "They are fatigued, hungry and have had a minimum amount of food and sleep since this thing kicked off."
Although teams were worn down from the day one events, they started the day positive and were looking forward to what day two had to bring.
"We are feeling a lot better than we thought we would be following day one," said Army Staff Sgt. Samuel Leritz, a competitor with team 24. "We were feeling tired when we first woke up. Now that we are up and moving around, we are feeling good and we are ready to take on today's events."
During Day Stakes, teams were graded on six lanes involving tasks they are expected to know -- a grenade assault course, the Ranger first responder's medical lane, a tri-tower challenge, radio and communications testing, how-to properly bore-site an M-4 Carbine rifle and an unknown mystery event.
The lanes concluded with a seventh event, a stress shoot at Krilling Range. The teams were transported to the seventh event by a Stryker Infantry Carrying Vehicle.
The stress shoot tested the Rangers' marksmanship on various weapons from different eras of war. Weapons such as the M-1 Garand and M1903 Springfield Armory 30-06 were fired at various targets. While moving from firing point to firing point, the Rangers were tested in their ability to move through obstacles while carrying a 180-pound "casualty" with them.
"We need to perform well today on these lanes," Leritz said. "We feel today kind of goes into our strong-suit. We are in eighth place right now, and hopefully we can bump up the rankings with these lanes."
Upon the completion of Day Stakes, the teams will be putting their orienteering skills to test during a night land navigation course, which will take them into the final day of competition. During the course, the teams will be tasked with navigating through approximately seven miles of various terrain while using a minimum amount of light and sound. Along the way, teams are required to locate two checkpoints.
The events for Sunday include a water confidence test, a leader challenge and a final buddy run to the finish line.
The leader challenge on Sunday begins with the Ranger teams fast roping from a helicopter into York Field on Fort Benning. Once the teams arrive, they will be racing to move various pieces of equipment from start to finish, in the shortest amount of time.
The leader challenge is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., Sunday on Main Post to give spectators easier access to view the Rangers demonstrating their vast array of capabilities, according to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Dean, Ranger Training Brigade.