Words by Wes O'Donnell.
Congratulations to 2nd Lt. Michael Rose and 2nd Lt. John Bergman of the 25th Infantry Division, this year’s winners of the Best Ranger Competition. The 31st annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition took place this week at Fort Benning Georgia. This three day event hosted 50 teams who competed in both mental and physical challenges over the course of the weekend. After the intense competition the best two-man team was determined victors. This competition is open to all those in the U.S. Armed Services.
Competitors participated in events such as road marches of un-revealed distance, weapons firing testing both speed and accuracy, hand grenade tossing, medical issue adaptation, navigation courses, obstacle courses, helicopter jumps and zip lining to name a few. These Rangers covered approximately 75 miles over the course of the weekend with very little to no sleep and extremely brief meal breaks as they participated in back to back events over a period of 60 hours. Of the 50 teams participating, only 26 made it to the final day with 6 being eliminated after the initial road march and 26 others withdrawing due to medical conditions.
The Best Ranger Competition began back in 1982 as a way for Dick Leandri to honor a personal friend Lieutenant General David E. Grange, Jr. The Lieutenant General held the positions of past director of the Ranger Department and former Commanding General of Fort Benning, Georgia. He served in over twenty campaigns spanning three wars as an infantryman earning several distinguished awards along the way. He was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his contributions and dedicated service to his country and U.S. Army as a Ranger qualified leader. Leandri wanted a way to show respect to his friend in the form of a recurring annual event. To do this he, along with other colleagues formed the Chairborne Rangers, Inc. to help establish and support the event.
The three-day competition will conclude on Sunday April 13th. A formal awards ceremony will be held today to recognize this year’s winners. Congratulations to this year’s winners and all those who participated.
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