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Army’s best Rangers vie for title

FORT BENNING, Ga. (TRADOC News Service, April 13, 2005) – They come from every state across the nation. Big city and small-town USA, they look nothing alike, yet they are all the same.

They are this nation’s national treasure, its greatest hope, and they embody the American spirit.

They gather every year to compete for the ultimate title in the U.S. military – they want to be U.S. Army Best Ranger winners.

For three days, they will put everything on the line. The competition will put them to the ultimate test. It will drive them physically and mentally to the limits of human endurance.

The grueling 22nd U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition will commence at 6 a.m. April 22 on Malvesti Field, Fort Benning, Ga. The competition, which runs April 22-24, will pit some of the world’s finest Ranger teams against one another as they compete for the coveted David E. Grange Jr. trophy.

The three-day Best Ranger Competition, established in 1982, tests the Rangers’ physical, mental and strategic abilities over 60 straight hours. The two-man teams rarely have time to sleep and get little to eat – only when they can find time. On average, only a quarter of the teams that enter actually finish the last event, so it is no wonder this event is often compared to the Ironman and Eco-Challenge competitions.

Many of the Soldiers participating in the competition are coming directly from an overseas combat deployment. During combat operations, Soldiers do not have the luxury of dedicated training time.

The Best Ranger Competition is filled with unknown events. The teams begin the competition with a strict, standardized equipment list and with little idea of the surprises and rigors that lie ahead. Past events include expert weapon firing, foot marches more than 20 miles long, dozens of kilometers of land navigation, Ranger skills, parachute jumps and even a tomahawk throw.

Each event is timed, and each team is assessed points upon completion.

The winners will be presented their coveted trophy and their Best Ranger Competition pistols at the Ranger Memorial at 10 a.m. April 25. The 2004 Best Ranger Competition winners were Staff Sgt. Colin Boley and Staff Sgt. Adam Nash, both combat veterans assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Carswell leads the way during the litter-carry event of the 2004 Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga. Carswell and his teammate, Capt. Kevin O'Connor, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, both first-time competitors, finished eighth in the '04 BRC. The BRC started with a field of only 19 teams, less than half the usual number, and quickly dwindled to eight.

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