Best Ranger winners call Fort Benning home - WRBL

Best Ranger winners call Fort Benning home

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FORT BENNING, Ga. -

The Best Ranger Competition is over and two of Fort Benning's own came out on top this year. Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was at today's ceremony to commend the champions.

SFC Raymond Santiago and SFC Tim Briggs of Fort Benning's Ranger Training Brigade were all smiles after a weekend of events that tested the extent of their physical and mental mettle.

Climbing 60 feet of rope and rescuing casualties were just a few of the events contenders faced at the BRC this year.

This was Santiago's third time entering the challenge and he says rookie partner Briggs made all the difference. "I've been in 3rd place, 2nd place, and finally this year it came through," he says. "Tim has been very...technically and physically, we match up well together and I think we never fought!"

Colin Powell remembers his days as a ranger fondly. He says the men who compete in the Best Ranger Competition are truly the best of the best.

Powell says, "I still smile when I think about that moment of total exhaustion on one of those trails when I was starting to hallucinate, day after day and night after night, and I still remember vividly 55 years later. At one point we took a break, and I reached into my pocket, and I pulled out an imaginary quarter, so I could put in the imaginary Coke machine right in front of me."

After day one of the competition 26 teams had fallen out of the running. The contest was almost canceled due to financial concerns in the Army. Instead organizers chose to use less ammunition and more physical events.

While the teams were faced with many adverse conditions during the BRC, Santiago and Briggs say humor is what helped them make it through. "The humor was kind of our trademark throughout the competition," says Briggs. "Pretty much, there wasn't a day that didn't start without a humorous comment or some kind of snide remark about something right off the bat just to get the day going right."

Briggs and Santiago are the first Fort Benning partners to win Best Ranger since 2009. The 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning also posted five teams in the top ten.

Powell added that the lessons he learned at Fort Benning helped him become the leader he is today.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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