FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) – As the sun rose on the third and final day of competition, rangers repelled down the National Guard’s ‘Warrior Training Center’ tower before completing various obstacles. The best of the best rangers are competing in the 39th annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition on Fort Benning.
On Friday 51 ranger qualified teams of two set out to showcase their skills, and on Sunday 16 teams remained. But only one team will be the 39th best ranger.
Three days, two nights, and 60 hours of grueling competition tests rangers’ physical and mental toughness.
“Most of these competitors today have not got unready. They’ve stayed ready the entire time because it’s a mindset that becomes behavior, which becomes their actions every day, which is discipline habits that they have to keep themselves in fighting form.”Colonel Antwan L. Dunmyer – Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade
Teams are judged on completion time and accuracy throughout the various ranger tasks and are deducted for not meeting requirements.
“It’s building off of the Ranger School experience itself, what they experienced in Ranger School is going to be a lot of what they’re seeing here again, and that drive and stamina that they might have found in Ranger School is going to be applied here.”Sergeant First Class – Eric Swenson
Rangers were then helicoptered in where they are tested on their combat water survival skills. Teams jumped out of helicopters and made a 400-meter swim, followed by making their way across an eight-inch bean 30 feet in the air before pulling themselves across the rope grabbing the ranger tab and dropping into the water. Rangers then run a weighted pully up the 75-foot tower, which they then zipline down into the water. Balance and strength are truly tested.
“Especially after two days of previous physical exertion, this will be a little more challenging than normal.”Sergeant First Class – Eric Swenson
Some rangers intrinsically dig deep for that motivation and for others it’s an external factor, but at the end of the day, it’s the selfless act to serve.
“That’s why we do this. Every Ranger. We don’t represent ourselves. We understand that we represent a much higher purpose. And that’s hey, to be the best and make our army the best.”Colonel Antwan L. Dunmyer – Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade
Teams also completed first responder demonstrations. The focus: contact, evaluate, treat, protect and hoist. The mission doesn’t stop there. On the ‘Red Cloud Range’, rangers were tasked with engaging targets with M72 LAW and 60mm mortars as well as firing an M2 .50 Cal Machine Gun.
Colonel Dunmyer says, the world-class competition sends messages across the world.
“Yes, it’s the competition itself, and we’re giving back to our army because we’re demonstrating human capability but we’re also signaling to our adversaries, hey, this is the United States Army and you don’t want to mess with us. Right, because we’ll bring it when it’s time.”Colonel Antwan L. Dunmyer – Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade
Team’s physical, mental, technical, and tactical skills are all tested as they complete back-to-back events featuring fired weapons, extended foot marches, land navigation courses, and many other Ranger-specific tasks.
But at the end of the weekend, only one best ranger team will stand.
The 2022 Best Ranger will be announced Monday, April 11.