Fifty teams will compete when the 28th annual Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning starts three weeks earlier than last year.
The competition, hosted April 15-17 by the Ranger Training Brigade, will test each two-man team during the 60-hour endurance event to determine the best Ranger team in the military. The grueling competition starts earlier than last year to give soldiers time to spend with families on Mother’s Day, said Col. John King, commander of the Ranger Training Brigade.
During a briefing on the competition Friday, King wouldn’t disclose key details but said there would be road marching, firing weapons, operating radios, first aid training and swimming. “Everything is done on a point system,” he said.
About 60 percent -- or 30 teams -- won’t finish the competition with many falling on the first day.
“We lose the majority in the first 24 hours,” King said. “The first day is extremely intense. There is no rest.”
King described the competition as a combination of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon of running, swimming and bicycling and the Eco Challenge. “Add weapons and ammo and put it over a three-day period,” King said.
Rangers taking part in the event are among the top noncommissioned officers and officers in the military. “These are individuals that are not afraid to push themselves and to be challenged mentally and physically to see how much they can push themselves to the next level,” King said.
Anyone who graduated from the Ranger School is eligible to compete. Soldiers start preparing up to six months before the competition with conditioning equal to some Olympic athletes. Some have repeated the competition for the third or fourth time.
One of the biggest goals is to complete the competition. The difference between first and second place can be one to two points.
“The goal for the majority of the teams that enter is not actually to win the event but to finish the competition,” King said.
For some Rangers, the competition is addictive, like being a NASCAR driver or a football player, King said. “It is just a passion for the competition.”
Family members and relatives of Rangers may watch some of the public events at Camp Rogers. Information, maps and flyers on the competition will be available at the Interstate 185 checkpoint. Visitors should request a three-day pass.