Holding their prize pistols into the air Monday morning, the winners of the David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition stood silently as the cameras flashed.
Master Sgt. Kevin Foutz and Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Payne then lowered their weapons, handed them to soldiers standing nearby and prepared for the questions.
Foutz, 30, and Payne, 28, beat 49 other teams in the three-day event to take first place on Sunday in what’s been described as “Ranger Olympics.” Only 34 of the 50 teams competing finished the grueling series of tasks. Everyone who finished the Best Ranger competition was honored Monday in McGinnis-Wickham Hall.
It was Payne’s third time to compete and the first for Foutz. Both men serve with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.
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“I guess third time’s the charm,” said Payne. “It’s a great feeling.”
Foutz agreed. “It really is an amazing feeling. It just refreshes your soldier skills. It makes you a better soldier.”
Read more about the Best Ranger competition in Tuesday's Ledger-Enquirer.