Fort Benning’s Infantry Week used to be the home of 4 major competitions for military members- Best Sniper, Best Ranger, Best Mortar Competition, and Army Combatives Tournament. Two of those, the Mortar and Combatives competitions have not been reinstated yet after the Covid situation. As we previously reported, the 2021 Best Sniper competiton was held early last week. The 37th Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition was held from Friday to Sunday. The grueling course saw 51 teams of two in the matchups in what is described as the “Super Bowl for Rangers.”
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“It’s really a testament to what these individuals do in Ranger School – limited sleep, limited food, moving long distances with different amounts of poundage on your back. Just strenuous activity that is mentally and physically draining – to include having to execute various technical and tactical skills along the way. I mean, this is the Super Bowl for the Army right here. This is the Super Bowl for Rangers.”
Col. Antwan Dunmyer, Commander, Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade
The schedule – sound like fun to you? (Note: yes, they all had to adhere to the military’s Covid rules in between events)
The rivalry pits the military’s best two man teams against each other. One of the first competitions Saturday morning required the teams to “assemble a radio, and fire weapons from vehicles and the ground in darkness.”
They also had to complete chin-ups, a swim under razor wire, and rope climbing during the obstacle courses.
And don’t forget those ‘fast rope jumps’ out of a helicopter into the “Victory Pond.”
The competition began Friday with a predawn nine-mile run and ended Sunday afternoon with a final buddy run that saw Rangers 1st Lt. Vince Paikowski and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys cross the finish line first. In between those runs, competitors navigated a series of obstacle courses, an urban-assault course, eight marksmanship events with various firearms, a combat-fitness test, swims across Victory Pond, a nighttime land navigation course, and fast-rope jumps out of helicopters.
Army 1st. Lt. Vince Paikowski and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys, assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, were the winners of this year’s competition.
“In this competition, anything can happen, but you’ve got to forget the bad things when they happen and you have got to build on the good things when those happen. So, we just tried to use the good things as momentum and have a short memory on the bad things.”
1st Lt. Vince Paikowski
Featured photo: 1st Lt. Alastair Keys and 1st Lt. Vince Palkowski, assigned to 75th Ranger Regiment, raise their awarded pistols to the sky as becoming 2021 Best Rangers on Fort Benning, Georgia, April 19, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christian Simmons) All photos in public domain via Dvidshub.
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Author: Faye Higbee
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