2009 EPISODE 2 of 12: THE BUDDY RUN
49 teams march into the darkness on a course of unknown length.
This is the 2009 BRC the toughest military competition known to mankind.
Ft. Benning, Georgia. Home to the U.S. Army Rangers. Zero five thirty hours, Camp Darby and the start of the 2009 Best Ranger Competition.
The first event: the Buddy Run. The Best Ranger Competition is 59 hours of Ranger tasks spread out over 100 square miles of Fort Benning, Georgia.
To compete in this event, you must be Ranger-qualified, meaning that you have successfully graduated from the sixty-one-day Ranger course, earning the coveted Ranger Tab and the respect of every other Soldier.
As part of the Task, Conditions and Standards of the Buddy Run, each Ranger is required to wear an Outer Tactical Vest (OTV). The OTV with ballistic plates weighs more than 24 pounds. Each two-man team must stay within arms lengths of each other at all times. Unknown to the competitors the course they will cover this year, is 4.5 miles long.
At zero six hundred hours, forty-nine Ranger teams launch into the dark starting the fifty-nine hours of the 2009 Best Ranger Competition.
Colonel Douglas Flohr: What we're doing is the Buddy Run, this morning's first event. What we like to do is stretch the teams out, as much as we can, right off the bat. What we have is 49 teams from all across the Army. This morning kicked off the event. Took off running in the dark. It's very exciting to watch them take off and head up that hill and go out into the darkness to something they don't really know what's waiting on. There is a substantial swamp right in the middle of the event and I think what you'll see is a lot of these guys will be pretty wet when they come out.
Unlike a traditional cross-country race, these Rangers have no idea over what terrain or how far they will be running. This challenges their ability to pace themselves. This is where the physical and mental toughness of a Ranger team pays off.
1SG Jerimiah E. Gan: Well, we kind of know what we have coming, but the biggest thing is maintaining; to be there at the end. And if you go a hundred percent through everything, there's no way you'll be there at the end.
As the field of a ninety-eight Rangers stretched out along the course, Team 8, Farmer and McDowell, both first time competitors, jumped out to an early lead. The question is have they spent too much energy too early.
Team 22 is the odds-on favorite to win this year. Both Rangers are past winners and understand what it takes to win.
Team 21 Simms and Stackpole competed last year and are all the wiser for it. Team 31, Antia and Mutchie. Last year Staff Sergeant Mutchie was part of the Cadres scoring the event. This year he's competing. His partner, Staff Sergeant Antia, competed last year with Sergeant First Class Stackpole. They finished fifth overall. Team 31 finished the Buddy Run in 18th place, well back of the leaders. The results of the Buddy Run make up the current standings and the starting order for the next event, the Darby Queen.
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