2010 - EPISODE 1:
Tensions are high as Soldiers prepare for 59 hours of grueling competition.
In 2009, elite Army Rangers converged on Fort Benning, Georgia, to determine the best of the best.
Sergeant First Class Simms and Sergeant First Class Stackpole took on the toughest course in recent history. In 59 hours, these highly trained soldiers would attempt to endure and conquer what a student takes 60 days to learn. Battling harsh elements, braving unimaginable physical challenges, testing the limits of mental anguish, these select few competed in one of the harshest trials known to man. Many succumbed along the way to mental attrition and brute exhaustion. Many others staggered to the finish through sheer will, completely spent, but only one team, Stackpole and Simms, emerged on the other side, victorious.
Sergeant First Class Chad Stackpole: Once again, we’re back here at Fort Benning, Georgia, where 84 qualified Rangers that make up the 42 Ranger buddy teams are here to compete for the title of Best Ranger.
The United States Army makes up less than one percent of the nation’s population and less than one percent of the Army makes up the Ranger community. Each year less than a hundred qualified Rangers accept the challenge. Of those who compete, only half make it through the first day. For the next three days, each Ranger will carry more than 70 pounds on their back while covering over 60 miles nonstop with virtually no sleep. This is the Best Ranger Competition.
Last year, Team 5, Malchow and Collins, from the 75th Ranger Regiment, finished third. This year, they are the highest finishing team from the previous competition.
Sergeant Jesse Collins: We just went into it trying to do the best we could, go for top ten and we ended up getting third.
Sergeant Michael Malchow: Hopefully, this year we’ve learned from last year quite a bit, and we’ll be able to take it this year.
Stackpole: Readily why display, the intestinal fortitude required to fight under the Ranger objective, and complete the mission, “Though I be the lone survivor.” Sergeant Jeremy Billings of the 75th Ranger Regiment has made that commitment. He has competed in the previous three Best Ranger competitions.
Sergeant Jeremy Billings: Competing in this competition four times, it just, something I feel like I have to do until I win it, even if it takes 10 times.
For Sergeant Major Moran, it is also his second attempt at winning. He is looking to become the second two-time winner of the overall competition. This competition is contagious in the fact that every Ranger is hungry to win.
Captain Aaron Chonko: This is my second year, and this is the ultimate competition, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end, when you completed the grueling three days.
Stackpole: In preparation for the competition, each one of these Rangers will be issued a standard Colt M4 Carbine. It is up to them to zero it in. They will all be given time to familiarize themselves with the weapons they will encounter during the competition.
The next area in which the Rangers will be familiarized is the Tri-Tower. It is a 60-foot wall that will test the Rangers’ confidence on the second day.
As the third and final familiarization, each team must prove their proficiency by exiting a UH60 Black Hawk helicopter. This is to certify them for the Spot Jump event during Day 1.
It’s looking to be another great competition. Forty-two teams have assembled here at Fort Benning, Georgia, in an attempt to earn the title of Best Ranger. Who will it be?
Next up, we’ll hit the grueling Buddy Run and the Ranger Irvin obstacle course. If you think you’re tired after that, well, the competition has barely started.
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