2010 - EPISODE 3:
Soldiers operate the standard issue M4 Carbine. This is a warrior skill: Shoot, Move, and Communicate!
After the longest Best Ranger opening event in history, followed quickly by the Urban Obstacle Course, the buddy teams are at full throttle and will need to stay there.
CSM Dennis Smith: They come up here till now, they been outside and doing the out obstacle course, and it’s pretty grueling; the guys are pretty tired – we’ve already lost one team – but the teams that are out front are doing extremely well. They’re gonna pick up the rucksacks; they’re going on the orienteering course.
The smothering heat and humidity is affecting Sergeant First Class Rippey as he battles to keep fluids down, risking hydration. Team 15 must quickly regroup and focus on the task at hand, close the gap on the leaders.
Sergeant First Class Rippey: Feeling much better now.
This event is a fundamental Ranger skills test. Now, throw on a 70-pound rucksack and it becomes a two-mile smoke fest. Armed with only a map, grid sheet, protractor and a compass, they have to hit three weigh points within the allotted two hours or be dropped from the competition. No GPS crutch for this one. The orienteering course will take them to the next challenge. Team 6, Ross and Turk, are the first to complete the orienteering course, maintaining their lead over the rest of the field. They’ll operate the standard issue M4 carbine. This is a warrior skill: shoot, move and communicate.
Sergeant First Class Chad Stackpole: These Rangers have already finished an orienteering course where they’ll immediately move into the Stress Shoot Range. Their minds are smoked, their bodies are smoked. The task, conditions, standards for the next event which is the Malone 3 Stress Shoot, is to effectively shoot, move and communicate as a buddy team, while maneuvering through a flat range. They have to make the sound tactical decision, effectively move as a team, communicate as a team and cover one of those fires as they move throughout this range.
Captain Aaron Chonko: It’s a buddy team, so as opposed to one person moving, he has to acknowledge to the other person that he is moving and the other person has to cover him, so any targets that are up at that time he can shoot while the other person moves. It’s supposed to replicate an actual fight, maybe oversees or so, in Iraq or Afghanistan, in moving while under fire.
Stackpole: Competitors will be evaluated on their overall time, their ability to knock down targets, and to shoot and move as a team. Bottom line is the team with the most points and the fastest time wins.
Team 18, Captain Chonko and Captain Smith, in 13th place after orienteering, hope to move up with a strong performance in the Stress Shoot.
Providing movement cover is critical, especially when practical battle experiences are thrown in.
Stackpole: Sometime throughout this range, the Ranger’s weapon will malfunction. With that, he has to apply remedial action, place his weapon back in operation, and get it back up to let his partner know that they can continue on throughout the range. As a Ranger, this is a real-world situation; we encounter these on the battlefield, as well as throughout training. As an individual Ranger, you must be proficient at this skill of placing your weapon back into operation because the men on your left and right depend on you to get that weapon back up so you can effectively fight the enemy.
Chonko: These are some of the skills here, moving through this range, it’s easier, things are taught to you as a soldier, from private to basic training, on up.
The heat is becoming a major factor, especially when you’re loaded down with full body armor.
Chonko: It’s harder than I thought, just with the target set that we’re up to; it’s harder to see them. They weren’t up very long, and the heat right now, it’s getting pretty hot out in the midday.
Next time, it’s a leap of faith into the Spot Jump.
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