Best ranger competition

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Best Ranger Competition

Annual competition held in Fort Benning, GA, US for active military members who are Ranger Qualified

U.S. Army Capt. James McClare and 1st Lt. Anthony Day participating in the 2016 Best Ranger Competition.

The David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition is an annual competition held in Fort Benning, Georgia hosted by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. It is a two-man team competition where competitors must be active military who are Ranger Qualified.[1]

The Best Ranger Competition was first held in 1982.[1] The first competitions were limited to Ranger units, but from 1984 onwards it accepted teams from throughout the Army.[2] As of 2018, the competition involves 50 two-man teams, mostly from the 75th Ranger Regiment and the ARTB, but also including a Coast Guard team.[3] The competition takes 62 hours and involves tests of physical fitness, including runs and marches, and of marksmanship. The exact composition of events changes yearly.[3]

CPT Mike Rose won BRC for the 3rd time in his career in 2019, making him the only Service Member to win it three times (two with the same partner, one with another), making him the Best Ranger in History. Three people have won the competition twice, all with different partners for the two victories.[2]

CPT Mike Rose also only entered 3 times and won on all occasions. In 2014 he entered as a 2Lt. while at 25th Infantry Division with 2Lt. John Bergman - making them the youngest winners. In 2017 while at 75 Ranger Regiment CPT Mike Rose entered and won with MSG. Joshua Horsager (at 39 years old making Joshua the oldest winner) In 2019 CPT. Mike Rose entered again with CPT. John Bergman while representing 101st Airborne Division. In 2019 the rules were modified to allow contestants a maximum of 3 entries over their career making CPT. Mike Rose accomplishment highly unlikely to equal.

Sergeant Major Thomas Payne, who won the 2012 competition as a Sergeant First Class, had his Distinguished Service Cross upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump on September 11, 2020, the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.[4]

The 2020 Competition was scheduled to be from April 16-18 but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, officials decided to cancel the 2020 event but with plans to continue with the 2021 competition.[5]

List of winners[edit]

1982 SFC Philip Sebay SFC Charles Light 3rd Ranger Company, Benning Ranger Division
1983 SSG Michael Tilson SSG Kevin Connell 2nd Ranger Company, Mountain Ranger Division
1984 SGT David Bazemore III SGT Gregory Georgevitch 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
1985 SSG Harvey Moore, Jr. SGT Paul Scurka HHC, 75th Ranger Regiment
1986 SGT Paul Scurka SGT Bart Sexton HHC, 75th Ranger Regiment
1987 SSG Joe Ullibari SGT Ross Wilson 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
1988 SGT John Schlichte SPC Karl Schlichte 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
1989 SGT Guy Fichtelman SGT Mike Sonnenschein 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
1990 SSG Mark Sheehan SSG Bobby Beiswanger 4th Ranger Training Brigade
1991 Canceled due to Operation Desert Storm.
1992 SFC Tom Wilburn AFC Alven Brashier 5th Ranger Training Brigade
1993 CPT Blain Reeves SSG Erik Wilson 4th Ranger Training Brigade
1994 CPT Edward Garcia 1LT Michael Richardson 82nd Airborne Division
1995 SSG Eric White CPT Michael Trisler 25th Infantry Division
1996 SSG Jeff StrueckerSPC Isaac Gmazel 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
1997 2LT Jay Hansen 2LT Chris Robershaw 101st Airborne Division
1998 SFC Eric Riley SSG Thomas Smith 4th Ranger Training Brigade
1999 SSG Kevin Teran SSG Jim Moran Ranger Training Brigade
2000 2LT Mark Messerschmitt 2LT Ahern Infantry Officer Basic Course Detachment
2001 GYSGT Keith Oakes SFC William Patterson 5th Ranger Training Battalion
2002 CPT Duane Patin SSG Daniel Jenkins 5th Ranger Training Battalion
2003 Canceled due to the Invasion of Iraq
2004 SSG Colin Boley SSG Adam Nash 75th Ranger Regiment
2005 CPT Corbett McCallum SFC Gerald Nelson 4th Ranger Training Battalion
2006 SFC John Sheaffer SPC Mikhail Venikov 75th Ranger Regiment
2007 MAJ Liam Collins MSG Walter Zajkowski United States Special Operations Command
2008 SSG Shayne Cherry SSG Michael Broussard 75th Ranger Regiment
2009 SFC Blake Simms SFC Chad Stackpole Ranger Training Brigade
2010 MSG Eric Turk MSG Eric Ross United States Special Operations Command
2011 MSG Eric Turk MSG Walter Zajkowski United States Special Operations Command
2012 MSG Kevin Foutz SFC Thomas PayneUnited States Special Operations Command
2013 SFC Raymond Santiago SFC Timothy Briggs Ranger Training Brigade
2014 2LT Michael Rose 2LT John Bergman 25th Infantry Division
2015 SFC Timothy Briggs SFC Jeremy Lemma Airborne & Ranger Training Brigade
2016 CPT Robert Killian SSG Erich Friedlein Army National Guard
2017 MSG Joshua Horsager CPT Michael Rose 75th Ranger Regiment
2018 SFC Rolfes SFC Allen Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade
2019 CPT Michael Rose CPT John Bergman 101st Airborne Division
2020 Cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic[6]
2021 1LT Vince Paikowski 1LT Alastair Keys 75th Ranger Regiment


  1. ^ ab"The Competition". Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  2. ^ abLeonard, Chuck (April 11, 2018). "Military Matters: Annual Best Ranger Competition returns to Ft. Benning". WTVM.
  3. ^ abMyers, Meghann (April 13, 2018). "Best Ranger competition kicks off with first Coastie, Army Cyber teams". ArmyTimes.
  4. ^"Sergeant Major Thomas P. Payne to receive the Medal of Honor from President Trump on 9/11/2020". Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  5. ^"2020 Best Ranger Competition officially cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic but the 2021 event planning process is underway, with a planned execution 16-18 April 2021". April 16, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  6. ^"2020 Best Ranger Competition officially cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic". April 16, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Best Ranger Competition at Wikimedia Commons



BEST RANGEr Scheduled for 8-11 April 2022


The Best Ranger Competition 2022, is the 38th annual celebration of this grueling competition, starring the best soldiers of the world, our United States Army, RANGERS! The Best Ranger Competition was started in 1982 after Dick Leandri found a way to honor his personal friend, Lieutenant General David E. Grange, Jr. This years Best Ranger is on and scheduled from 8-11 April 2022. As COVID measures are actively being taken and the status changes, please visit the Infantry Week website for up to date guidance on COVID conditions and restrictions. Our thoughts and hopes are with our entire team of Supporters, Competitors, and community that make the entire Team Ranger come together every year and “Lead The Way”.

The competition has evolved over the past thirty seven years from once that was originally created to salute the best two man "buddy" team in the Ranger Department at Fort Benning, GA to determine the best two-man team from the entire United States Armed Forces. 

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Team 34 From the 75th Ranger Regiment Wins 2021 Best Ranger Competition

The 2021 David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition is over, with the title of “Best Ranger” coming back home to the 75th Ranger Regiment. Team 34’s 1st Lt. Vince Paikowski and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys were announced the victors shortly after completing the final buddy run to the finish line at Fort Benning, Georgia. Team 34 never gave up the top spot since taking it at the end of the first day of competition.

On Friday, the 37th annual event kicked off after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, with 51 two-man teams vying for the title. 2020 was the first year since 2003 that the event was canceled.

The Best Ranger Competition is a US Army event supported by The National Ranger Association Inc. The competition is held annually and is considered one of the most physically rigorous endurance events in the military. Competitors are tested in a nonstop series of events that are meant to push them both physically and mentally, while judging their ability to execute a variety of military skills.

Paikowski and Keys will be officially announced as the 2021 Best Ranger winners during a ceremony Monday on Fort Benning. Their victory signals the first time the 75th Ranger Regiment has won since 2017, when Capt. Michael Rose and Master Sgt. Josh Horsager were crowned Best Rangers.

Best Ranger Competition 2021 Training

Best Ranger Competition, the Army’s 'Super Bowl,' Returns to Fort Benning

FORT BENNING, Ga. – For three nearly nonstop days, some of the Army’s most-skilled soldiers overcame a lack of sleep to tough out brutal obstacle courses, miles-long runs and marches, and weapons and tactics challenges as they moved some 75 miles across Fort Benning for a chance at the title of Best Ranger.

The grueling contest, which tests 52 teams of Ranger School graduates on a wide range of skills, returned to the Army post in Georgia last week after a rare cancelation in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic stopped nearly all military movement last spring. In the end, a team of first lieutenants from Fort Benning’s own 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment walked away the winners of the 37th annual Best Ranger Competition.

“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,” said Col. Antwan Dunmyer, the commander of Fort Benning’s Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, which hosts the competition. “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.”

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.

“That's what we ask our young Rangers to be able to do, [and] to be able to train young soldiers to be able to do this successfully in combat,” Dunmyer said. “I mean, everything we see within the Best Ranger competition is what we would do at some point in combat.”

Before last year, Best Ranger had only been canceled twice before – in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and again in 2003 during the opening weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

That, in part, is why Fort Benning officials worked so hard to hold the signature event of its annual Infantry Week contests this year, said Maj. Gen. David Hodne, the Army’s chief of infantry, who oversees Infantry Week. Hodne and others began planning in the fall to bring a scaled-back Infantry Week to Fort Benning, and top Army officials in January approved the Best Ranger contest and the Best Sniper event held last week.

Hodne, a veteran of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, cheered competitors on from the sideline Friday in the opening events of the Best Ranger competition. He said he was awed by the physical and mental displays the – mostly young – soldiers put on in the competition.

“They’re all obviously exceptionally fit,” Hodne said watching as Rangers navigated their first obstacle course of the contest – completing chinups, climbing a rope, and finishing with a swim below razor-wire. “They’re going to show through these days that they have incredible physical skill, marksmanship, and there’s a whole lot of strategy that goes into it.”

The winners, Hodne said, likely found the best pace to navigate the three-day course.

He also said he hopes to see Fort Benning return to a full slate of Infantry Week events next year, bringing back the Army’s Combatives Tournament and its Best Mortar competition, in addition to the Best Ranger and Best Sniper events held this year.

“Each of the competitions are unique and representative of each of these community’s expertise,” Hodne said. “And that’s what I love about them. The sniper and mortar competitions – those really allow for sharing of best practices, techniques, tactics and procedures. And then combatives is really important – that’s close combat, that’s close with and destroy [the enemy]. It’s the spirit of the infantry … and we want to bring that all back.”

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Ranger competition best

Why the Best Ranger Competition is one of the hardest races in the US military

Ever participated in a Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, or one of the other dozen ‘challenge courses’ popping up around the country?

They’re team-based events that typically feature a combination of difficult and/or ridiculous obstacles set over a several-mile course. Participants can expect to see such offerings as low-crawling under activated tasers, spear throwing, rope climbs, etc. They can last anywhere from an hour to most of the day.

These types of races, while fun, are generally focused more toward the physically fit (or at least physically mediocre), and not for the casual participant whose cobweb-covered gym equipment is collecting dust in the garage.

The US Army has taken this concept to a whole new level of badassery with the Best Ranger Competition, a soul-crushing race taking place at Ft Benning GA over 63 grueling hours.

Originally created by Richard Leandri and other local business sponsors in 1982 as a way to show support to both the local Ranger community and his personal friend, legendary infantryman LTG (ret) David Grange Jr, the event has evolved over the years into the one of the most challenging competitions in the entire military.

In its current form the Best Ranger consists of 50 two-man teams and is open to qualified applicants throughout the Army and other services (by exception).

While the exact structure of the race changes every year, competitors can always expect to face weapons skills and military tasks, long marches with heavy gear, brutal obstacles, land navigation and very little sleep.

While early iterations of the race were closed to most spectators, many of the events are now public, and have begun to be broadcast live.

The 2021 race was held last April, with 1LTs Vince Paikowski and Alastair Keys being declared the Best Rangers. They overcame one of the most challenging courses to-date.

Think you’ve got what it takes to compete in Best Ranger? Hate to break it to you, but probably not.

Competitors in the 2021 event began their day at 0600 with an opening ceremony at Camp Rogers, GA. Immediately following the formal presentations the participants conducted a buddy-run for several miles in boots and combat uniform. Once that’s complete teams moved to the Malvesti Obstacle course, where they faced a series of increasingly difficult, exercise, log, and rope-style challenges. Many of the events involve crawling or falling into water, making already sweat-soaked uniforms even heavier.

After the O-Course, the teams moved to Victory Pond for a timed swim across the water. Once that’s complete, the participants begin another buddy run to the McKenna training site over various types of broken terrain, taking several hours. Did we mention they’re now wearing body armor?

Once they reached the McKenna training site they completed another obstacle course, this one in urban terrain, dragging simulated casualties, climbing (and jumping off) buildings, and carrying weighted litters.

After the obstacle course, competitors were airlifted via UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to the Wagner sniper range, where they acted as a spotter/shooter team to take out 5 enemy targets at distance.

When they completed the event at Wagner, teams moved to another range where they competed in a 3-gun challenge, using M4 carbines, M17 pistols, and M500 shotguns to score points in both accuracy and time.

Because you can never shoot too much (and this is an Army event), teams then had to complete an M4 qualification to standard with a zeroed weapon.

Once teams had both members shoot, they moved on to a modified ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test), since everyone knows the best time to take a PT test is after 6 hours of exercise.

After the physical events, teams got a small breather while they’re challenged with tasks like assembling various military weapons and equipment, after which they collected their gear and finished up the day like any good rangers, by walking for miles with a full rucksack, gear, and no idea how far they have to go.

The distance is kept a secret, but the event started at 1900 and goes until 0100, so you can do the math.

Exhausted yet? I’m tired just writing this.

After 18+ hours of running, marching, swimming, climbing, and shooting most people would be proud to accept a participation medal, take a few selfies for their social media accounts, and go home to shower.  But the teams competing in Best Ranger are not most people. In case you weren’t keeping track, this is just the end of day 1.

When (if) teams completed the march, they moved into hours of day and night stakes (situational military and physical challenges), like radio assembly, night shooting, grenade throwing, mortar placement, and first aid tasks before conducting a stress shoot.

For those of you who have never tried to shoot a weapon after several minutes of intense exercise; it’s pretty hard.

Teams still in the running got a short rest and then prepared for the night orienteering event. A vehicle picked up participants and took them to a predetermined point in the training boondocks of Ft Benning. They had maps and a protractor, as well as a sealed bag with a radio and GPS for emergencies. They were given a 10-digit grid coordinate and used their maps to navigate overland, avoiding roads and other teams to find that location. Once there, (and if at the correct spot) spotters gave them the grid location for the next point, and so on.  If any team spoke to another, used roads, or opened their emergency bag for any reason they received a penalty or were disqualified depending on the infraction.

The night orienteering event closed out day two and went well into the morning on day 3. Teams had another few short hours to rest before moving onto the infamous Darby Queen obstacle course. From there they were picked up by another helicopter and dumped (literally) back into Victory pond for their combat water survival assessments. Those still remaining finished up the afternoon with a mortar and LAW shoot (who wouldn’t want to watch guys competing for high explosive accuracy), and finally a buddy-run across the finish line.

After 63 savage, back-breaking hours, Paikowski and Keys were declared the Best Rangers of 2021.

If that doesn’t get your blood up then I don’t know what else will. But for those of us who love watching servicemembers push themselves right to the edge in a display of physical and technical prowess almost unmatched in civilian circles, the Best Ranger series is available now on Fox Nation, and for a limited time military members and veterans can click here to get a free one year subscription and enjoy Best Ranger as well as other amazing programming absolutely free.

This article is sponsored by Fox Nation.

2021 Best Ranger Competition Day 1

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