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37th annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition
April 17, 2020 - April 20, 2020
The three-day David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition runs from April 17 through 20 and sees the Army’s best two-person Ranger teams compete for the title of Best Ranger.
During its three punishing, sleep-deprived days, Ranger teams compete across a 75-mile swath of terrain, shoot at eight firing ranges, and complete a variety of demanding Ranger tasks of the type they’d perform in combat.
The Best Ranger Competition is one of the most prestigious in the U.S. military and is one of the most physically grueling competitions in the world. As is the Army’s Ranger School here, its known for its extraordinary physical and mental demands and for the level of proficiency required.
Best Ranger Competition’s April 17 opening ceremony at Camp Rogers starts a day that includes, among other events, the rigors of the Malvesti Confidence Course, as well as an urban assault course, competitions in marksmanship and weapons assembly, an obstacle course, and a rugged, timed foot march that typically lasts into the late night. Typically, that march reduces the field of Best Ranger competitors by nearly half.
Scheduled for Day 2, April 18, a Saturday, are a variety of events starting at 1 a.m., to include a series of “stakes” — events that test various Ranger skills — like tying knots, shooting accurately, and using proper methods to treat battlefield casualties.
Those “night stakes,” at Galloway Range, give way to “day stakes” at Todd Field, followed by an obstacle course at Camp Rogers in the late afternoon. The day’s final event is a land navigation test in which competitors rely on map, compass and other means to find their way overland in the dark.
April 19, Day 3, includes one of the cornerstone events of the Best Ranger Competition: the Darby Queen Obstacle Course, at Camp Darby. The course is a one-mile trail that runs through wooded, uneven terrain and confronts competitors with a punishing series of 25 obstacles of various types. They have such names as “Skyscraper,” “Tarzan,” and “Dirty Name.” Competitors must proceed as swiftly as possible through the Darby Queen.
Also scheduled are a “helocast” in which Ranger teams gather their rucksacks, weapons and other gear, enclose them in ponchos forming a bundle that’s been prepared to float, and, aboard a helicopter over a body of water, cast themselves and their equipment bundle into the water, and swim off with the bundle to their next objective.
The competitors will also face a Combat Water Survival Assessment that tests their confidence operating in water. In one test they walk across a log positioned 30 feet above water, then crawl the next distance along a rope until, about 20 feet from the start-point, they release their grip and fall into the water.
In the other test, 100 feet above water, they slide down a zip-line cable then drop into the water.
During the final event, at Patton Range, competitors will fire mortars and other weapons, followed by a final buddy run, which Rangers must complete as a team.
The Best Ranger Competition awards ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 20, a Monday, inside McGinnis-Wickam Hall’s Marshall Auditorium