U.S. Army Special Operations Recruiting Briefings

Learn more about U.S. Army Special Operations for both officer and enlisted Soldiers. You will be able to engage with experience leaders, ask questions, and learn how to join the team of elite. Briefings are held weekly at noon in Ridgeway Hall, building 35, room 118.

Weekly briefing schedule:
Tuesdays: Psychological Operations
Wednesdays: Special Forces
Thursdays: Civil Affairs

For more information, call 706-545-3079, text ARSOF to 462-769, email timothy.r.long.mil@mail.mil. or visit U.S. Army Special Operations recruiting opportunities online at Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, U.S. Army.

U.S. Army Special Operations Brief: PSYOPs

Attend the upcoming Psychological Operations briefing to learn more about the training pathway, ask questions and get more information on career opportunities in Special Operations. Briefings are held noon Tuesdays in room 118, Rideway Hall, building 35. Need more information? Call or text 910-303-7396 or email eric.l.wenner@socom.mil.

For more information, call 808-557-9676 email jason.l.thompson70.mil@mail.mil. or visit U.S. Army Special Operations recruiting opportunities online at Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, U.S. Army.

U.S. Army Special Operations Recruiting Briefing: Civil Affairs

Attend the upcoming Civil Affairs briefing to learn more about the training pathway, ask questions and get more information on career opportunities in Special Operations. Briefings are held noon Thursdays in room 118, Rideway Hall, building 35. Need more information? Call or text 910-303-7396 or email eric.l.wenner@socom.mil.

37th annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition

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

International Sniper Competition

The International Sniper Competition brings together two-person sniper teams representing the U.S. military, international militaries, and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Planners expect about 30 teams to participate.

The competition puts to meticulous test a variety of sniper skills including marksmanship, observation, the ability to scout an area and give a useful report about what’s observed, and skill at moving with stealth and concealment. Fort Benning is home to the elite United States Army Sniper Course.

The competition begins with a 7:30 a.m. opening ceremony April 14 at the Sniper Course compound, after which competitors must run about 2.5 miles to Burroughs Range. There, they’ll board buses and be dropped off at various ranges where the many tests of their sniper skills will be in play over several days.

“The Sniper Competition is going to take these 30 teams and apply their sniper fundamentals, to be able to employ long-range precision fires, range estimation, advanced camouflage and movement techniques and other field craft skills,” said Capt. Gregory Elgort, formerly a commander of the Sniper Course and currently a plans officer with 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, part of the 199th Infantry Brigade here.

The competition also puts a premium on the snipers’ ability to figure out solutions to battlefield situations using keen critical thinking and on-the-spot ingenuity.

“An example of the rigors that they’re gonna have to face is using their expert target detection and observation skills to identify small or hidden targets in a variety of scenarios or backdrops,” said Elgort.

That can involve, for example, having to demonstrate their ability to spot — from distances of up to 400 meters — objects as small as a pen, well-concealed inside a treeline.

They will also have to fire their weapons at targets from distances ranging from 5 to 1,500 meters or more.

The schedule for Day 2, April 15, calls for further events on various ranges.

And April 16 is a day especially set up for the public.

To give spectators a clear and exciting look at the world of snipers, organizers are recommending the third day of the competition, April 16, which they’ve dubbed “Spectator Day,” Elgort said.

Spectator Day events are planned for Burroughs and Galloway ranges.

“We are definitely trying to craft Thursday — day three — as our ‘Spectator Day,’ and if anyone was going to try to come and watch I would encourage them to come and see the events occurring on Thursday,” Elgort said.

This year’s International Sniper Competition ends April 17 with a closing ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at MCoE headquarters, McGinnis-Wickam Hall, on Karker St.

All Army Lacerda Cup Combatives Competition

The All Army Lacerda Cup Combatives Competition brings together 20 teams and what are expected to be about 180 competitors from across the Army to contend for championship titles in hand-to-hand fighting. Each team will consist of eight competitors and one coach.

Male and female competitors vie individually and as teams in eight weight classes: bantamweight, flyweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, cruiserweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight.

During the competition, preliminary and quarter-final rounds will be under standard rules, with rounds lasting no longer than 6 minutes. Semi-final rounds will be under intermediate rules, with rounds not exceeding 10 minutes. Individual championship rounds will use advanced rules, with 16 total matches taking place one at a time, three rounds of 3 minutes each.

Day 1 will be an opening ceremony at the Smith Fitness Center, 6835 Dixie Road, building 2874.
Then come preliminary and quarter-final rounds under standard rules.

On Day 2, April 15, combatives competition continues at Smith, with semi-final rounds, using intermediate rules.

April 16 is set aside for individual championship rounds using advanced rules. The venue will be Fort Benning’s Doughboy Stadium, followed by an awards ceremony for the individual weight classes.

The Lacerda Cup Competition ends April 17 with a team championship event in which the top four competing teams must use combatives techniques in a series of tactical scenarios, at the Sniper Course compound.

Under one past Lacerda Cup tactical scenario, for example, teams were tasked with clearing multiple rooms and searching for and subduing enemy combatants.

During this year’s competition, the top two teams from the first scenario will advance to a second scenario to compete for the overall championship.

That will be followed by an awards ceremony.

Women’s History Month Observance

March is Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.”

Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.”

Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

Learn more about Women’s History Month

Spring Forward: Daylights Savings Time Begins

Remember to move clocks forward one hour. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8. It’s an effort to spend more time under the sun and save energy.

AER Campaign Kick-Off

The Army Emergency Relief Campaign Kick-off Rally is the start of the annual campaign. Fort Benning will kick-off this year’s campaign on March 3, at 11 a.m. at the Benning Club, Regimental Room. All MSC commanders and command sergeants major, directors, and unit project officers are requested to attend.

Remarks will be made by Brigadier General David M. Hodne, Infantry School Commandant. The ceremony will end with the annual cake cutting.

The campaign runs March 1 to May 15, 2020. The mission is to increase awareness of Army Emergency Relief benefits and programs available to Soldiers and their Families and to seek contributions to increase funds available to assist Soldiers and family members.

Visit Army Emergency Relief to learn more.


Best Mortar Competition

In the Best Mortar Competition, 30 four-person teams representing their units, compete on their ability to perform a variety of mortar crew tasks of the kind they’d need to use in combat. Those include, among others, firing accurately, responding properly to requests for mortar fire, and moving efficiently as a team across a battlefield setting.

This year its first event starts April 15, a Wednesday.

Competitors will take the Army Combat Fitness Test, the Army’s new physical fitness test that will become the official test-of-record for all Soldiers starting this fall. The test is designed to measure fitness based on the strength, stamina, and other physical qualities they’d need in combat.

Also that day, the mortar teams will compete in firing the 60 mm mortar in two situations where in combat they’d have to act quickly and improvise a hasty attack on an enemy target.

In one, using the “hand-held,” method, they’d aim a 60 mm mortar by holding the tube with two hands, and firing it using its trigger mechanism. In the other, called the “direct alignment” method, they’d use the field expedient of an aiming stake to help gauge the best way to position the mortar so its rounds will strike the target.

“Both methods are definitely kind of hasty, reacting-to-contact type of tools,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Herrera, an instructor with Mortar Training Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, part of the 198th Infantry Brigade.

That’ll be followed by tests on tasks mortar teams have to perform in combat. That part of the day will include a gunner’s exam, as well as a test of their ability to handle the physical demands of mortar crew operations, and a test of their skill with a tool called an aiming circle to properly aim their mortars.

In addition, they’ll take a written exam on use a piece of the LHMBC, a light-weight, handheld computer used to plot direction and other measurements needed to accurately carry out a mortar fire mission.

Next will be a test of their skill firing the 120 mm mortar, followed by a ruck march of a distance that the competitors will not be told of beforehand. That approximates another stressful reality of combat: the need to press on without necessarily knowing when the strain and pressure might let up.

Ending the first day of the Best Mortar Competition is a night occupation exercise, in which the teams must show their ability to properly move onto a piece of ground and set up security and take other measures so they can occupy that position overnight and fire mortars from it if necessary.

April 16 is Day 2 of the Best Mortar Competition and starts with competitors having to test their skills on an obstacle course and on a course designed to build team spirit and confidence. That’ll be followed by a marksmanship event in which they’ll use the M4 rifle and M17 service pistol to fire at targets.

Other events scheduled are a test of the ability to use hand grenades, and a “CCC” written exam on the characteristics, capabilities and components of mortars. Typically, questions cover such details as the weight of specific mortar components, or the distance from which the different mortar types can reach their targets.

Competitors will then face another obstacle course, this one mimicking conditions they’d encounter in an urban setting.

Day 2 ends with a night land navigation exercise, in which the crews must make their way across a tract of terrain using map and compass and other navigational techniques.

The final day of the Best Mortar Competition is April 17. It starts with a test of crews’ ability to fire mortars using the “hip shoot” and “direct lay” methods. Both methods are used when a mortar crew is on the move and must suddenly stop, set up, and respond to a call for fire.

In the “hip shoot,” the crew must quickly set up the mortar, use a compass to ensure it’s properly aimed, then provide the needed fire.

Using the “direct lay” method, they are able to see the target and use the mortar’s sight to aim their fire.

The Best Mortar Competition’s awards ceremony will be held April 17.