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Posted: April 26, 2018 1:35 p.m.
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Best Ranger

Spc. Calab Franklin /

1st Lt. Andrew Irwin and 1st Lt. Colton Giordano of 3-15 Inf., 2ABCT, 3rd ID, carry a casualty dummy during a medical evacuation lane at this year’s Best Ranger Competition April 15, at Fort Benning, Ga.

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This is a personal commentary of my experience at the 2018 David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition (BRC) and does not reflect the opinions of the U.S. Army. 

I had the chance to follow three Ranger buddy teams from 3rd Infantry Division while they competed against the U.S. Army’s top Rangers during the 2018 David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition April 13-16, at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Best Ranger Competition is a three-day event hosted annually at Fort Benning by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. This year’s competition marked it’s 34th year. 

If you aren’t familiar with BRC, it is widely regarded as one of the toughest, most physically demanding competitions in the world. 

This year was no exception with a field of 102 highly skilled Ranger-qualified Soldiers battling through 16 events, all in the hopes of earning the title as Best Ranger.

Since 1982, Rangers have devised the most difficult, challenging obstacles to determine which teams are the best.

While at the competition I got the chance to ask our competitors a few questions about their experience. 

1st Lt. Colton Giordano, a platoon leader with 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, said that every year the competition gets tougher and that they were very disciplined in their training program. He added that even though they were as prepared as they could be, a  60-hour event with no scheduled food or sleep will challenge even the strongest and most prepared. 

The three Marne Division teams were Capt. Dustin Lawrence and Staff Sgt. Michael Danielson of Task Force 1-28 Infantry stationed at Fort Benning (team three), 1st Lt. Andrew Irwin and 1st Lt. Colton Giordano of 3-15 Inf. (team four), and 1st Lt. James Kinsey and Staff Sgt. Dane Wilson of 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT( team 52).

Capt. Lindol Adkisson, an operations officer in 3-15 Inf.and coach of the Fort Stewart-based Ranger teams said, “That this year’s teams performed exceptionally well and held their own against teams with more competition experience. This spoke volumes of their commitment, character, and personal drive to him.” 

Competitors were assessed during several events on day one of the competition to include a buddy run, a body armor run, obstacle courses, weighted carries, swimming, weapon ranges, night stakes and more.

After a night of marching on the first day, all three Marne teams made it through the first cut.

On day two of the competition, the teams competed in day stakes and a Spartan Sprint race. Unfortunately, Kinsey and Wilson of team 52, suffered an injury and were unable to continue the competition.  

After the day stakes, the 24 teams were cut down to 16, and those teams were flown by helicopter to Camp Merrill, near Dahlonega, Georgia, where they performed night orienteering. They then returned by bus to Camp Darby located at Fort Benning to compete in the Darby Queen obstacle course.

Giordano admitted that even though they had a very good feel for the competition prior to starting, it was a very humbling 60 hours. He said he thinks they had unforeseen highs and lows at different points in the competition, but teamwork always got them through. 

When weather forced the cancellation of the helocast event, the teams were bused from Camp Darby to Victory Pond for the completion of the water confidence course and buddy run.

Each team crossed the finish line where the competition began three days earlier with their rifles and their heads held high.

The Marne Division teams finished at 15th and 16th place out of 51 teams.

On another note, for those of you wondering why there was a team 52 when 51 teams competed, it is a BRC tradition dating back to the beginning of the competition that no team be assigned team 13.   



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