What is the Best Ranger Competition?

1.0    Introduction

This article provides an overview of the United States (US) Army’s Best Ranger Competition.

You can read about the training undertaken by US Army Rangers here.

2.0     What is the Best Ranger Competition?

The competition consists of a series of physical and technical Ranger events spread across three days and two nights.

3.0    What is the Purpose of the Competition?

The purpose of the Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition, as it is officially known, is to determine the best two-person team from the entire US Armed Forces.

4.0    Brief History

In July of 1981, the Range Department was asked to design and conduct a ‘Ranger Olympics’ in order to identify the best two-man Ranger buddy team in the Ranger department.

From the very beginning the objective was clear:

“The competition should place extreme demands on each buddy teams’ physical, mental, technical and tactical skills as Rangers.”

The standards of performance were to test the mettle of those Ranger qualified soldiers who dared to compete.

The Best Ranger Competition was named in honour of Lieutenant General David E. Grange Jr., former Ranger instructor, Range Department director and Commanding General of Fort Benning, 2nd Infantry Division, and the US Sixth Army.

Mister Richard A. Leandri, a close personal friend of the general, formed the Chairborne Rangers of Clearwater, Florida, in 1979 to financially support the competition and provide awards to the winning teams. The National Ranger Association now provides support alongside a plethora of ‘friends of the Rangers’ and donors. The Chairborne Rangers are a group of concerned business and professional men who support the military and sponsor the prestigious David E. Grange, Jr., Best Ranger Competition annually.

Later in 1981, Colonel Duane Cameron, Commander Ranger Department, developed the operational concept and schedule of events for the first Best Ranger Competition. The competition was further refined by Cameron’s successor, Colonel Eugene Hawkins.

In 1982, buddy teams from each of the three Ranger Department divisions competed against each other in the very first Best Ranger Competition.

The competition was later expanded in 1982 to include teams from the Ranger Battalions and Special Operations units throughout the US Army.

In 1985, the competition was further expanded to include light Infantry units and, by 1987, the increased interest in the competition resulted in an Army-wide invitation to all units with Ranger-coded positions.

Many participating commands now hold preliminary competitions to select the teams who will represent them at the main competition.

The competition is now a legacy event co-ordinated and hosted by the US Army’s Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade (ARTB).

In 2019, the Best Ranger Competition celebrated its 36th anniversary with 53 teams attending.

5.0    Where Does the Competition Take Place?

The Best Ranger Competition takes place at Fort Benning, Georgia, and is open to the public (for viewing rather than participation).

6.0    When Does the Competition Take Place?

The Best Ranger Competition usually takes place in April, usually on the first or second weekend.

The competition starts at 06.00 (6am) on a Friday morning and usually culminates around 15.00 (3pm) on the Sunday afternoon.

7.0    Who Can Compete?

In order to compete, competitors must:

  • Be Ranger-qualified:
    • Active duty;
    • Reserve; and
    • National Guard.
  • Not have competed more than three times. E.g. potential competitors for the current year may only have competed in two prior competitions.
  • Have completed and sent, via chain of command, a Letter of Intent.
  • A copy of orders awarding each competitor the Ranger tab.
  • A competitor biography.
  • Ranger physical dated within the past 12 months.

8.0    Sequence of Events

Prior to the start of the competition, the overall sequence of events remains unknown to the competitors, who receive task, conditions, and standards prior to the execution of each event.

Generally, teams arrive three days before the competition start for in-processing, orientation, and training.

Table 1 is an outline of the events during the Best Ranger Competition 2018.

0545-0630Opening CeremonyCamp Rogers
0630-0800Mass Start RunCamp Rogers
0715-0900Malvesti Confidence CourseMalvesti Field
0730-1000Weighted CarryMalvesti Field
0800-1030Victory Pond SwimVictory Pond
0815-1200Body Armour RunVictory Pond
0900-1300Urban Assault CourseShelby CACTF
0915-1500FRIES/Air AssaultYork Field (Building 4)
0930-1900Main Post RangesDixie Road Ranges
2000-0100Foot MarchFoot March Routes
0100-0500Night StakesGalloway Range
0800-0900Spartan RaceDekkar Strip
1030-1830Day StakesTodd Field
2000-0500Night OrienteeringDarby or Dahlonega
0800-1100Darby Queen Obstacle CourseCamp Darby
0830-1230HELOCASTVictory Pond
0900-1430Combat Swimming Survival Assessment (CWSA)Victory Pond
1430-1500Final Buddy RunCamp Rogers
1530Super SupperCamp Rogers
1000Award CeremonyMarshall Auditorium at McGinnis-Wickham Hall (Building 4)

The competition events for the Best Ranger Competition 2019 included:

  • Buddy run;
  • Body armour run;
  • Combat water survival assessment (CWSA);
  • Darby Queen obstacle course;
  • Establishing a mortar firing position;
  • Foot march;
  • FRIES;
  • Grenade assault course;
  • Helocast;
  • Knots test;
  • M4 qualification (new qualification standard);
  • Rifle CQM and alternative firing positions;
  • Machine gun qualification;
  • M2 range;
  • Malvesti confidence course;
  • M240 range;
  • M249 range;
  • Night orienteering;
  • Pistol shoot;
  • Night rifle shoot;
  • Prusic climb, rappel;
  • Ranger first responder event;
  • Reflexive fire;
  • Shotgun/M320 shoot;
  • Swim;
  • Grapeshot charge construction/use;
  • Urban obstacle course;
  • Weapon assembly/disassembly;
  • Weighted carry;
  • Mystery events; and
  • Army combat fitness test (new PT test format).

9.0 Useful Publications

10.0 Useful Links


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