A two-man team from the 75th Ranger Regiment outperformed 53 teams to win the grueling 34th annual David E. Granger Jr. Best Ranger Competition.
During the April 7-9 event at Fort Benning, Georgia, Capt. Michael Rose and Master Sgt. Josh Horsager of the 2nd Battalion, 75th fought through 60 hours of mental and physical challenges to take that title back to Joint Base Lewis-McChord after nine years.
"It's an opportunity to come out here and compete against the Army's best that they have to offer," Rose said in an Army press release. "And I know my unit is one of the best units in the Army. It's good to put our names back on the board."
In second place were Master Sgt. Chad Stack Pole and Staff Sgt. Carlos Mercado, representing the 82nd Airborne Division, followed by Capt. Robert Killian and Staff Sgt. Erich Friedlen, representing the Army National Guard, for third place.
Of the original 53 teams to begin the competition, only 21 completed the buddy run on the final day of competition.
The Best Ranger Competition was named in honor of Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr., a former Ranger instructor and Ranger department director, who served in World War II and the Vietnam War. Grange also commanded Fort Benning, the 2nd Infantry Division, and the U.S. Sixth Army.
The three-day competition has been compared to the Ironman and Eco-Challenge competitions.
The event challenges two-man Ranger teams in events that test their physical conditioning, Ranger skills and team strategies. The events are purposely scheduled back-to-back and around the clock for 58 hours, allowing little time for rest and meals.
This is the third competition for Horsager, though it's the first time he's won. Back in 2013, he came in second place.
"This is something I have looked at my whole career as the pinnacle of being a Ranger," he said. "It is something I can take back to my unit. It will take me a couple of days to realize that I won."
This isn't the first time Rose has competed, and it's not the first time he has been on the winning team, either. Back in 2014, he won Best Ranger while representing the 25th Infantry Division.
"It is a hard competition, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this again," Rose said. "I got an opportunity to come back. It's not so much of a choice that you can come back year after year; you have to line it up with how your career is progressing. I was afforded the opportunity by my command team to come down and compete again."
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey said the Ranger Competition highlights the best the Army has, and sets the bar high for what soldiers should try to be.
"This brings out the best in people," Dailey said. "This is what we want people to emulate. This is excellence. If we can get our Army ready by making them more physically capable and better at their basic skills -- that's what we require from every soldier -- this sets the principle of what soldiers should aspire to be."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.