Hooah! Best Rangers

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While most of us were probably enjoying the warm weather and taking care of some springtime chores this weekend, 80 soldiers were running, jumping, swimming and crawling their way toward a finish line that truly separates the men from the uber-men.

My former colleague Gina Cavallaro covered this years Best Ranger competition down at Fort Benning, Ga., and I know its not techy, like most issues covered on this site, but I think these guys deserve some serious props.

Check out Ginas Army Times story here.

A team of two Army special operators won this years contest (pictured at left) 34 year-old Master Sgt. Walter Zajkowski and 36 year-old Maj. Liam Collins, both Wisconsin natives and former Best Ranger contestants.

They beat out an impressive field of soldiers far younger than they, and watched as nearly half the 40 teams who entered fell out of the contest.

Take a look at the competitors and other Best Ranger info here.

The finishers:

1. Team 29, Maj. Liam Collins, 36, and Master Sgt. Walt Zajkowski, 34, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

2. Team 25, Capt. Andrew Farina, 27, and Capt. David Uthlaut, 27, 25th Infantry Divison, Hawaii.

3. Team 19, Sgt. 1st Class Billy Pouliot, 30, and Sgt. 1st Class Adam Nash, 30, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

4. Team 18, Staff Sgt. Michael Broussard, 23, and Sgt. Luke McDowell, 22, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

5. Team 23, Sgt. Nathan Anderson, 28, and Sgt. Andrew Wallace, 27, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

6. Team 35, Capt. Jeff Soule, 27, and Sgt. 1st Class Robert Hoffnagle, 30, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga.

7. Team 33, Staff Sgt. Shayne Cherry, 23, and Sgt. Jeff Decker, 26, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

8. Team 21, Sgt. Brandon Farmer, 22, and Spc. Aaron Werner, 23, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

9. Team 4, Capt. Bruce Hoffman, 38, and Sgt. 1st Class Dan Jenkins, 33, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.

10. Team 24, Sgt. Jeremy Heinlein, 23, and Sgt. Thomas West, 22, 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii.

11. Team 34, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hack, 29, and Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Higley, 31, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga.

12. Team 7, Staff Sgt. Blake Simms, 28, and Capt. John Spencer, 31, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga.

13. Team 9, Staff Sgt. Brandon Greenway, 23, and Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Greenway, 47, U.S. Army Infantry Schools, Fort Benning, Ga.

14. Team 37, Capt. John Ulsamer, 26, and Capt. Jim Wiese, 11th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

15. Team 41, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Turk, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C., and Sgt. 1st class Isaac Grunewald, 30, 11th Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

16. Team 32, Cpl. Jody Chandler, 21, and Staff Sgt. Fernando Gonzalez, 26, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

17. Team 5, Sgt. 1st Class Travis Lloyd, 32, and Staff Sgt. Jeff Nail, 29, 5th Ranger Training Battalion, Camp Merrill, Ga.

18. Team 10, Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Weisensel, 29, and Sgt. 1st Class Joe Williams, 30, Henry Caro Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Fort Benning, Ga.

19. Team 36, Staff Sgt. Jason Diaz, 24, and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Scott, 28, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga.

20. Team 22, Spc. Jeremy Billings, 22, and Spc. Raul Romero, 24, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

21. Team 31, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Allen, 32, and Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Owens 39, 4th Ranger Training Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga.

A big Hooah! to all the finishers (and to all the competitors) who participated in the 60 grueling hours of the 24th annual Best Ranger competition.

-- Christian

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