Best Ranger tryouts challenge ‘Warrior Bde.’s’ best, brightest Soldiers

| December 16, 2011 | 0 Comments
Nine Ranger-qualified Soldiers from the 2nd BCT, 25th ID, begin the five-mile run portion of the Ranger physical fitness test during the Best Ranger Competition tryouts at Schofield Barracks, Dec. 6. The tryouts will yield the Soldiers that will represent the division at the annual Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., in April.

Nine Ranger-qualified Soldiers from the 2nd BCT, 25th ID, begin the five-mile run portion of the Ranger physical fitness test during the Best Ranger Competition tryouts at Schofield Barracks, Dec. 6. The tryouts will yield the Soldiers that will represent the division at the annual Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., in April.

Story and Photos by
Sgt. Robert M. England
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Nine Ranger-qualified Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, “Warriors,” 25th Infantry Division, competed in the Best Ranger Competition tryouts, here, Dec. 6-7.

The tryouts yielded the Soldiers who will represent the division at the annual Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga., in April.

The tryouts lasted more than 30 hours, testing the Ranger warriors’ knowledge, stamina and mental fortitude in events ranging from swimming to an iron sight M4 qualification.

Capt. Kyle Greer (right), executive officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd BCT, 25th ID, performs sit-ups for the Ranger physical fitness test portion of the Best Ranger tryouts, held at Schofield Barracks, Dec. 6.

Capt. Kyle Greer (right), executive officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd BCT, 25th ID, performs sit-ups for the Ranger physical fitness test portion of the Best Ranger tryouts, held at Schofield Barracks, Dec. 6.

Tryouts started with a Ranger physical fitness test. Candidates completed two minutes worth of push-ups and sit-ups, a timed five-mile run and ended with chin-ups. From there, the candidates moved to a weapons range, here, for an M4 qualification using only standard sights fitted to their weapons.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Diaz, noncommissioned officer in charge, Pre-Ranger Program, 2nd BCT, said that the candidates then road marched about 16 miles to East Range, here, for a day and night land navigation course.

After the land navigation portion, candidates completed the Air Assault Obstacle Course at East Range and then moved on to the Ranger Stakes.

Diaz said that Ranger Stakes tested Soldier skills with disassembly and reassembly of the M240B machine gun, the M249 squad automatic weapon, the M14 rifle and the M9 pistol. Candidates also applied their knowledge of knot tying. The Ranger Stakes ended with disassembly and reassembly of the M4 carbine while blindfolded.

The candidates then moved to Richardson Pool, here, for the final portion of the tryouts: a revised combat water survival test, or CWST.

Sgt. Maj. Henry Sitzler, training and operations NCOIC, 2nd BCT, said the CWST consisted of a 250-meter swim in the Army Combat Uniform, called a “ditch and down.” Candidates jumped into the pool with a front-load carrying vest and dummy M4 carbine and then discarded their gear before swimming to the side of the pool. The CWST concluded with a three-meter drop into the pool and then a short swim to the side of the pool.

Now that candidates have completed individual level tryouts, they will enter a training phase during January-March.

During the training phase, Sitzler said the candidates should expect a rigorous regiment that will test and hone their physical endurance and Soldier skills.

“Candidates will be biking about 150 miles a week, running in excess of 60 miles a week, road marching 50 miles a week and swimming about 10 miles a week,” Sitzler said. “They will also be improving their Soldier skills pertaining to radio communication, first aid and demolitions.”

The Armywide competition in April will be completed in two-man buddy teams. Sitzler said that the 25th ID’s teams will be assembled near the end of the training phase. Personalities, character traits and areas of expertise will all be considered when putting the teams together.

“What we’ll do is go through the training, and then we will pair them up based on their individual strengths and weaknesses,” he said.

Once assembled, the teams will travel to Fort Benning, Ga., to compete with teams representing other units in the Best Ranger Competition.

Besides the prestige of participating in the Best Ranger Competition, Diaz said that the competition has another benefit besides prestige.

“The competition provides knowledgeable, physically fit platoon leaders and platoon sergeants at the ground level,” Diaz said. “It also benefits the units’ esprit de corps by building the morale.”

He added, when “Soldiers see someone from their unit participating in one of the hardest competitions against other elite Soldiers Armywide, motivation, morale and esprit de corps soar.”

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