Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Rangers compete to be best

Sgt. 1st Class Justin Larson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, swims 250 meters in full Army Combat Uniform as part of the training for the Best Ranger Competition, Jan. 22.

Story and photo by Cpl. William Smith

4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

Sore feet and cramped muscles from a full day of training and marching were ignored by Staff Sgt. Anthony Vasquez as he leapt into the pool in his full Army Combat Uniform, determined to make high marks for the Best Ranger Competition, at the Iron Horse Sports and Fitness Center.

Forty-one Ranger-qualified Soldiers from various units in the 4th Infantry Division began a six-week group training regimen Jan. 22, for the ultimate goal of filling one of six spots on the team — two teams of two and two alternates — representing Fort Carson at the Best Ranger Competition.

The team will travel to Fort Benning, Ga., April 12-15, to compete in the 30th Annual David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition.

The first day of training consisted of two minutes each of pushups and situps, a five-mile run, pullups, a 12-mile ruck march and a 250-meter swim in full ACUs to see where the competitors stood among the competition.

“The first part was pretty (easy), but the ruck march is what killed everybody,” said Vasquez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.

Sgt. Maj. Alan M. Gibson, plans and operations noncommissioned officer in charge, 4th Inf. Div., put the training together to determine the top six Rangers within the division.

“We know Fort Benning hosts the competition in April every year, and we have some (Soldiers) who want to do it, so I started a trial for them to make the team,” Gibson said.

Vasquez is hoping to make it back to the Best Ranger Competition and improve on his finish.

“I competed in 2010 and I want to win it,” said Vasquez. “I placed 17th out of 45 teams in 2010, and I feel like I could have done a lot better. Now they are giving me another opportunity; I am jumping all over it.”

The contest is designed to test the mettle of all its participants.

“It is going to be a grueling event,” said Gibson. “Their training is going to be intense. They are going to push themselves to the very limit, because it is a three-day event with no sleep.”

For more information on the competition, visit http://www.bestrangercompetition.com.

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