2017 David E. Grange, Jr. Best Ranger Competition
Combat One had the pleasure of attending and supporting the 2017 Best Ranger Compeition at Fort Benning, Georgia. This was Combat One's second year in attendance. This competition is regarded throughout the military as one of the toughest, most physically demanding in the world. It is a 62-hour competition with events ranging from land navigation, to a nearly two-mile long obstacle course called the Darby Queen. The last two years, the Rangers completed a Spartan Race at hour 25. The Darby Queen was completed at about hour 49 of the competition.
This year in the competition the Rangers were allowed the choice to take Combat One with them throughout the competition. In talking with the Rangers in the little down-time that they did have, most opted to take the product. Several Rangers were repeat competitors who mentioned that there was no way they weren't going to include Combat One in their ruck - they used it last year and loved it!
This competition is made possible every year thanks to the donors. Donors range from big organizations like Bell Helicopter, Gerber, and Nike to individual donors; former Rangers, friends of the Rangers, etc. Many of the donors are Rangers themselves. The Combat One team (pictured below) was able to attend the Donor Social.
Each plaugue honors a Ranger. This year's Gold Donor plaque honored Michaell Schlitz. "Schlitz" as everyone knows and calls him works for an organization called GallantFew - a revolutionary Veteran Support Network.
With all that went on at the competition, interacting with the Donors and Friends of the Rangers was the most inspring part. Below, please enjoy the write-up from Combat One team member Caitlyn Riley.
"Being able to attend this competition for the second year in a row was a real honor. It was incredible to see the Rangers compete at such a high level and encouraging to know that our military is filled with the best of the best. Although they were incredible to watch, the moment that stuck out to me was the night of the Sponsor Social. The Combat One team - Quillon Orta, MG (Ret) Don Riley, and myself - were able to sit at a table with 4 other gentlemen - all Rangers. (Our table pictured below)
From left to right: Quillon, Terry, Ted, Caitlyn, Bill, Bobby, and Don.
The stories that we heard that night left me humbled and honored to be in the presence of such men. Ted and Terry served in Vietnam together. They told story after story of their time together - both good and bad. They patrolled deep into enemy territory and "lost too fellow soldiers many to count." The comradery between these men is undeniable. Both Ted and Terry are thankful to be alive and both actively engaged in the Ranger community helping fellow Rangers that suffer from PTSD and just being a support system for whoever needs it. Often, needing it themselves. When asked why they do what they do they replied without hesitation, "I know any one of them would trade places with me but they can't. So, it's my duty to honor them and keep their legacy alive by living a good life and serving the Rangers today."
Major (Ret) Bill was a delight to talk to. This man breathes everything Ranger. He served in both the Korean War and Vietnam War. In fact, he stole his brothers birth certificate so he could enlist at the age of 15 years old. He was then injured in Korea and during his stay in the hospital they found out his real age and kicked him out. A few years, when he was old enough he rejoined. Later on he was sent to Vietnam and injured again resulting in a lost foot. He remained active duty and retired several years later. He continues to support the Rangers to this day.
Bobby, a former Ranger himself, has been supporting the Best Ranger competition for some time now. He is an integral part in the planning and excecution of the event each year. He helps those who attend have the best ranger experience.
It was such an honor to be in the presence of these men who still, to this day, are as selfless as they were the day they joined the Army. Being an Amry Brat myself, attending this event was like being right at home. There were so many selfless veterans, military advocates, and aspiring Rangers who were all in. It was inspiring to be a part of this event but also to be a part of a team like the Combat One team, whose sole purpose is to serve and protect not only the Rangers but the entire military."
(Below are a few pictures from the Best Ranger Competition)