Team from 4th Ranger Training Battalion wins

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Fox Raiders
Jul 2, 2007
San Diego, CA
Fort Benning, Ga. — A two-man team from the 4th Ranger Training Battalion earned the title of “Best Ranger” at the Army’s toughest competition Sunday afternoon, after the grueling 72-hour Best Ranger Competition ended at Freedom Hall.

Sgt. 1st Class Blake Simms and Sgt. 1st Class Chad Stackpole aced the three-day event, having given up their first place standing only once to a team from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

The Ranger instructors clinched their win in a final push in the canoeing event and the three-mile buddy run.

In second place were Master Sgt. Walter Zajkowski and Master Sgt. Daniel Jenkins, two former Best Ranger winners who competed together for the first time, and third place was taken by a team from the 75th Ranger Regiment, Sgt. Michael Malchow and Sgt. Jesse Collins.

It was a hot, sunny afternoon as the 24 teams staggered under the white finish line banner; many held their rifles over their heads, some arrived with wobbling legs, some bent over with the dry heaves.

One soldier, 1st Lt. Benjamin Juvinall, his body giving way to convulsions from exhaustion, was kept from collapsing to the ground by a half dozen Ranger Training Brigade medics assembled at the finish line to treat the competitors.

Juvinall, who is assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, was placed on a litter and raced to the advanced treatment area of the aid tent. He was then transported to Martin Army Community Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. He will be kept at the hospital a little longer for further testing and observation, said Maj. Dustin Martin, physician’s assistant for the Ranger Training Brigade.

He and his partner, 1st Lt. Lauren Gore, were the only team representing the 1st ID. There were three teams from the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th BCT, which is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in three weeks. It was the first time the 4th ID had sent competitors to the annual event, and all three teams crossed the finish line in 9th, 12th, and 21st and place.

A team from the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which took sixth place, will also leave for Afghanistan in coming weeks, and two teams from the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, which traveled from Iraq on mid-tour leave to compete, have been given permission by their chain of command to take their full two weeks rest and relaxation leave before they return to their unit in Iraq.

Since operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Best Ranger Competition has evolved from one centered on skills perfected within the Ranger and special operations communities to one where competitors are challenged on the skills all soldiers learn and use every day on the battlefield.

This year’s competition was marked by even more realism with the use of raw animal meat in the medical events to simulate traumatic wounds, a global positioning event using the blue force tracker and a language and demographics test.

But the competition also included some of the traditional events competitors train for, such as the water confidence test and helicopter jump, the shooting range events and the grueling land navigation and road march events.

The competition is open to soldiers and any service members who have earned the coveted Ranger Tab by going through the 62-day school. Best Ranger first took place in 1983 and has been canceled only twice — once during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and at the start of operations in Iraq in 2003.

When this year’s competition began on Friday morning, there were 49 teams. By Saturday morning, only 26 were still standing, and two more were eliminated on the second night in the land navigation event, leaving 24 teams to finish.

Here are the final standings for the 2009 Best Ranger Competition:

1. Sgt. 1st Class Blake Simms

Sgt. 1st Class Chad Stackpole

4th Ranger Training Battalion

2. Master Sgt. Walter Zajkowski

Master Sgt. Daniel Jenkins

U.S. Special Operations Command

3. Sgt. Michael Malchow

Sgt. Jesse Collins

75th Ranger Regiment

4. Staff Sgt. Brandon Farmer

Staff Sgt. Luke McDowell

75th Ranger Regiment

5. Staff Sgt. Michael Mutchie

Staff Sgt. Miguel Antia

4th Ranger Training Battalion

6. 1st Sgt. Robert Carter

Capt. Samuel Linn

2nd Infantry Division

7. Master Sgt. Eric Turk

Sgt. Maj. Jesse Boettcher

U.S. Special Operations Command

8. Sgt. Jeremy Billings

Cpl. Troy Jenkins

75th Ranger Regiment

9. 1st Lt. Thomas Halverson

1st Lt. Michael Luth

4th Infantry Division

10. Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hunter

Staff Sgt. Ian Hunter

75th Ranger Regiment

11. Staff Sgt. Raylan Heck

Staff Sgt. Adam Angrisanio

6th Ranger Training Battalion

12. 1st Lt. Chris Migliaro

Sgt. 1st Class Jordan Martell

4th Infantry Division

13. Maj. Jose Salinas

Maj. Edward Sedlock

199th Training Brigade

14. Sgt. Edward Killmeier

Spc. Michael Pierce

75th Ranger Regiment

15. Maj. Pete Kranenburg

Sgt. 1st Class John Przytulski

1st Special Warfare Training Group

16. Capt. Ronald Garberson

Capt. Anthony Aguilar

U.S. Special Operations Command

17. Sgt. 1st Class Mark Breyak

Sgt. 1st Class Steve Fields

Special Warfare Group NCO Academy

18. Sgt. 1st Class Derek Wise

Sgt. David Paul

25th Infantry Division

19. Capt. Stephen Magennis

Capt. Todd Tompkins

Maneuver Captains Career Course

20. Capt. Lloyd Wohlschlegel

1st Lt. Raymond Kuderka

25th Infantry Division

21. 1st Lt. Anthony Kivlehan

1st Lt. Alex Armstrong

4th Infantry Division

22. Staff Sgt. Anthony Fuentes

Capt. David Cochrane

6th Ranger Training Battalion

23. 1st Lt. Grant Barge

Capt. Robert Killian

10th Mountain Division

24. 1st Lt. Lauren Gore

1st Lt. Benjamin Juvinall

1st Infantry Division
I know a couple guys on that list... good dudes all.

Congratulations to the winners!
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