Fort Bliss (U.S. Army) — Ten Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armor Division, put their skills to the test as they competed for the right to be called Fort Bliss’ Best Ranger. The three-day event held Oct. 22 through Oct. 24 would push them to mental and physical limits.
The top two finishers will go on to represent the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss at the United States Army Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.
The first day of competition, the competitors faced a Ranger Physical Fitness Test consisting of two minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, pull-ups and a 5-mile run.
The second day, competitors negotiated an obstacle course, navigated a “Prusik” climb, completed a 6-mile ruck march to McGregor Range, N.M., and participated in a stress shoot. Soldiers endured many other physically and mentally taxing events before being allowed to rest.
One of this year’s Fort Bliss Ranger competitors, Sgt. 1st Class Marquez Daniels, the assistant station commander of the Special Forces Recruiting Station in El Paso, Texas, competed with another Soldier in the U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition.
Daniels said this competition was a great representation of the one he participated in this past February.
“I thought the competition was awesome,” said Daniels. “I think Captain Alquesta and the Soldiers of 4th Brigade got it right. It was as close as it gets to the real thing.”
These events were designed to be tough, and for many, the real test was the 17-mile march held on the evening of the second day. Not only were they carrying 42 pounds of equipment in their rucksacks, they were also required to carry five-gallon water jugs and logs at intervals during the event.
“The toughest event was definitely the seventeen-mile ruck march,” said Sgt. Maiker Fernandez, an infantryman assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
Daniels echoed Fernandez’s feelings about the ruck march being the toughest event.
“At about the six-mile mark of the competition, we threw on a five-gallon water jug and other stuff before walking for another five or six miles,” said Daniels. “It was brutal.”
Not all of the events were as physically exhausting for the competitors.
First Lt. Zachary Wise, a fire support officer for Company C, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 1st AD, enjoyed the obstacle course the most.
“My favorite part of the competition was the obstacle course,” said Wise. “Just pushing myself as hard as I could was really rewarding.”
The winners of the Fort Bliss Best Ranger Competition are: 1st Lt. Martin Jimenez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 4th BCT, 1st AD; 1st Lt. Daniel Reed, HHC, 4th Bn., 17th Inf. Regt., 1st BCT, 1st AD; 1st Lt. Stephen Wilson, Company B, 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division; and, 1st Lt. Zachary Wise, Co. C, 4th Bn., 17th Inf. Regt., 1st BCT,1st AD.
The winners will be paired to represent Fort Bliss at the U.S. Army Best Ranger Competition.