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Signal Soldiers Best Ranger competitors.

Two Signal Soldiers, assigned to the Ranger Communications Company of the 75th Ranger Regiment turned in strong performances to earn high rankings in the 2009 Best Ranger Competition in May 2009 at Fort Benning, Ga. SGT Michael Malchow, a 25S, placed third in the overall standings and SGT Edward Killmeier, a 25Q, placed 14th. The Best Ranger Competition challenges the technical, mental and physical abilities of two-man Ranger teams. Out of a starting field of 49 teams, only 24 finished the three-day event.


The first event of the day one was a 4.8 mile run through rugged, uneven terrain with a swamp and chest-high water. After the run, the competitors immediately had to negotiate an obstacle course called the Darby Queen, which is over a mile long with 26 obstacles. After the Darby Queen, competitors negotiated a series of marksmanship challenges which included a machine gun range, a stress shoot and a moving target range, as well as a field expedient litter carry covering an unknown distance. During the litter carry, the competitors were graded on providing first aid to a simulated casualty whose wounds included a double amputation and abdominal evisceration. The last event of day one was an 18 mile footmarch with rucksacks that weighed about 65 pounds. The footmarch started at 2100 hours and continued into the early morning of day two.

The second day of activity kicked off at 0300 hours with an event called Ranger Stakes night. Night stakes consisted of more medical tasks, weapons assembly drills and a mystery event. By the time of sunrise on the morning of day two, the sleep deprived competitors were well into the day portion of 'Ranger Stakes.'

During Day Stakes, they were tested on the tri-tower climb, demolitions, a grenade assault course, FBCB2, a Ranger first responder casualty evacuation scenario, a stress shoot and another mystery event. At the end of Day Two the competitors set out on an orienteering course which lasted 10 hours in an area covering approximately 60 square miles.

Day Three began with the HELO cast swim in which the competitors are dropped out of a UH-60 helicopter into Victory Pond. The competitors have to waterproof their rucksacks and swim with them to the shore. After the HELO cast swim, the competitors negotiated the Ranger water confidence test and slide for life apparatus at Hurley Hill. Next the competitors were flown by UH-60 to Engineer's Landing on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, where they manned canoes and conducted a six mile boat movement. Immediately, following the boat movement, the competitors completed the last event of the competition, a 2.5 mile buddy run to the finish line. By the time the competitors crossed the finish line they had been up for 60 hours with no programmed sleep or meals and covered in excess of 100 miles on foot.

SGT Malchow and SGT Killmeier demonstrated that Signal Soldiers have the aptitude and the resolve to excel in any situation regardless of the circumstances. They represented the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Signal Corps and the Noncommissioned Officer Corps exceptionally well. Their story deserves to be told, as well as others, in this Year of the NCO. Get the word out to all who need to know, that the men and women whom fill the Noncommissioned Officer Corp are as strong today as it ever; and our young leaders prove it every day.

MSG Ferguson is assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment.
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Author:Ferguson, Harry
Publication:Army Communicator
Date:Sep 22, 2009
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