About a quarter of Best Ranger Competition contestants this year had participated before, and among them were Capts. Michael Rose and John Bergman, who each had at least one win under their belts already.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division team was honored in a ceremony Monday morning after beating out 52 other teams in the three-day competition, Fort Benning announced on Sunday. It was their second win together ― they competed as second lieutenants with the 25th Infantry Division in 2014 ― and Rose’s third, as he competed in 2017 as part of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
“The train-up, we said it’s hard, but it’s good Army training,” Rose said in a Fort Benning release. “Doing the hard things, it’s fun, it’s competitive. I feel like I’ve been a little selfish doing the competition three times. And I’ve had a blast doing it.”
The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy, took second place with Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Gerber and 1st Lt. Alastair Keys. In third was another 101st Airborne Division team: 1st Lts. Nathan Panick and Edward von Kuhn.
“He’s probably the closest thing I have to a brother in the Army,” Rose said of Bergman, other than his actual brothers, who are also in the Army.
It was a big week for the 101st Airborne Division, in a competition that has been overwhelmingly dominated by soldiers from the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, the Regiment or Army Special Operations Command in its 36 years. The command also took top honors in last week’s Best Sapper Competition at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
“We as a division could not be prouder of all of the winners, and quite frankly, of all of the teams that competed," the 101st’s spokesman, Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, told Army Times on Monday.
Both Rose and Bergman are taking company command in the next few months, he added.
“If you’re not having fun in this training, then you’re definitely in the wrong profession,” Bergman said in the release.
This year’s competition included 17 events ― from marksmanship ranges to a pond swim, a body armor run and a helocast ― that kicked off at 6:30 a.m. on Friday and finished with a buddy run Sunday afternoon.
Competitors also completed the Army Combat Fitness Test, which is on track to replace the Army Physical Fitness Test next year.