Forty-nine two-man teams entered Fort Benning's three-day long Best Ranger Competition. By the second day, only twenty-six remained.
Among the 26 teams remaining were five from the 75th Ranger Regiment, four from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the two teams from the 25th Infantry Division who traveled to compete on their mid-tour leave from combat in Iraq. Three teams representing the 4th Infantry Division were still in the running, as was the only team representing the 10th Mountain Division.
As in past Best Ranger Competitions, the grueling overnight 25-mile road march on Friday spelled the end of the contest for those eliminated.
Sgt. Alan Leggitt and his teammate, Capt. Dan Talmadge from the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., trained for three months. Each was competing for the first time and learned something about the limits of the human body.
“The pace was just non-stop; it was very strenuous, and there wasn’t a lot of time for the body to recover,” said Leggitt, who said he began to vomit on the road march from exhaustion and over-hydration.
A second team from the JRTC also fell out, having had much the same experience.
“We made it to the middle of the road march, and I started going onto the side of the road just puking up all the liquids I had taken,” said 1st Lt. Travis Stutes. His body also started developing cramps in his abdomen, hips, hamstrings and quadriceps.
He said he passed several teams lying on the side of the road suffering with many of the same symptoms.