BRC Supporter Challenge

Chip and I ventured down to Fort Benning, Georgia to get a glimpse into the life of an Army Ranger.  We competed in the Best Ranger Competition “Supporter Challenge” which was a day filled with activities, mirroring the training of an Army Ranger.  The experience was an overwhelming mixture of excitement and appreciation. 

Our day started off with a stop at Starbucks before we headed to orientation.  At orientation, we received our MRE’s (meal-ready-to-eat) and hands on instructions on the weapon we’d be shooting later at the range - the M-4.  Once we’d been briefed on our activities and safety precautions, we divided into two groups and headed to our first grouping of challenges. 

Our group rappelled down a 60-ft tower.  (On most days, you want to coach someone to step AWAY from the ledge - not today!)  We suited up in a harness, headgear and protective eyewear.  Next, the Rangers were instructing us step by step, maintainging safety precautions at all times.  I didn’t look down and kept repeating to myself, “You can do this.  You aren’t the first person to do this.”  When I stuck the landing, I was ready to do it again.

Tomahawks were next.  After spending much of the holiday weekend trying to get the hang of this activity, I still wasn’t very good.  Practice rounds didn’t count, so I only was able to get one tomahawk to stick.  Chip, was much better at this than me.

The Rangers were able to show us some of their weapons they use frequently including the M249 and M240B.  We even had the chance to take them apart and put them back together.  To an engineer, like my husband, he appreciated this opportunity. 

Grenades were next.  This activity included a vest to carry the grenades, elbow and knee pads along with a safety helmet and glasses.  We had some practice tosses without the pin, but there really wasn’t anything to fully prepare us for this activity.  We had to simulate live battle by running from point to point, lying on the ground, standing up just to throw the grenade and then get back on the ground to take cover.  Pulling the safety off the grenade was easy, pulling the pin was incredibly hard for me.  Plus, throwing at the targets proved to be a skill that needs improvement.  Thank you to SFC Hendrix for helping coach me.  You rock!

We loaded up on the busses and headed to the live fire range. When we arrived, we had a quick 15 minute lunch break to enjoy our MRE’s and get briefed.  At this event, we were in full body armor, helmet and safety glasses.  We had three magazines, each loaded with 10 rounds.  On the range, we each had a Ranger coaching us as we fired 10 rounds in the prone position, 10 rounds kneeling and 10 rounds standing.  Thank you to Cris Schumacher, who helped me.  You are awesome!

Next it was time for the much anticipated, Malvesti Obstacle Course.  Here is where we got a little dirty.  Pull ups, a rope climb, then ‘monkey bars’ which included a water pit underneath and then the worm pit which had low hanging barbed wire overtop of it.  No one warned us the water pit underneath the monkey bars was ICE COLD.  I think this made me appreciate the worm pit.  The worm pit was actually nice and warm, muddy, but warm.  We survived all of that and then ran for the finish line. 

The Ranger’s were kind enough to add a special visit for Chip and I to meet some of the Cadre’s who were practicing with the actual competitors for the BRC over at Todd Field.  This was incredible.  A big thank you to SFC Richard Scott for coordinating this special visit.  Rich also gave us a complete tour of the Fort Benning facility.  We loved your insight and learning more about your career.  Thank you also to Candyss Bryant for coordinating our entire visit.  You are magnificent!  And, also a big thank you to Commander King and the Cadre’s who organized a fabulous event to showcase your world to us.  The words “Thank You” always mean so much, but the reality is there are no words to describe the appreciation for everything our Army Ranger’s go through to keep our country safe.   May God continue to bless you all. 

Janet Bolin


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