The 101st Airborne’s CPT Michael Rose and CPT John Bergman won the 36th annual Best Ranger Competition, which took place last month at Fort Benning, GA. This year the prestigious event was different than others, with competitors honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day by using some of the firearms carried and used by U.S. Army Rangers as they landed at Normandy in World War II. The correct model M1 .30-caliber carbines and Model M37 trench guns were provided by Inland Manufacturing, with M1 Garands and M1911s on loan from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
The grueling event attracted 55 two-man teams vie for the title, spending 60 hours spread over three days navigating challenges that include painfully long runs, forced marches with full packs, maneuvering, communication, obstacle courses, marksmanship skills and much more. Traditionally the shooting portions are the exclusive realm of modern service firearms, but for 2019 things were changed up in recognition of the Rangers who successfully secured Pointe du Hoc—despite the odds being stacked against them.
Aside from fighting for the prestigious title, part of the awards included one of the top two teams selecting an Inland commemorative 1911, Inland WWII-era reproduction carbine, or an Inland Model M37 trench gun. The company makes the M1 reproductions so authentic that it began serial numbers at 9 million to minimize chances of confusion. The original military carbines ended production with serial numbers in the 8 million range.
The event’s website explains, “The Best Ranger Competition was started in 1982 after Dick Leandri found a way to honor his personal friend, Lieutenant General David E. Grange, Jr…The competition has evolved over the past thirty years from one that was originally created to salute the best two man ‘buddy’ team in the Ranger Department at Fort Benning, GA, to determine the best two-man team from the entire United States Armed Forces.”