Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank (left), commanding general, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk,along with Command Sgt. Maj. David W. Bass (right), JRTC and Fort Polk command sergeant major, awarded coins to members of 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infatry Regiment "Geronimoes" for their participation the U.S. Army's Best Ranger and Best Mortar Team competitions in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Geronimos compete in Best Ranger event

By Guardian Staff

April 19, 2019

FORT POLK, La. — The U.S. Army Best Ranger competition began at 6 a.m. April 12 with a mass run from Camp Rogers, Georgia and continued at Fort Benning, Georgia with an obstacle courses, a swim in uniform, weighted carries, weapons ranges, marches, night land navigation and more.4-19 Cover.jpg

Each day of the competition lowered the number of teams from the initial 28, and during the third and final day April 14, only 16 teams were allowed to continue and finish.

A team from the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment participated in the grueling event, and though an injury prevented them from completing the race, their efforts were lauded by their leadership and the installation command team.

First Lt. Morgan Ashmead and 1st Lt. Russell Mortinger were recognized by Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, commanding general, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, and Command Sgt. Maj. David W. Bass, JRTC and Fort Polk command sergeant major, who presented the two-man team with coins as a thank you for their dedication to the warrior spirit and taking on such an immense challenge.

The Best Ranger competition was just one of three multi-day races taking place during Infantry Week at Fort Benning. Other events included the Best Mortar Competition the Lacerda Cup combatives tournament. While Ashmead and Mortinger were engrossed in their challenges, another 509th team was working hard to achieve fifth place in the Best Mortar competition.

The four-man team, Staff Sgt. Steven Oser, Sgt. Antonio Hernandez, Spc. Orlando Iniguez and Spc. Dylan Tratton, endured numerous physical and mental challenges that tested their skill levels, pushed their limits and challenged their abilities. They placed fifth overall, and were also awarded coins from the command.

See the April 26 edition of the Guardian for a full story on these Soldiers.