The Day Stakes, as they are called, focus on skills unrelated to marching (an intended break from the close to 40 miles undertaken to this point). The most interesting challenge was specifically combat-related: the rescue of a wounded soldier from a downed helicopter. The scene was staged in a hot zone, and teams entered under fire to find a soldier with a partially blown away leg inside the helicopter. Smoke bombs simulated that the helicopter itself was on fire. The teams were to assess injury, load the body onto a litter, and en route to helicopter evacuation encounter barbed wire and a wall, under which and over which they had to navigate themselves and their victim.
When the teams had completed the Day Stakes they prepared for a 25-mile road march. At night. With rucks. The road march is often the breaking point for many, who are so exhausted and physically depleted that they are unable to reach the end. Every year the challenges that make up the competition are changed in some regard, and the road march is no exception. Part of the mental engagement is to be prepared for anything, including the length of the march, deviations from the path to address a situation, or interruptions for something as seemingly inane as to recite the Ranger Creed.
Day three shows no mercy. A one-mile obstacle course that includes 26 obstacles situated in hill and valley terrain tests strength and stamina. This is followed by a helicopter drop into a pond, a swim to shore (with rucks, though they're not on the body), a ladder climb and zip line run to drop back into the water, another climb and "log" cross, after which there is a rope cross and another drop into the water. All of these events are timed, adding another element of competence into the competition. The final challenge is a three-mile run to the finish line, this time with assault packs instead of rucks. (first three photos taken by John D. Helms, the last one is mine)
The arrow in the photo below is pointing to the "pole" cross. The little yellow blob is a stair-step. Remember, this exercise is undertaken after 48+ hours of competition with very little rest.
The timing was fortunate for us as a family. Ashley & Co. flew in from Texas late Friday night, joining us for Saturday's and Sunday's events. It was great to see them and our grandsons before they headed up to Augusta to look for housing. Travis completes his residency in June and will be assigned to Ft. Gordon beginning in July. Just in time for baby number three! Pictures of the family tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our adventure!