Earlier this week my husband, two dogs (Scrappy and Eli) and I closed in on another chapter in our lives at Fort Benning. Ryan was there for the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, and I was working as a journalist at the Bayonet & Saber newspaper in the Fort Benning Public Affairs Office. Fortunately, I can say that I was lucky enough to end my time there with one of the biggest events and stories of the year: The Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition.
The Best Ranger Competition was the most interesting event I have covered. The competition involves 50 teams of two, who compete in a rigorous three-day, 60-hour event. It was so cool to see the kick off and the final buddy run at the end, and everything in between. I also met Capt. Kristen Griest, one of the first females to graduate Ranger School! I have now met both 🙂
I had the opportunity to embrace new adventures, too! I conquered my fear of heights and stairs and climbed the Ranger tower at Victory Pond. It was so worth it for the pictures and footage we got! (See below.)
I wrote two stories on the competition: Best Ranger Competition creates new challenges and National Guard team captures Best Ranger title.
Both stories were so fun to write. Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy came for the awards ceremony, so that was so cool to hear him speak! He even retweeted a few of my tweets — he’s very active on social media! 🙂
Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy speaking at the Best Ranger Competition awards ceremony at Fort Benning.
I was also so excited to see Capt. Robert Killian win. His family spoke with me the first day of the competition and they knew it was his year. It was a perfect story.
Along with our team we have some amazing photographers! You can check out all their Ranger competition photos at www.fortbenningphotos.com. Some photos were featured in the ArmyTimes!
Capt. Kristen Griest, left, was one of the first females to graduate Ranger School.
Ken snapping pics!
Completing the helocast
New this year – the Atlas stones.
water obstacle course
Markeith snapping pictures of the Rangers coming through the tunnel
On top of the Ranger tower
Kellie taking amazing photos!
We climbed the top of the Ranger tower – had to snap a picture!
Standings before the final buddy run
Team 47 has an emotional finish – they won first place.
Saw a high school friend 🙂
PAO team takes on the Best Ranger Competition at the crack of dawn!
On that note, I was glad to end my time at Fort Benning writing such fun stories; however, I’m extremely sad to leave such a great team! All of my coworkers were so talented, smart and beyond funny! But I know we will all keep in touch!
Now on to the other exciting news in my life: I have officially accepted a position as a Web Specialist II with Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families. Working at SU was a dream of mine since I was young — it feels so surreal!
I’m so thankful to have had our wonderful and fun chapter at Fort Benning. I will miss all of our friends we have made — that is one of the hardest parts about being in the military community, you always have to leave your friends! 😦
The other side!
Kellie and Danielle know me too well 🙂
My last day!
My last newspaper! Two of my stories on the front 🙂
Going to miss these girls! #dreamteam
But on a positive note, I am also excited to start our new chapter in New York. It is bittersweet.
As my good friend Courtney said, “You may be going to New York, but you’ll always be a Georgia Peach!”
We are currently in Florida spending some time with family before we head up north. We are also going to New Orleans (my fourth time — it’s my favorite!) next week. I can’t wait!