Kentucky Guardsman to compete in 2014 Best Ranger Competition

Story by 1st Lt. Joshua L. Witt, 1/149th Unit Public Affairs Representative

CPT Ryan Hubbs (7JAN2014)

Capt. Ryan Hubbs with the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry was selected to participate in the 2014 Best Ranger Competition in April, 2014. (Photo courtesy of 1/149th Infantry)

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. — Only 50% of students that start Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia ever graduate the grueling three phase course.  Of those that persevere to graduation, more than 37% have had to start over at least once before completing the training.  Needless to say, becoming an Army Ranger is no cakewalk!

Capt. Ryan Hubbs, a Ranger qualified logistics officer with the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry recently proved his mettle even further.  He is one of just 21 Soldiers from across the entire National Guard selected to compete in the 2014 Best Ranger Competition.

“These are the kinds of opportunities that I live for. I just can’t believe that the Army is actually going to pay me to do this,” said Hubbs. “I trained for months with the help of my friends, Maj. Snyder and Capt. Mendez, in order to make the National Guard Best Ranger Team and now I get to be on full time orders to train for just this.”

“Captain Hubbs exudes the relentless determination expected from all of our Mountain Warriors,” said Capt. Robert Andersen, operations officer for the 1/149th.  “Having him represent us, and more importantly the Kentucky Army National Guard, is a privilege he has earned. There is no doubt in my mind that he will serve the Bluegrass with the utmost character, competence, and confidence.”

The Best Ranger Competition was started in 1982.  Each year since, it has showcased some of the best military men in the world.  With time and popularity, the competition has evolved over the past thirty years.  While originally created to recognize the best two-man “buddy” team from within the Ranger Department at Fort Benning, the competition has become the preeminent determiner of the most outstanding two-man team across the entire United States Armed Forces.

Three Guardsmen from the 1/149th originally tried out for the upcoming competition.

“I looked at the Best Ranger Tryout as a team building event within the unit,” said Maj. Al Snyder, Executive Officer of the 1/149th. “My vision for the future is to have even more Rangers tryout next year from our Battalion.”

“We started seriously training about seven months prior to the event,” said Jason Mendez, also a Ranger and Training Officer for the First of the 149th Infantry Battalion. The most fun about the tryout was the train-up and adventure.”

During those seven months of preparation, Snyder, Hubbs, and Mendez spent countless hours training on their own time and getting to know one another.  Teamwork is an essential quality within the Ranger ethos.

Of the three colleagues and friends, only Hubbs was selected to compete in the 2014 competition.

“Though I got hurt during the event, and didn’t make the team this year, I’m already starting to get ready for next year’s tryout,” said Snyder.  “I felt very blessed to get the opportunity to get paid to do something I love to do, compete.”

Hubbs continues to train many hours each day as he prepares for the competition at Fort Benning this April.  He will carry with him the support of his Infantry Battalion brethren, as well as the pride of the entire Kentucky National Guard.  Having successfully run the training gauntlet to first become a Ranger, Hubbs has already shown his knowledge of how to “lead the way.”

Winning the 2014 Best Ranger Competition is the next goal in his sites as he continues to bring honor to the legacy of the Mountain Warriors of the 1/149th.

Said Hubbs of the training he’s getting ready to enter into, “No matter what happens, these next couple of months will probably be the best of my Army career. Each day I will be running, road marching, shooting, conducting airborne operations, doing land navigation, obstacle courses, and rappelling. These are essentially all of the things I signed up to do in the Army.”

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