AFI Presents Rippetoe Trophy to “Best Ranger” Road March Winner

Share Article

Dedication, fitness and professionalism: all are hallmarks of American Rangers, and all were exhibited by Captain Russell B. Rippetoe, a Ranger who lost his life while fighting in Iraq in April, 2003. Each year, Armed Forces Insurance honors his memory and sacrifice with the Captain Russell B. Rippetoe Trophy, which was presented to Captain Hunter Southerland and Sergeant Sean McAlpine from 3rd Infantry Regiment on April 17 after they finished first in two grueling road march events at the David E. Grange “Best Ranger” Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

Captain Russell B. Rippetoe Trophy presented by AFI

The Captain Russell B. Rippetoe Trophy is presented by Armed Forces Insurance to the winners of the road march events at the annual David E. Grange “Best Ranger” Competition.

Even more than physical toughness, Ranger training is about mental toughness and discipline in everything these warriors do.

Dedication, fitness and professionalism: all are hallmarks of American Rangers, and all were exhibited by Captain Russell B. Rippetoe, a Ranger who lost his life while fighting in Iraq in April, 2003. Each year, Armed Forces Insurance honors his memory and sacrifice with the Captain Russell B. Rippetoe Trophy, which was presented to Captain Hunter Southerland and Sergeant Sean McAlpine from 3rd Infantry Regiment on April 17 after they finished first in two grueling road march events at the David E. Grange “Best Ranger” Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

“Even more than physical toughness, Ranger training is about mental toughness and discipline in everything these warriors do,” said Col. Tom Dials (U.S. Army, Ret.), chairman, Armed Forces Insurance. “Like fellow Ranger Captain Rusty Rippetoe, these two young men showed tremendous resolve and have earned their place among the military elite. We’re proud to present them with this trophy recognizing their heroic achievements in one of the Best Ranger Competition’s most challenging events.”

AFI, sole sponsor of the Captain Russell B. Rippetoe Trophy, first initiated an award for the road march winners during the Best Ranger Competition in 2000. The trophy, which is displayed in the Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, is a bronzed Army combat boot on a walnut stand with the names of each year’s winning team inscribed on the base. This year, Col. Dials and Command Sergeant Major Jack Hoffman presented the trophy to Capt. Southerland and Sgt. McAlpine at the Super Supper that concludes the event. This two-man team finished 12th overall in the Best Ranger Competition.

“The Best Ranger Competition really is the Olympics of small-unit military training,” Dials said. “By the time the road marches begin, the participants typically have been awake and competing for up to 40 hours. They’re loaded up with a 65-pound rucksack, weapons and gear, and then told to start walking. All of these young warriors earned the right to compete, and they are all incredibly tough. It’s an honor for all of us at AFI to be involved with them.”

About Captain Rippetoe
Captain Russell B. Rippetoe was a field artillery officer assigned to A Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He grew up in a military family, as his father, Col. Joe F. Rippetoe, served as a career officer. An athlete, high school homecoming king and Eagle Scout, Capt. Rippetoe worked his way through the University of Colorado, where he obtained his commission through the ROTC program in 1999. Prior to becoming a Ranger, he served with the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg, N.C. He also served in Afghanistan in 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom prior to being deployed to Iraq.

Capt. Rippetoe was killed along with two of his men on April 9, 2003, after a civilian vehicle approached his position near the Haditha Dam in Iraq. A pregnant woman jumped out and ran toward them screaming for assistance. As the Rangers approached her, the driver of the vehicle detonated the explosive laden truck killing himself, another female passenger, the woman who exited the vehicle, Captain Rippetoe, and two of his Rangers. Two additional Rangers were wounded. Captain Rippetoe was the first combat casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the highest ranking officer of the 75th Ranger Regiment to be killed in combat since the unit was formed in 1983. He was also the first American killed by a car bomb in Iraq. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for Valor.

About the Best Ranger Competition
The David E. Grange Best Ranger Competition has been held annually since 1981 at Fort Benning by the Ranger Training Brigade. The competition was initiated by and named after Lieutenant General David E. Grange (U.S. Army, Retired) when he was the Commandant of the U.S. Army Ranger School. The objective is to identify and reward the best two-man Ranger team in the military who possesses the highest skill and fitness level in those areas that reflect the professional qualities of Army Rangers. The winners of the Best Ranger Competition are widely recognized as the finest soldiers in the world. The competition is open to any active duty military person, regardless of service, who holds the coveted Ranger Tab.

The Best Ranger Competition is one of the most difficult competitive events in existence today, comprised of 60 straight hours of grueling physical tests, skill evaluations and mental challenges. Less than 30 percent of the Rangers who begin the competition remain to the finish. The road march events are performed over an unknown distance (between 18-25 miles) by warriors carrying a 65-pound pack with all equipment. It routinely culls the field by 50 percent. The team or teams that win the road marches usually are a contender for the overall championship.

About Armed Forces Insurance
AFI was founded in 1887 by military leaders with a single mission: to protect the property of those who protect our nation. The company provides premium quality, competitively priced property and casualty insurance to active duty, former and retired military as well as active and retired Department of Defense employees throughout the United States and overseas. Headquartered in Leavenworth, Kansas, AFI understands that its subscribers have unique circumstances and insurance needs, enabling the company to offer a level of personalized service that’s unequaled in the industry. For more information, visit http://www.afi.org or call 1-800-495-8234.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Joyce DeLay
Visit website