FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - After a grueling three days of obstacles, challenges, and little to no sleep or food, the winners of the 2016 Best Ranger Competition are speaking out.
Captain Robert Killian and Staff Sergeant Erich Friedlein endured 58 hours of back to back challenges which tested their minds and bodies.
However, they say standing on stage Monday in front of their peers as the 2016 Best Rangers made it all worth it.
The men reached an emotional finish Sunday, as the National Guard team crossed the last obstacle's finish line.
Capt. Killian and Staff Sgt. Friedlein brought home a victory for their team number 47.
The amount of physical pain, and mental strength it took to stand as victors at Monday's ceremony can't be overstated.
"He was zoning out a couple times, talking about Mickey Mouse on my map when I was showing him where we were," said Capt. Killian when describing the 11 hours of land-navigation the men endured together.
The Captain and Staff Sergeant duo pushed through three days of challenges which included a surprise Spartan Race, the Darby Queen Obstacle Course, water confidence course, and the final buddy run.
"There were a couple minutes when I thought he might not make it through and I pushed him past his limit but that's what I took away from all the years that I've done it, is you have to want it. You can't give 100 percent, you got to give 110 percent. That's the difference between first and second sometime, your will to want it," Capt. Killian.
Second place is something Capt. Killian knows all too well, landing there for the past two years before finally reaching first place this year.
Staff Sgt. Friedlein rose from his previous best at 11th place in the race, and now hopes to be an inspiration to those back home in Pennsylvania.
"Easier way of doing things that I can train new soldiers on, but also I just hope that I'm setting an example for soldiers back in my unit, and hopefully showing all these great opportunities that they can achieve too," Staff Sgt. Friedlein said.
Capt. Killian adds that he might return for another shot at the title next year if another one of his buddies wants him to compete.