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A letter from the BOV Chairman

January 27, 2016
Lt. Gen. John Sams, Chairman of the Citadel Board of Visitors

Lt. Gen. John Sams, Chairman of the Citadel Board of Visitors

The Standard That is The Citadel

As Chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors and a member of the Class of 1967, I would like to share factual data illustrating the college’s efforts to provide excellence in higher education. Lt General John Rosa, his staff and faculty consistently strive to improve every aspect of The Citadel, and a few accomplishments are particularly noteworthy:

•For the past five consecutive years The Citadel has been rated by US News and World Report as the #1 Public Regional University in the Southeast offering at least a masters degree;
•In 2014 (the last 10-year accreditation cycle), The Citadel completed reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges with no recommendations for improvements or action required. For the significance of this please contact any college President;
•The ROTC Program was rated as #1 in the nation by The Washington Monthly in 2014.
•In 8 of the last 10 years The Citadel has the highest four-year college graduation rate in the state of South Carolina;
•In 2015 The Citadel received the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Award as one of the most civic-minded colleges in the nation. Only about 2% of schools have earned this distinction;
•Rated in 2014 as the 4th fittest college in the country by The Active Times, and perhaps most importantly;
•The cadet (student)-to-faculty ratio at The Citadel is 13-1.

Mandatory leadership and ethics studies in a military culture provide real-life leadership opportunities. We have active partnerships with 36 community organizations in the Lowcountry, including students in Title I schools where test scores are critically low and poverty is high. When a local high school found its football field unplayable, The Citadel stepped forward and offered our stadium as the host field for their home football games. Lt Gen Rosa, his staff, and faculty have made these achievements and involvements possible, and have an on-going Strategic Plan to ensure constant improvement. All of this is in an environment where state support to higher education has been reduced from over 40% of operating budgets, to less the 8%. Most would say The Citadel understands discipline. Rest assured where disciplinary actions are required, Gen Rosa and his staff will take the appropriate actions.

Respectfully,
John B. Sams, Jr., Lt Gen, USAF (ret)
Chairman, Citadel Board of Visitors

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Former Citadel star Andre Roberts nominated for NFL’s Salute to Service award

November 12, 2015
Andre Roberts has a special affinity for military personnel and their families

Andre Roberts has a special affinity for military personnel and their families

By Jeff Hartsell postandcourier.com
Nov 11 2015

The son of two U.S. Army members, Andre Roberts was born in Alaska and moved to Texas and South Carolina as his mom and dad were transferred from base to base. He even spent a year with his grandparents in the Virgin Islands while his parents served in Korea. And when Roberts starred as an All-American receiver at The Citadel from 2006-09, his connection to the military was cemented.

“It’s awesome,” Roberts said during a news conference Wednesday. “I get a chance to work with military kids and their families and to meet a lot of veterans and their wives, and that’s a blessing for me.”

Roberts, in his sixth season in the NFL, is known for his salute touchdown celebration, and each summer runs summer camps for military children. He’s hosted five military camps, including one at Joint Base Charleston in 2013.

“Since both my parents were in the Army, it was an easy avenue for me to get into, especially coming from The Citadel,” he said. “Being part of the military family, I understand what some of these kids have to go through, with moving and missing parents and stuff. I just want to be there to brighten their day, or if they want to talk to me about any of their situations.”

Roberts was among the players, coaches, personnel and alumni nominated by NFL teams who “demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.” Finalists for the Salute to Service Award, presented by, USAA will be announced in January, and the winner will be recognized at the fifth annual NFL Honors awards show in San Francisco on CBS on Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50.

Who We, The Citadel & VMI, Are

November 10, 2015

silvershako

By: Michael Patrick Westlund ’82 On a Citadel FB site.

I attended homecoming at my alma mater, The Citadel, today and we were victorious over our rivals, VMI. It was a hard fought game and much closer than the scoreboard reflected with the Citadel winning 35 to 14

Ok, so now you expect me to gloat and say all those sports clichés about whipping your rival. I won’t because of what occurred at the conclusion of the game. The two teams met and shook hands and hugged each other knowing for some this was the last time they would play at Johnson Hagood Stadium and also against their rivals from VMI. It was a time for joy at being 6 and 0 for the first time ever in the history of the school for the football team under second year coach, Mike Houston. The Corps of Cadets and the Alumni, myself included, were joyous over a great win and the last play being an intercepted pass from the VMI quarterback and run back for a touchdown with just 5 seconds on the clock. However, it was also a moment of reflection thinking of classmates gone too soon, brother and sister alumni in danger overseas serving in the armed forces and your days as a cadet so many years ago. It doesn’t get much better than that but it does, but as Paul Harvey used to say and now for the rest of the story.

The two teams joined together at midfield and the Silver Shako was exchanged by the President of VMI who gave it to President, Lt. General Rosa, Coach Houston, The Bulldogs Team Captain, and the Cadet Regimental Commander. It was a true display of class and sportsmanship at its finest. But it gets better, the two teams and the audience, were treated to the alma mater of VMI first and then the alma mater of The Citadel played by the respective school bands. As I stood next to my old classmate Cox, whom I have not seen since graduation in 1982, and we along with the other Alumni and the Corps of Cadets began “Oh Citadel, we sing thy fame” I began to mist up and realize how special and blessed I was to be part of that family, The Long Grey Line. The chorus of the assembled voices was awe inspiring and something special not seen often enough in our troubled country.

Today showed me that future is secure as long as these two fine institutions, VMI and The Citadel, continue to produce men and women forged in their foundry of leadership through shared sacrifice, dedication to country and god and whose lives serve as an example for others to follow. I love all of you my Citadel Brothers and Sisters and thank you for letting me be a member of your family.

The Citadel welcomes the Class of 2019

September 2, 2015

2015knobs

Most of the members of the class of 2019 were born in 1997, the same year as the McCaughey septuplets. For them, Google has always existed. They expect Wi-Fi to be present. They are younger than the Nintendo Gameboy and the McDLT, and since they have been on the planet, hybrid vehicles have always been mass produced.
More than 675 of them reported in at The Citadel on Saturday, Aug. 15. The freshmen are from 34 states and 6 foreign countries.

Take a closer look at The Citadel Class of 2019 profile below:

Total matriculates 678
From high schools 639
From transfers 39
From South Carolina 344 (51%)
Out-of-State/International 334 (49%)
U.S. states represented 34
Top five states SC, NC, GA, FL, VA, TX
Top five SC counties (outside of Charleston) Greenville, Berkeley, Aiken, Dorchester, Florence
Foreign countries 6

Women 58 (9%)
African-American 65 (10%)
Total minority 161 (24%)
International cadets 12 (2%)

Average SAT score 1085
Above 1100 147
Up to 1090 205
Average high school GPA 3.61
In top 25% of class 165

Most subscribed majors:
Pre-Business Administration 147
Mechanical Engineering 113
Criminal Justice 72
Political Science 72
Civil & Environmental Engineering 65
Electrical Engineering 24
Biology 34
History 26

Charleston has shown the world what a true community looks like

July 1, 2015

mother-emanuel-ame-church-charleston-845x1024

Jun 28 2015
Brian Hicks Postandcourier.com Columnist

Our hearts have been broken, but our spirit hasn’t. The senseless killing of nine people at Emanuel AME Church was meant to start a race war, to divide us. It was an appeal to our worst demons.

But we responded with our better angels.

We held hands across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, stood together in Marion Square, cried and sang as one at the College of Charleston, and covered the sidewalk in front of Mother Emanuel with flowers.

Because Charleston is strong.

That is not simply a schmaltzy saying — a bumper sticker, a hashtag. It is a philosophy. This past week has shown just what this community is made of. We have always known our city is a special place, a historic place. But we have shown the world that this is — above all else — a great place.

We are always going to have our differences, some of them petty, others profound. But we have proven that — black and white, Republican and Democrat — ultimately we are all on the same side. We are Charlestonians, and South Carolinians.

We still have a lot of work to do, wounds to heal, unfinished fights to resolve. But we have not let the deaths of nine good souls pass in vain. They would have wanted it that way; they were good people.

They were Charlestonians. Interlopers, be gone

People can call such sentiment hokey or trite, but it’s real. The proof has come in recent days. Since the tragedy we have had people coming into town to stir things up, tell us how to think, advise us about what we need to do. Some of it has been violent, meant to provoke the race war that a disturbed, misguided psychopath wanted.

We don’t need any advice, especially like that. We watched as the families of the nine victims forgave their killer — an act that took more courage, more character than most people can even understand.

So these people from off should know better. There were not riots when Walter Scott was shot in April, as much as they tried to make that happen. We don’t firebomb cars, burn flags or loot buildings. Please stop coming here to try and incite such senselessness. This mannerly Southern city would thank you to just leave us to mourn and heal in peace.

All these people — be they from cities torn by racial strife or “churches” that are doing anything but God’s bidding — should turn around and go home. Or, better yet, stay for a while, keep your mouths shut, and learn how a truly united community responds to horror and hate.

This is a place where Charleston Southern University sets up a memorial fund to help a student — whose mother was one of the nine — finish his education.

This is a place where city government creates a trust to pay for the funerals of the victims and help their survivors cope with bottomless sorrow.

This is a place where black community leaders tell outside protesters to keep their hate out of the city.

This is a place where The Citadel’s Board of Visitors votes to remove the Confederate Naval Jack from Summerall Chapel. That flag was a gift, a reminder of the school’s proud history, but as school President John Rosa so eloquently said, moving it was the least The Citadel could do for its sister organization, Mother Emanuel. That’s leadership and a commitment to community.

If more places were like Charleston, the world would be much better off.

Lessons from Emanuel

Charleston is going to be just fine, thank you. We will forever mourn our loss, but we won’t let that mar a great place. We may squabble, we may need to work on race relations. But we don’t need to destroy things, knock down monuments or change street names. We only need to show what people of goodwill can do when they try.

We support one another, and will do so even more in the future. We learned long ago that the first step to having someone respect your history is to respect theirs. That was already happening here before Emanuel, to a much larger degree than anyone from outside this state understood.

Here’s an example of Charleston strength: the acceptance and kindness that this killer received from the good people of Mother Emanuel almost convinced him to abandon his evil plan. Hate won that battle, but that’s the only victory it gets here.

This is part of all our history now, and the way we deal with it will not only help us survive, it will make us stronger. That is the lesson people around the world need to take from Charleston, a lesson we learned from the victims of a mass murderer.

More than a week ago, our hearts were broken. In the wake of great tragedy, we did not resort to hate and violence. No, instead, Charleston came together and, sentimental as it may be, sang “We Shall Overcome.”

But the truth is, we already have.

Lt. Gen. Rosa Re-ups!

June 30, 2015

ltgenrosa

30 Jun 2015

Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa to lead The Citadel through 2018

CHARLESTON, S.C.− The president of The Citadel, Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, will continue to lead the Military College of South Carolina for three more years. The college’s Board of Visitors announced the new contract agreement today. The agreement extends the commitment of the college’s 19th president until June 30, 2018, at which point Rosa will retire.

“The Citadel continues to thrive under the leadership of Lt. General Rosa, a respected retired United States Air Force general, who came to lead the college in 2006,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Steele, chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors. “John and Donna Rosa are strong, tireless leaders for our cadets, students, alumni, faculty and staff. General Rosa represents everything The Citadel and our alumni aspire to be.”

Rosa, a member of The Citadel Class of 1973, said his decision to remain in place is centered on moving the college toward the completion of its long-range strategic plan, the LEAD Plan 2018. Rosa initiated it in 2012 after months of research and planning sessions involving many individuals in the campus community. “We are making great strides toward accomplishing the goals we set in 2011 to position the college for future success,” Rosa said. “The strategic plan is the foundation of our mission of building principled leaders for all walks of life. I want to ensure a successful completion of this important process.”

One of the greatest achievements of Rosa’s administration is the implementation of a four-year leader development model that is required of every cadet. The program takes cadets through the stages of following, serving, leading and commanding in a framework that emphasizes the core values of honor, duty and respect. Additionally, the president has used his experience in strategic planning and fundraising to improve the financial health of the college.

During the past four years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked The Citadel as the top public college in the South among colleges offering master’s degrees.

Rosa became president of The Citadel in January 2006. The extension to his contract means that with a 12-year tenure, he would be the longest serving president of the college since Gen. Mark W. Clark, who served as 11th president from 1954 till 1965.

The contract amendment increases the president’s base compensation to $385,000, which includes a state salary of $178,600 plus a supplement of $206,400 from The Citadel Foundation. The amendment does allow the president to receive an annual bonus for continued support and implementation of objectives in the LEAD Plan 2018. No state funds or tuition would be used for bonuses.

3 Diamond Dogs Drafted in MLB Draft

June 12, 2015

Bulldog Pitching staff decimated as Reeves, Hunter & Mason are drafted

James_Reevess

Citadel starting pitcher James Reeves was selected by the New York Yankees in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The Summerville, South Carolina, native was taken in the 10th round as the 303rd overall pick, and is the 32nd draft pick to be coached by Fred Jordan at The Citadel.

Reeves pitched in 68 games for the Bulldogs, picking up 20 wins over his 33 career starts. Throughout his 239.0 innings pitched, he struck out 227 opponents, and had a 3.88 earned-run average. In 2015, the senior was named Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year, first-team All-Southern Conference, and was recognized nationally as a Louisville Slugger Third-Team All-American. He claimed the SoCon and Louisville Slugger Player of the Week titles twice in the season; first on Feb. 16 and again on April 6 for his no-hitter against Mercer.

Reeves made 15 starts over the season, striking out 115 batters over his 95.0 innings pitched to earn a 3.69 ERA. During the 2014 season, Reeves pitched in seven games and finished with a 3.40 ERA, striking out 36 batters in 39.2 innings. As a sophomore in 2013, Reeves appeared in 24 games and tossed 51.2 innings for the Bulldogs, striking out 42 batters while holding an ERA of 4.01.

In his first season with The Citadel, Reeves made 22 appearances and posted an ERA of 4.44 over his 53.3 innings. He picked up wins in his first three appearance for the Bulldogs and struck out 34 batters over the 2012 season

Skylar_Hunter

The Citadel’s closer Skylar Hunter was selected in the MLB Draft on Wednesday going in the 12th round to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Hanahan native was taken with the 354th overall selection. Hunter told Live 5 Sports on Wednesday that he intends to forgo his senior year and sign with the Phillies.

Hunter appeared in 95 games during his career at The Citadel, recording 147 strikeouts with an earned-run average of 3.49 over 131.1 innings. This season, Hunter broke the program and Southern Conference records for career saves with 41.

As a junior in 2015, Hunter tossed 53.0 innings for the Bulldogs, earning 13 saves and striking out 59 opponents with an ERA of 3.74. During his 2014 season, Hunter posted an impressive 1.67 ERA over his 43.0 innings pitched, allowing just eight runs while striking out 44. He earned 15 saves, tying The Citadel record for saves in a season. In 2013, Hunter was a second-team All-Southern Conference performer and was also named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American.

Austin_Mason

Citadel starting pitcher Austin Mason was selected in the 17th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks . The junior right-hander was taken in the 17th round as the 496th overall pick, and is the 34th draft pick to be coached by Fred Jordan at The Citadel. A native of Greer, South Carolina, Mason finished his Citadel career with a 5.28 earned-run average over 165.1 innings pitched. He started in 32 of his 53 appearances, striking out 126 opponents.

In the 2015 season, Mason posted a 4.19 ERA through 53.2 innings of work and struck out 53 batters over his 25 appearances. As a sophomore, Mason returned from offseason shoulder surgery to play in 14 games of the 2014 season. He earned an ERA of 5.02 over 57.1, innings, striking out 39 opponents.

In the 2013 season, Mason appeared in 14 games with 13 starts, contributing to his 6.63 ERA. Over 54.1 innings on the mound, the freshman struck out 34 batters.

Carolinas Conference will cut deficits at College of Charleston, Citadel, CSU

May 21, 2015

Column by Gene Sapakoff Postandcourier.com
May 16 2015

LSU is building an $84.75 million leisure project complete with a lazy river that spells out “LSU”and a 21,000-square-foot sun deck. Never mind Louisiana’s projected cut of $500 million in higher education funding that might mean layoffs for tenured LSU professors.

Meanwhile, CBSSports.com reports that 11 major NCAA conferences claimed in response to lawsuits filed by former football players Martin Jenkins (Clemson) and Shawne Alston (West Virginia) that “many, if not most” schools will cut athletic scholarships if student-athletes are allowed to be paid.

Red ink is flowing through smaller conferences, too, and it’s no leisurely ride through campus. It’s a flood of concern over the growing separation between “haves” and “have nots” as Power 5 schools add cost-of-attendance stipends to their scholarship offers.

More sensible mid-major conference alignments are as overdue as the “Full House” reunion.

Geography 101 is such an underrated class.

For instance, the College of Charleston baseball team played three games at Northeastern University in Brookline, Mass., this week. Attendance at Thursday’s game: 107. Which means that after the Cougars traveled 980 miles to Boston, there were more players and workers at Friedman Diamond than fans. And the College of Charleston recently cut its men’s and women’s swimming programs.

A Carolinas Conference makes too much sense to ignore, not just for the College of Charleston, The Citadel and Charleston Southern but for almost every mid-major athletic department in the Carolinas.

Charleston Southern shouldn’t have to play conference football games at Monmouth. The Southern Conference shouldn’t be scrambling for replacement schools. Proximity means never having to put your phone on airplane mode for road trips.

So many reasons

Proposed league: Carolinas Conference
Purpose: Shorter trips mean more time for academics, reduction of travel costs, real rivalries, more visiting fans at road games, better overall attendance numbers, less travel costs for family members of student-athletes, more fan interest.

South Carolina Division
(10):
The Citadel
Charleston Southern
College of Charleston
Coastal Carolina
Furman
Presbyterian
S.C. State
USC Upstate
Winthrop
Wofford

North Carolina Division (10):
Campbell
Davidson
Elon
Gardner-Webb
High Point
UNC Asheville
UNC Charlotte
UNC Greensboro
UNC Wilmington
Western Carolina

It’s not perfect.

UNC Charlotte wants to play big-time basketball, and football. The Davidson men’s basketball team wags its athletic department and just finished atop the Atlantic 10 in its first year in the conference. The Wildcats probably can’t be talked back down a level, even if it’s for their own good in the long run. S.C. State might want to remain in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with other historically black colleges and universities, though closer sports foes will help the school with its well-documented deficits.

The Carolinas Conference with a few subtractions or additions still works (and won’t be confused with a Division II Conference Carolinas that should be renamed for including non-Carolinas schools). There are enough football schools. Basketball intrigue abounds, Davidson and UNC Charlotte or not. It projects as a strong baseball league that would get two NCAA tournament bids more years than not.

The drawbacks drown in black ink and a positive vibe. Let LSU have its lazy river, and watch Alabama and Auburn and South Carolina and Clemson answer with better, longer, lazier lazy rivers. It’s time that Carolinas Conference schools set the tone for other mid-major realignment plans across the nation’s hard, dry college athletics landscape.

Lt. Gen. John B. Sams elected chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors

April 29, 2015
Lt. General Sams during his USAF career

Lt. General Sams during his USAF career

The Citadel’s governing organization will soon have a new chair. Lt. Gen. John B. Sams, Jr., USAF (Retired), will begin his term as chair of The Citadel Board of Visitors (BOV) July 1, 2015. Sams was elected to the position today in a unanimous vote by his fellow board members. Sams will assume the role when current BOV chair, Lt. Gen. W. Michael Steele, USA (Retired), completes his term June 30.

“John Sams has a proven track record of leadership in the military, business and The Citadel community,” said Steele in a written announcement to alumni. “He is a key contributor, most recently serving as chairman of the Education and Leadership Development Committee. We are fortunate to have his leadership for the BOV.”

Sams, who graduated from The Citadel in 1967 with a degree in history, has served on the 14-member BOV since being elected in 2011. He is owner and president of JBSJ & Associates, LLC, an aerospace consulting company. Sams has more than 45 years’ experience as a leader in the military and commercial aerospace enterprises. He was a six-time commander in the U.S. Air Force before retiring in 1999. He joined The Boeing Company and rose through the ranks to become vice president of Air Force Programs for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems before retiring from that company. Additionally, Sams is chairman and chief operating officer of the Aerial Refueling Systems Advisory Group, the Joint Standardization Agent for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, for all matters pertaining to service and international aerial refueling specifications, processes and procedures. His term will end June 30, 2017.

“It is my honor to continue the excellent work of Gen. Steele—in association with my esteemed BOV colleagues, the college president, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, and our broader campus community—to direct our great college toward the achievement of its LEAD Plan 2018 goals,” said Sams. “I am deeply proud of The Citadel’s contributions to our nation and will work to ensure we continue producing men and women of character.”

Steele has been active with his alma mater since his graduation in 1967. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2001 after 34 years of service where he led every level, eventually rising to commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific. He is a Vietnam Ranger Battalion and Ranger Group combat veteran. Following retirement, he served as a senior executive in the defense industry and started a defense services company, Osprey Bay, LLC. He also served as a senior mentor for the Army General Officer Strategic Leader Development Program from its inception in 2001 through 2014. He will continue to be involved with The Citadel.

“Spending time with cadets and engaging with faculty, staff and alumni has strengthened my respect and appreciation for our alma mater and has been a tremendous personal learning opportunity,” said Steele. “The Citadel’s lofty reputation as a producer of principled leaders will continue to be enhanced during John Sams’ tenure as BOV chair.”

“It has been a pleasure working with Lt. Gen. Steele. He has taken The Citadel to new heights and will be missed,” said Citadel President John W. Rosa. “Lt. Gen. Sams is a proven leader, and I look forward to serving with him during this important time at The Citadel.”

Col. W. Dylan Goff, The Citadel Class of 2002, will continue as vice chair.

About the Board of Visitors
South Carolina law and college regulations define the role of the Board of Visitors. The Citadel’s Board of Visitors has 14 voting members. Ex officio members include the governor, the adjutant general and the state superintendent of education; the other 11 members are graduates of The Citadel. The board also has a non-voting secretary and can appoint individuals who have served at least 18 years on the board as emeritus members. The General Assembly and the governor must elect members “based on merit regardless of race or economic status and shall strive to ensure that the membership of the board is representative of all citizens of the state of South Carolina. Elections take place in the session prior to the expiration of a board member’s term

Behind the scenes at Best Ranger, the Army competition for elite soldiers

April 15, 2015
Capt. Robert Killian climbs a robe during the Best Ranger competition on April 12 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Markeith Horace for the U.S. Army)

Capt. Robert Killian,’05 climbs a robe during the Best Ranger competition on April 12 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Markeith Horace for the U.S. Army)

By Dan Lamothe.
The Washington Post April 13, 2015

FORT BENNING, Ga. — Already exhausted, Army Capt. Robert Killian sounded very much Saturday like a man who had tried for years to win the Army’s Best Ranger competition, but had not yet reached the summit. The Special Forces officer in the Army National Guard had already finished 23rd, 6th and 2nd in previous versions of the contest, which pits some of the military’s top operators against each other in a 62-hour Olympics-style event focusing on military skills and endurance.

Small mistakes had cost Killian’s two-man team valuable points, leaving them in second place behind a team of soldiers from Fort Benning. “When I first started I wasn’t too technically savvy because I was just a triathlete and runner so I just said that I’d go in and do the physical stuff,” Killian said. “I thought it would get me ahead. You know, win the road march. Win the land [navigation]. But you really have to have the technical. That’s where people catch up, or you get a big point gap.”

Killian (The Citadel ’05 C Co.) and Capt. Travis Cornwall finished in second place for the second consecutive year Sunday night, losing to Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Lemma and Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Briggs of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning. The competition started with 51 teams, and was whittled to 24 a day later.

It marked the 32nd year for the competition, which was started in 1982 to honor retired Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr., a member of the Army Ranger Hall of Fame who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Grange, now 90, continues to attend the event annually and serve as an ambassador for the Army.

“The young men that go through this, they’re military athletes. There are no Sergeant Bilkos out here,” he said, referring to the famous con man soldier in the “The Phil Silver Show” TV series. “That’s the kind of people you get out here. They’re real winners.” Best Ranger includes 26 events on average, and has competitors doing everything from crawling through the mud to leaping from helicopters into water. One of its most famous events is the Tri-Tower Challenge, in which soldiers rappel down the side of a structure more than 200 feet high.