DVIDS – News – Dogface Soldiers Travel From South Korea to Compete in Best Ranger Competition



During the last four months, 1st Lt. Zachary Hobson and 1st Lt. David Stanley delicately balanced a regimen of long-distance running, roughly 24 miles of ruck marching per week, intense gym workouts and countless hours spent honing their Soldier skills in the hopes of proving that they are the best Rangers the Army has to offer.

These Soldiers will soon put their training to the test during the Army’s 37th Annual Best Ranger Competition slated to take place at Fort Benning, Georgia, April 16-18. No matter the outcome of the competition, the two lieutenants have one silver lining in mind.

“I’m excited to just take more than one day off of running,” joked Hobson, a West Point graduate and Tampa, Florida, native who currently serves as a mortar platoon leader.

The thought of finishing the competition and finally taking a needed day off keeps the Rangers putting one foot in front of the other each time they push themselves through a 12, 14, or 20-mile ruck march.

“I’m excited to put the rucksack down for a few months and give my back and knees a break,” Hobson continued. “That’s the biggest thing we’re excited for.”

Hobson and Stanley both currently serve with 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, which is presently deployed to South Korea. Both came back to the United States only recently in order to train for, and take part in, the Best Ranger Competition.

Every year, Rangers from across the Army compete in the grueling three-day competition. Completing task after task for 61 continuous hours and operating on little sleep, only one two-man team walks away with the title of Best Ranger. The event started in 1982, and each year the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade honors Lieutenant General David E. Grange Jr. by hosting the competition.

From helicopter jumps, night-time navigation, marksmanship, over 20 miles of ruck marches and many more assessments, Rangers train for months leading up to the competition each year to hone their skills.

While only one team can take home the title, all the teams serve as an example for the Soldiers in their units back home.

“Part of being a Ranger means setting an example every single day,” said Hobson. “We want to show our Soldiers that even though you are Ranger qualified, you still have to push yourself.”

Hobson said his unit’s senior enlisted advisor, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall, coordinated a Best Ranger Competition tryout for 1st ABCT’s Ranger-qualified Soldiers deployed in South Korea. Two teams were formed from the results of the tryout and were sent to Georgia for further training.

“He’s kind of been our guide and our mentor as we’ve been trying to prepare,” said Hobson, speaking of Hall.

With the competition just around the corner, the two Rangers are eager to put their skills to the test against their peers.

“We’re there to win,” said Stanley, a Syracuse University graduate and Boston native serving as a tank company executive officer. “We wouldn’t go and compete if we didn’t think we could be competitive to win. We’re there to try our absolute hardest.”

Stanley said that while training, he and Hobson took advice from Hall and Maj. Jonathan Rembetsy, a battalion executive officer in their brigade. He said both have been guiding figures, with Rembetsy providing his training regime from when he competed for the Best Ranger Competition two years ago, and Hall giving insight from when helped run the competition as a first sergeant in Ranger Training Brigade in years past.

Teamwork has been at the forefront for both Rangers as they pushed themselves for this upcoming competition.

“Every single training we run shoulder-to-shoulder and we ruck right next to each other,” said Hobson. “I’ve spent more time with him than anyone else over the last four months.”

Though Hobson and Stanley, due to their deployment to Korea, missed the opportunity to train at Fort Benning with the other competitors, both are confident in the training plan they used at Fort Stewart.

“We’re not gonna make any excuses,” said Hobson. “We’ve worked just as hard as all the other teams. If not, we’re trying to work harder.”

For each event of the competition, teams accumulate points based on their performance with the hope that they meet the cut for the next day. Hobson said he and Stanley aim to make each cut every day of the competition.

“I’m proud to know these Rangers and serve alongside them,” said Hall. “Each of them are exceptional leaders who strive everyday for excellence. They live to compete and set the ultimate example for their Soldiers.”

For more information on the Best Ranger Competition, visit https://www.army.mil/ranger/bestranger.html







Date Taken: 04.09.2021
Date Posted: 04.09.2021 22:37
Story ID: 393484
Location: FORT STEWART, GA, US 
Hometown: BOSTON, MA, US
Hometown: TAMPA, FL, US



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Jamaica Travel Specialist Advisory Committee Relaunched : South Florida Caribbean News


[KINGSTON, Jamaica]The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has relaunched its Jamaica Travel Specialist Advisory Committee in an effort to enhance the development of its current program and boost sales of the destination. The 11-member advisory committee, comprises graduates of the JTB’s travel specialist program drawn from across the United States and Canada.  Members will serve for a one-year term.

“We are pleased to see the relaunch of this advisory committee, as we at the Jamaica Tourist Board truly value our relationships with travel specialists,” said Donnie Dawson, Jamaica Tourist Board’s Deputy Director of Tourism, Sales. “Our travel specialists are a crucial part of selling the destination.  Plus, they have proven time and time again their value to Jamaica. Especially,  based on the revenue generated in room nights sold. We welcome their input as the destination prepares to take advantage of the recovery of tourist industry.”

Jamaica Travel Specialist Advisory Committee Relaunched
Advisory Committee Members

The advisory committee members from the United States include:

Northeast

  • Claire Robinson, Claire Skies Travel
  • Mark Hennigan, Dreamers Travel

Midwest

  • Ruth DeMuth, Trip Guy Travel and
  • Gayle Ailshie, Totally Trips from the Midwest;

Southeast

  • Irene Sauger, Vacation Guru
  • Andrea Williams, Exquisite Vacations
  • Steve Simmons, Honeymoons, Inc.

West/Southwest

  • Tracy Mason, Time of Your Life Travel 
  • Michelle Carbone, Michelle’s Destinations Unlimited

Canada

  • Amy Wood, Romantic Planet Vacations
  • Katherine Poon, Fun in Paradise
JTB Representatives

The JTB will be represented on the committee by Dan Hamilton, Dian Holland, Christopher Dobson, Victoria Harper, Christopher Wright, Allana Faustin and Paulette Wright with Francine Carter Henry as the airline representative. The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association will be represented by Nicola Madden Greig.

Advisory Committee Goal

The main purpose of the advisory committee is to provide the Jamaica Tourist Board with advice on the way forward for the Jamaica Travel Specialist One Love Rewards Program to ensure future growth. Specific goals include developing niche market training strategy, revamping/updating the general training course to continuously increase the knowledge on Jamaica’s tourism product as well as offering incentives that are advantageous to members.

 

 





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SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas – WATE 6 On Your Side



SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas  WATE 6 On Your Side



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SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas – WWLP.com



SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas  WWLP.com



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SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas – WSYR



SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas  WSYR



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SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas – WETM – MyTwinTiers.com



SPECIAL REPORT: Migrants traverse desolate, deadly ranchlands to elude key border checkpoint in South Texas  WETM – MyTwinTiers.com



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Online Travel Update: Tripadvisor Plus continues to grab attention; distributors’ “narrow parity” compromise in South Korea; Trip.com deepens partnership with Shangri-La; Fareportal is asked to substantiate antitrust claims | Foster Garvey PC


This week’s Update provides additional information (and perspectives) on Tripadvisor’s new subscription program (Tripadvisor Plus), parity updates from South Korea and the latest on Fareportal’s antitrust claims against JetBlue. Enjoy

Tripadvisor Plus Continues to Garner Attention
(“Tripadvisor’s new subscription service represents potential boon for lodging industry,” says GlobalData, March 19, 2021 via Travel Daily News)
(7 Takeaways From Tripadvisor’s Confidential Pitch Deck to Hotels, March 17, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Readers of my weekly Update know that I’ve expressed a few concerns about Tripadvisor’s new subscription program, Tripadvisor Plus – supplemental property-level terms and conditions that harken back to the days when distributors demanded broad discretion in using a property’s intellectual property (terms and conditions that may also require a property to violate any applicable brand requirements), sourcing rooms and discounted rates from wholesalers and bed banks, etc. As seen in the two stories featured above, industry analysts continue to examine the new program and its effects on Tripadvisor and the properties that elect to participate.

  • Transition to a Direct-to-Consumer (B2C) Booking Platform. For some, the program represents Tripadvisor’s dramatic shift from a historically B2B player to a B2C player (in direct competition to other B2C platforms – Expedia, Booking.com, etc.). Gone are the days of Tripadvisor serving only as a review site.
  • Cost Savings? As seen from our first story above, the fact that the program is “free” (i.e., no commissions or other charges are paid directly to Tripadvisor for being featured) continues to garner much of the attention (though participation requires discounts of at least 10 percent (recommended 15 percent) and other guest perks – wine, upgrades and other additional benefits, all of which presumably cost something).
  • Tripadvisor’s Organic Search Results May Not Be as Organic. According to Tripadvisor, the more value a participating property offers (via discounts and other perks), “the higher you [properties] get placed in our organic search results and marketing channels.” For those properties that don’t participate in the new program? Well, you know what happens…Time to check those Tripadvisor terms and conditions regarding needed sort order disclosures.

Distributors Adopt “Narrow Parity” in South Korea to End Regulator Inquiry
(“Global hotel booking sites agree to changes, scrapping wide parity clauses in South Korea,” March 15, 2021 via MLEX Insight)
Last Monday, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that it reached agreements with online distributors, Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia and Hotels.com to end broad parity (e.g., direct and indirect channel rate, and availability parity) in favor of so-called narrow parity (e.g., direct channel rate parity only). With its announcement, the KFTC joins regulators from several EU countries, Brazil, New Zealand and Hong Kong (and others) in embracing distributors’ narrow parity compromise. Inevitably, Korean hoteliers will raise issue with the compromise (claiming that the change does not go far enough), but unfortunately, few will ever take steps to put the opportunities afforded by the compromise into practice. For both Booking.com and Agoda, the announced changes went into effect this past January. Changes at Expedia and Hotels.com will take effect 90 days from the March 15 announcement date.

Trip.com (Ctrip) Deepens Partnership With Shangri-La
(“Trip.com Group And Shangri-La Group Deepens Strategic Partnership,” March 16, 2021 via Hospitality Net – Latest Industry News)
My interpretation of the recent announcement…“Trip.com and Shangri-La have agreed to do some awesome stuff together – like diversify, deepen, cement, collaborate and strengthen, but we really cannot say much more.”

Fareportal Is Asked to Substantiate Antitrust Claims
(“Fareportal asked by US judge to substantiate claims of irreparable harm, antitrust injury from JetBlue,” March 16, 2021 via MLEX Insight)
Last week, counsel for Fareportal were asked by the U.S. Federal District Court Judge overseeing their client’s case against JetBlue how they intended to establish irreparable harm and antitrust injury (critical elements to succeeding on their antitrust claims) resulting from the airline’s decision to not distribute fares through the online platform. Recall that Fareportal claims that JetBlue is trying to eliminate price-comparison shopping (and thereby undermining online travel platforms) by refusing to provide the airline’s flight information. The claims followed JetBlue’s refusal to renew/extend its previous distribution agreement with Fareportal. JetBlue has filed a motion to dismiss Fareportal’s claims, and oral arguments on JetBlue’s motion are scheduled for July 7, 2021.


Other news:

Travala.com Partners With Viator Adding Over 400,000 Tours & Activities Worldwide
March 17, 2021 via PR Newswire
Last Wednesday, Travala.com, the leading blockchain-based travel booking platform with over three million travel products in 230 countries and territories covering 90,124 destinations, has announced a strategic collaboration with Viator, a Tripadvisor company and leading resource for tours and activities worldwide.

Expedia CEO: Travel to Return ‘Largely’ at Pre-Pandemic Level
March 16, 2021 via Bloomberg – Top Stories (subscription may be required)
Expedia CEO Peter Kern discusses the timeline for the return of leisure travel, competition with Airbnb, and outlook for hotels on “Bloomberg Technology.”



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Central, South Coast Public Health Officials Have COVID-19 Safety Tip For Spring Break: Stay Home


COVID-19 numbers for the Central and South Coasts have been on the low side for the last few weeks, but health experts are worried about what could happen with the arrival of spring break.

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials are urging people to stay local, and continue to social distance and wear masks.  They are now recommending that if you do travel out of state, you quarantine for 10 days when you return, and get tested for the virus.   

122 new COVID-19 cases were reported on the Central and South Coasts Friday.  Ventura County had 62, Santa Barbara County 43, and San Luis Obispo County 17.

There were four additional deaths related to the virus in the region, bringing the total to 1631 since the start of the pandemic. 



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Air Travel Up as More Travelers Head to South Florida – NBC 6 South Florida


It’s hard to believe but South Florida airports that were once ghost towns are flying high once again. Spring breakers are heading this way, but so are lots of others out for a run in the sun after a year of being in the COVID deep freeze. 

Tanisha Williams and Alexis Oliver call Virginia home, but they came off their flight at MIA and made a break for the door.

“Richmond is cold and raining. So, this is different for us right now so we are going to enjoy it,” Williams said.

That’s the thought for the thousands that are now pouring through South Florida’s airports. One day at MIA in 2020, only 3,500 passengers were flying. Earlier this week almost 90,000 showed up in one day – approaching the 110,000 daily number prior to the pandemic.

“We’re very glad to see the traffic come back and to see safe travel come back,” said airport spokesman Greg Chin. “We are seeing the highest numbers that we have seen since the pandemic.”

NBC 6 hasn’t seen this at Miami International Airport for a year — the line for security checkpoint three went back a few blocks before you go inside. Then you have to snake around to finally get up to the front and present your identification to the TSA officer. 

“Traveling wasn’t a second thought, it was just what hotels or resorts are going to be open and what it’s going to be like when you get here,” said Jason Swanson, who is from Iowa. “Everyone is wearing their mask and it hasn’t been a big deal here either.”

At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, there has been a similar increase in passengers with the numbers up 21% from last month to March.

“Our airline at the Miami hub will have almost its full schedule,” said Juan Carlos Liscano, who runs American’s operation at MIA. “We actually will have 16% more seats than we did in 2019.”

More passengers at the airports means tourists are booking hotels and heading to restaurants.

“Tourism drives the economy locally here of course,” Chin said. “Drives business revenue, drives tourism spending, hotel stays, spending in the community — so this is huge for our community to see travel come back and we want to encourage safe travel of course.”

Those showing up aren’t calculating any marketing data. For them, let the good times roll.   Alexis Oliver said while laughing ,

“Right now we are going to go get checked in and we are going to go jet skiing first, stay around the water the whole time,” Alexis Oliver said, laughing. “That’s going to be the plan. From the volume of passengers at the airports, that’s the plan lots of visitors have.”





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Warning after surge in visits to South Shields tip – traffic measures and time changes in place after ‘spring cleaning’ sparks influx at Middlefields Recycling Village


South Tyneside Recycling Village, Middlefields, South Shields.
South Tyneside Recycling Village, Middlefields, South Shields.

South Tyneside Council has been forced to put temporary traffic management measures in place to help deal with an influx of visitors to the site at Middlefields Industrial Estate in South Shields, which they said had led to problems with congestion in the area.

Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “Demand typically tends to rise around this time of year with many people having a spring clear out.

“But it is important to remember we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. National restrictions remain in place, with people required to stay home unless essential, and if they go out for permitted reasons, then they should stay local.

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Traffic queues at Middlefields Recycling Village in May 2020, shortly after the rip reopened during the first national lockdown

“Over recent days we have seen a surge in visitor numbers, which has been further exacerbated by issues in neighbouring authority areas. This has led to long queues forming at the Recycling Village with congestion along Heddon Way and Boldon Lane causing issues for businesses based on the industrial estate.”

Cllr Gibson said it was ‘extremely important’ Boldon Lane remains clear, particularly for emergency vehicles.

“We would urge anyone approaching a queue that reaches the entrance to the estate to leave and return another time,” he said.

“We have now reinstated the effective traffic management system we introduced last summer when the site reopened after the first national lockdown. We hope this will go some way to ease the problems we have been experiencing over the past few days and we will keep the situation under review.”

Councillor Ernest Gibson at the Recycling Village in South Shields

Traffic measures and opening hours

To help alleviate traffic, a two-lane approach system has been reinstated along Heddon Way from Wednesday March 3, to help separate visitors to the Recycling Village from business traffic on the industrial estate.

Opening hours will be extended by one hour from Monday March 15 until Easter, with an earlier opening time of 8am.

While the site remains open under the Government’s current national restrictions, measures remain in place. People are asked to visit only if their journey is essential and stay home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community.

The ‘Even Plate, Even Date / Odd Plate, Odd Date’ system remains in place. Cars with the wrong plate for the date will be asked to leave the queue and return on the corresponding day.

People who do not live in the borough will be asked to leave and go to their local household waste and recycling sites.

Pick-ups and cars with trailers can continue to use the site with a Household Waste Permit between 9.30am and 11am only.

Residents are urged to separate their essential waste materials before they travel to help limit their time on site.

Visitors are encouraged not to arrive before the opening time and if queues reach Boldon Lane, to come back another time. Additional signage has also been put in place indicated waiting times. If the waiting time exceeds the closing time of 6pm, then residents are should not join the queue and return on another day.

The shop at the Recycling Village remains closed under the current national restrictions around non-essential retail. Anyone with items to donate are urged not to leave them outside and to return with them once the shop reopens.

Councillor Gibson added: “We thank the public for their support over a very challenging period. If people must visit, then it is extremely important that they follow the guidance. We continue to work hard to ensure the restrictions are observed for the safety of both staff and visitors and that the site continues to run as safely and efficiently as possible.”

For further information about visiting the Recycling Village, including full details of the restrictions in place and vehicles permitted, visit the council’s website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/waste

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