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Quakertown soldier takes part in grueling Army Ranger competition


Tested seemingly beyond their limits, Quakertown’s Capt. Daniel Frasch, 27, and his teammate, Major Logan Dannemiller, 35, of Cody, Wyo., overcame multiple challenges in this year’s U.S. Army’s Best Ranger Competition.

During the national three-day competition among elite soldiers, the pair tested their strength and endurance in a mix of technical, tactical, mental and physical contests that included everything a Ranger has been asked to do in the Army.

“It certainly was tiring, but one of the great elements of this competition is that you’re doing it in a buddy team,” said Frasch, who commissioned in 2018 and was a first lieutenant at the time of the contest. “We had each other there (for motivation), and we knew that based on the training ... we were able to handle a lot and we knew that we were going to be tired, so we started the competition knowing that it was going to put us in a bad place physically and we just had to overcome the challenges.”

Physical challenges included long runs and swims, with participants kept in the dark about the distance, and obstacle courses and rope climbing meant to reflect the cliff climbing that was necessary during the invasion of Normandy toward the end of WWII. And there was no stopping for food or rest.

Weapons firing, extended foot marches, land navigation courses and Ranger-specific tasks also were among the events.

“The history is really what sets it apart,” said Dannemiller, who commissioned in 2010. “The competition is important because no matter what the rest of the Army is doing or what’s going on, it shows that the U.S. Army can bring its best together even if it’s only for a week or a weekend...”

Like Dannemiller, Frasch said he plans to make Army service a career. He said he was inspired to join the Army by family friends and knew at about age 14 that’s what he wanted to do. “Pretty early on, I knew that was going to be the path for me,” he said. “I think I decided about halfway through college I wanted to branch infantry, and it’s the expectation of infantry to earn your Ranger tab.”

The Ranger tab is a patch with a unit insignia displayed on a soldier’s uniform for those who earn it, and it’s considered a very big achievement, according to LTC Lindsey Elder, public affairs officer, 3rd Infantry Division, at the time of the interview.

Frasch, who successfully completed the 62-day Ranger School, open to any service member, was quick to point out, however, that he is “not Ranger Regiment.”

Dannemiller, who was deployed six times to Afghanistan, said he has been in and out of the Ranger Regiment.

Frasch, a 2013 graduate of Quakertown Community Senior High School and a 2018 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, said he served as a platoon leader during a deployment to Europe.

During the 38th annual Best Ranger competition, held at Ft. Benning, Ga., last spring, Frasch and Dannemiller were among the final 16 teams to even finish the 60-hour competition, and they won the Richard A. Leandro Award for placing first in the night orienteering event, Elder said.

“Best ranger is a pretty grueling three-day competition amongst the best of the best,” said Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, Commanding General of 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia, where both men were stationed.

“What was unique about our team is they were a pick-up team. Unlike most teams where you are on special duty for several months to prepare, Team Three trained together in their spare time. They did their full-time jobs – as a company executive officer and a Division Chief of Operations – up until the week before the competition,” he said.

“They would get together before and after work to make themselves ready. So, knowing all that and to see them make the first cut, make the second cut, and place 15th amongst people who have been treating their preparation like a full-time job is really special,” he said.

“I definitely had fun,” Frasch said. “It was challenging but certainly rewarding.

“As a junior officer, it gave me experience on skills and things I’ve never had a chance to do before.”