LAKEHURST – The 99th Readiness Division recently hosted the Army Reserve’s Second Brigade, the “Ranger Challenge”.
The event involved U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from several colleges and universities in the northeastern United States including Princeton, Rutgers, Drexel, Scranton, Seton Hall, Fordham , St. Johns, Temple, UPITT and UMASS.
The competition assessed basic warrior tasks and military knowledge to determine the best ROTC team for the challenge within the 2nd Brigade. The Ranger Challenge tested cadets mentally and physically while promoting teamwork and developing their leadership abilities. While every part of the event is designed to test the physical and mental resilience of the cadets, teamwork is also essential to their success during competition.
The event included the following events:
- Rope bridge
- Grenade Assault Course
- Mastery of weapons
- Wounded operations
- Obstacle course
More than 500 cadets participated in the event which Major Paul Carroll, 2nd S3 Brigade and the officer in charge of the event called “the big event – the cadets are having fun and they can also be tested on their leadership skills, their decision-making skills and their ability to be flexible, agile and physically fit.
Major Carroll explained that “This year’s competition was quite unique in that we held it in a training area that allowed our families to come and watch the entire event.
Cadet family members watched these young men and women test their warrior skills during events such as obstacle course, rope bridge, hand grenade assault course, assembly weapons, 6.3 mile road walking, and day and night land navigation. .
Staff Sgt. Christopher Miller, NCO in charge of the 2nd S3 Brigade said: “We try to make it more rigorous every year; we’re trying to figure out what our limits are for our cadets and push them to those limits.
“What we’ve really done is take events and make them more cadet-led so they lead forward – they get that practice, that rehearsal that they need before they become an officer apart. whole, ”Miller added.
During this year’s Ranger Challenge, 45 ROTC teams representing colleges and universities in the northeastern United States were joined by teams from the US Coast Guard Academy and the Albany ROTC Air Force.
“Our cadets become officers who understand the different branches of military service. It’s an opportunity for them to continue to build that relationship, but it’s also an opportunity to give back because we support each other throughout the academic year with training and just learning from each other, ”Carroll said. .
Once this Ranger Challenge is completed, the top two teams in the ROTC will compete in the annual Sandhurst Competition, the culminating event held every April at the US Military Academy at West Point.
Miller said, “Our events here are based on the Sandhurst competition at West Point. We’re trying to imitate as best we can at the brigade level what they’re going to experience when they go to West Point.
“The Coast Guard team participating here will also be competing at West Point, so this is training for them as well,” Carroll added.
Whether they win or lose, cadets participating in the Ranger Challenge will learn valuable lessons as they prepare to lead the military into the future.
“It was a great experience,” said Caddy Ryan Ott.
Cadet Naya Goodman said, “I enlisted before I decided to take the commissioned officer route. At first I wanted to know what it was like and decided I wanted to be a leader. “
“For me, it’s mainly about preparing for my future, so I have a structure now and after I graduate, so I’m sure of something and I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to do in life, ”said Cadet Madison Bush. .
She added, “What better way to do it than life in the military. All my life I have tried to be community driven to give back to my community in any way I can. This is the best way I could think of at this point in my life and for my future and for myself and my country, which is why I chose it.
“It’s great to see the excitement on the faces of the cadets as they compete throughout the event. It’s very rigorous, but they always have a smile on their face, and when it’s done, they know they’ve accomplished something, ”Miller added.