JOHNSON CITY (April 30, 2013) –The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at East Tennessee State University recently sent its Ranger Challenge team to West Point, N.Y., to compete in the annual international Sandhurst Competition. The team earned a place at the competition by placing first at the 7th Brigade Championship held in Fort Knox, Ky., last fall.
Master Sgt. Matthew Goodine, who helped train the group, explains, “We sent a team of nine cadets, as well as two alternates, for a grueling two-day challenge. And, during the first day, everyone carries a full combat load.”
One of the events involved shooting rifles from cover as the targets pop up. “This kind of range requires cadets to make split-second decisions about where and when to fire,” Goodine says.
He adds, “We don’t have rifles to use for training or to take to the competition. However, we had great support from the National Guard unit in Gray. They loaned us the rifles. In fact, we had great support from the university and community to make this trip possible.”
Among the many challenges was a simulated chemical attack which required cadets to don protective gear and assemble five different weapons. In another exercise, cadets built a rope bridge over water and took heavy equipment across it. A problem-solving experience challenged cadets to take two pieces of wood and devise a way to cross water that is the width of three pieces of wood. During the final event, cadets were required to carry a 500-pound boat the last half-mile to the finish line.
Goodine adds, “The ETSU team made a great showing for a new team at an unfamiliar course. We came in ahead of teams from Germany, South Korea and Qatar, some of the West Point teams, and our cross-mountain rivals, Appalachian State University.”
In addition to the aspect of competition and physical training, the event provided another benefit. “This is excellent training for future officers under an array of field conditions,” Goodine says.
The ETSU team consisted of students George Ford, Austin Hall, Scott Curtis, Adam Harrison, Phillip Denton, David Lilly, James Milhorn, Chasen Dayton and Morgan Smith, as well as alternates Delchrisha Young and Zachary Schuette. The rules of the challenge require at least one female team member, a role Smith filled capably, with Young along as back-up.For further information about the ETSU ROTC program, contact Angela Haire of the ETSU Department of Military Science at (423) 439-4269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.