TROY—Troy University’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corps brought home top honors after winning the ROTC Ranger Challenge at Fort Benning, Ga. on Oct. 24.
The 48-hour challenge was a test of endurance, skill and team work, said Joshua Joseph, the team’s captain and a senior criminal justice major from Pensacola, Fla.
“We trained for three months leading up to the three-day Ranger Challenge,” he said. “It was a good feeling to beat the bigger schools.”
The TROY team not only won its division, but outpaced schools in the larger division. The teams competed on water as well as dry land in events that ranged from night land navigation, rifle shooting competition, water obstacles, the Ranger confidence course, and a 10-kilometer “ruck run” with 35 lb backpack and battle gear.
“It was supposed to be a march with our ruck sacks,” said Christopher Foster, a senior psychology major from Laurel Hill, Fla., “but it was really a run and all our team members had to remain within 25 meters of each other the entire time.”
The Trojan Team used this final event to wrestle away first place from another university after completing the race nine minutes ahead of that team.
For Joseph, a senior, the event marked a special achievement.
“This is my last year and it’s good to go out on top,” he said, equating the win with a conference championship. “It was tough but gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our tactical proficiency under high-stress situations.
In addition to Joseph and Foster, the TROY Ranger Challenge Team members are:
Joseph Hill, a junior social science major from Fort Mitchell;
Demaris and Garnett Lias, both junior computer science majors from Pittsview;
Fer-Rell Malone, a freshman finance major from Waycross, Ga.;
Taylor McCurry, a sophomore political science major from Kempner, Texas;
Adam McPherson, an international relations graduate student from Samson;
Reagan Pimperl, a senior criminal justice major from Bay Minette; and
Stephen Scott, a sophomore biology major from Prattville.
Major Jim Holder, chair of military science at the University, described these high-stress competitions as preparation for real-life environments routinely faced by soldiers across the globe.
One event scenario was a rescue operation. The TROY team had to extract an injured soldier from a helicopter crash. The team built a rope-bridge to reach the site, located the crash, and extracted the crash victim – a 250-pound dummy – under simulated heavy enemy fire while applying life saving first aid. Once they stabilized the victim, they had to transport him through a steep ravine and into a clearing – then had to run with the victim to the far end of an airstrip to complete the medical evacuation.
“When they reached the clearing they thought they were complete, but then realized they had to make an additional push for the finish line,” Holder said. “It was amazing to see other school leaders and competitors cheering our warriors on with ‘Go Trojans’ as they made their final push.”
“The spirit of competition and mutual respect among competitors exemplifies the Army warrior ethos. Our team worked extremely hard to prepare for this challenge and it proved that Trojans are winners whatever their field of play. Their dedication, teamwork and individual skill is what made the difference,” he said.