ROTC involved in ‘intense’ competition

Melissa Berg

Iowa State ROTC cadets placed third and seventh in the “intense” Ranger Challenge Competition at Camp Dodge near Des Moines Oct. 23-25.

Seven Midwestern universities participated in the competition, including ISU, the University of Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa, Creighton University, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and Pittsburgh State University.

ISU entered two teams and a total of 17 cadets in the competition, said Company Commander Tom Jones, senior in industrial engineering.

Team one, composed of previous competitors, won third place and team two, predominantly made up of freshmen, ranked seventh out of the eight teams.

The University of Kansas was the first-place winner in the competition.

Joe Rief, cadet first sergeant and sophomore in elementary education, said the Ranger Challenge is a collegiate varsity sport.

“The group of ROTC cadets train intensively for these six to eight weeks for this one competition,” Rief said.

The cadets began training for the competition on the first day of classes in August, said Umar Mujeeb, cadet corporal and freshman in biology.

Cadets trained every day, starting their workout at 5:30 a.m. Every Wednesday night they ran laps for two hours, and every Saturday they trained at Camp Dodge for four hours.

“The first two weeks of training determines who is going to stick with the program,” Mujeeb said.

He said there were a few drop-outs because of scheduling conflicts and lack of physical fitness.

Jones said he was pleased with the performance of this year’s teams.

“Team two was inexperienced and competed very well,” Jones said. “They had a new team commander with no experience. His leadership and the rest of the team allowed them to perform outstanding.”

The competition began with a written exam over the FM7-8 platoon manual Friday evening. The next morning was the physical fitness test which included two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run, Jones said.

Emily Gries, junior in journalism and mass communication, had the highest female physical fitness score. She is the only female on the ISU team and has participated in the competition for two years.

Other events of the competition include a rope bridge challenge, basic rifle marksmanship, a grenade assault course, weapon assembly or disassembly, land navigation and a 10K forest road march.

Team one had the best time in the 10K march.

Mark Barglos, sophomore in mechanical engineering, said he was especially happy that his team beat U of I this year.

“We beat the teams we wanted to beat this year,” Barglos said. “It had been six years since we beat Iowa.”

Jones said ISU competed against some very experienced individuals who have many years of military training. He said the team’s focus has to be superior, the motivation high and the adrenaline pumping to be competitive.

“Once we are together as a team there is an intense amount of cooperation,” Jones said. “Everyone pushes it every inch of the way. It is the most rewarding feeling to know that you completed this intense weekend.”