The Tower will glow orange Thursday, Nov. 20, in honor of the university’s Army ROTC Ranger Challenge Team, which placed first in the 2014 Fifth Brigade Ranger Challenge Competition on Oct. 31.
The Texas Army ROTC team bested teams from Northeastern State University, University of Arizona, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs and Texas AandM University.
The two-day competition challenges cadets mentally and physically, enhances leadership, critical thinking and team cohesion, develops healthy competition among battalions and helps retain cadets. It includes a 10-kilometer foot march in which cadets carry more than 40 pounds; day and night land navigation where teams use only a map, protractor and compass to find points over several kilometers; weapons assembly and disassembly tests; grenade assault course; a tactical combat casualty care test; and a commander’s challenge, a surprise event.
“The Ranger Challenge Competition tests cadets’ abilities to perform in a high-stress environment, both physically and mentally, ” says Cadet Promise Maino, senior nutrition major. “Events simulate real-life situations and challenges soldiers face.”
“By winning our region, the UT team is the best university in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas and Arizona,” says Lt. Col. Travis Habhab, chair and professor of military science at UT Austin.
With this win the Texas Army ROTC team will go on to compete in an international competition at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.
“Of the 275 ROTC programs across the country, Texas Army has earned one of just eight available slots, and will head to West Point to compete in the spring,” says Cadet Alan Figurski, senior petroleum engineering major and captain of the team.
“As many as 50 teams from around the world (some made up of cadets, others composed of prior-service soldiers)” will compete at West Point in a more rigorous series of events, Figurski explains. “The skills tested are increased to include events like rappelling, obstacle course navigation, combat swim (with full gear), rifle marksmanship, a raft paddle and a 12-foot wall climb.”