JMU Army ROTC Ranger Team places first in challenge competition
The JMU Army ROTC Duke Battalion Ranger Challenge Team recently placed first at the 4th Brigade’s Ranger Challenge competition. Held in Fort Pickett, Va., October 25 - 27, this competition tested the cadets’ bodies, minds and spirits through a series of extraordinarily grueling challenges. Despite the efforts of fierce competitors, JMU’s Ranger team came out on top, besting ROTC programs from more than 40 other colleges and universities.
Consistently ranked in the top 5 percent of more than 270 universities in the nation, JMU’s Army ROTC Duke Battalion recruits, develops and trains students to become agile and adept soldiers with a focus on caring leadership. The program motivates young people through extensive military science education to be better citizens that are committed to lifelong service of their community and country. An additional aspect of the ROTC program, the JMU Ranger Group works to enhance the technical, tactical and physical skills of its members and accelerate the development of their leadership skills.
The competition included a series of 12 events spread over the course of two days, with teams competing for six hours daily. These challenges tested a wide range of the cadets’ skills, including transporting and treating casualties, maneuvering through and disarming a machine gun nest in assault situations, and various tasks that assessed their ability to focus under extreme pressure. In between events, cadets ran a total of 10 miles, testing their physical strength and endurance even when not in direct competition.
“We performed an event that was tactically, mentally and physically demanding to see how we react as a team under more intense circumstances,” said Josh Cogdell, a member of JMU’s Ranger team and participant in the competition. “We have an extremely well-organized training schedule, and that helped us come out in first place this year.”
Led by commander LTC Rick Showalter, the team of 14 cadets and cadre did the JMU Nation proud, earning an invitation to compete on a national as well as international level in the prestigious Sandhurst competition in the spring of 2014. Participants in this competition will include a group from West Point as well as other military teams from around the world.
Cogdell believes the hard work and determination of the team will ultimately help them repeat their success in the next level of competition. “I don’t doubt we will have very high standings, if not win, at Sandhurst.”
By Courtney Herb (’15)