ROTC places third at Ranger Challenge

Sam Houston State University’s military science department placed third overall at the annual Ranger Challenge last weekend at Camp Bullis near San Antonio. The event allows cadets to compete against 20 other colleges and universities from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

SHSU cadets competed in seven events during the three-day competition that they trained for since the beginning of the semester. This year SHSU ranked higher than previous appearances at Ranger Challenge. “This is a huge accomplishment for us,” Lt. Col. Paul Mooneyham said. “We competed against 39 other teams and our cadets were committed and experienced. They were dedicated to training hard and winning.”

“I told my cadets at the beginning of the semester ‘Lance Armstrong didn’t win a single stage in the 2003 Tour de France, but he won the race. How did he do it? He did it by consistently doing well in every stage. You don’t have to win every event to win the Ranger Challenge competition, you just need to do well in all the events’, which is the strategy that proved successful for us,” Mooneyham said.

Senior Military Instructor Wayne LaClair was extremely pleased with the outcome of the event. This was LaClair’s first year coaching the cadets and he was impressed with their attitudes and efforts. SHSU placed in the top five in the one-rope bridge exercise, hand grenade assault course, M16 disassembly/assembly and patrol exam. SHSU also had a co-ed team that placed eighth overall.

A 10K march was probably the most physical of the events. SHSU placed eighth in this event which cadets had to carry all their personal gear and a rucksack filled with army equipment.

A complete team effort was necessary for the one-rope bridge exercise. The rope is tied to a tree on each side of the river and a series of pulls and knots allows soldiers to cross with equipment without getting wet. Pure skill and strength was needed and SHSU had the best time but was penalized for a weapon being out of bounds and ended up coming in second.

SHSU placed fifth in the patrol exam that tested cadets’ knowledge of Army patrolling operations. “Patrolling is an extremely complicated and difficult operation in the Army and it requires a lot of studying and hands-on training,” LaClair said.

“The Ranger Challenge is a great event and I am very proud of my students,” LaClair said. “They worked hard, trained hard and they played with great honor and gave 110 percent effort. We were competing against schools with as much as ten times as many ROTC students than we have and to place third is a great feat.”

Texas A&M placed first in the event, with Stephen F. Austin coming in second.

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