Bearkat Battalion earns honors at Ranger Challenge

A score of cadets in the Sam Houston State University Army ROTC program competed in the 2007 Ranger Challenge this month against 21 other colleges in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

The coed and all-male teams, each comprised of six people and alternates, won first and fifth place honors respectively.

“I was so proud of and impressed with all of the cadets,” Lt. Col. Richard King said. “We haven’t won this since 1996.”

The three-day Ranger Challenge at Camp Bullis in San Antonio featured eight events: the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test), the 10K (6.2 mile) Ruck March, Patrolling, Land Navigation, the First Aid Written Test, the Hand Grenade Assault Course, the First Aid Obstacle Course, Day Orienteering, M16 Disassembly/Reassembly and Night Orienteering.

The teams earned first place recognitions in APFT, which examined the strength and endurance of each cadet, the First Aid Obstacle Course, which involved moving a 180-pound “casualty” through a course and the M16 Disassembly/Reassembly test.

This year’s student coach Gabe Gonzales said the teams trained every weekday at 5 a.m. in the morning and three hours in the afternoon since school began.

“We had a great group of cadets that gelled well from the get go. The results are a reflection of the training that these cadets put in every morning and afternoon for seven weeks. We train to higher standards so that when it is game day, we can perform at a higher level,” he said.

Gonzales said over 44 cadets tried-out for the teams this year, but only 17 made the team. Six all-male cadets and one alternative, plus six coed cadets and two alternates attended the competition with various advisors and commissioned officers.

The SHSU Army ROTC Bearkat Battalion is designed to “prepare the future leaders of America to receive a commission as a United States Army Officer,” according to its website.

King said that out of 120 cadets – a number that has grown 20 percent since last year – 60 are already contracted.

He also said that in the past year, Bearkat Battalion was in the top 15 percent of schools with an Army ROTC program.

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