ROTC participates in Ranger Challenge

The Grambling State University ROTC program participated in the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge held at Camp Blanding, Florida, with teams from throughout the Southeastern United States.

The demanding two day event, which took place Jan. 25-26, covered 23 miles and featured eight events scattered throughout the competition rifle marksmanship, a hand grenade assault course, land navigation, a foot march, a patrol boat race, an obstacle course, a river crossing and the Commander’s Challenge.

Florida State University became victorious winning the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge; second place was last year’s winner Georgia Southern, and third place went to the University of Mississippi.    

Grambling used it time at the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge to train as a unit and not to compete.

“Our program is very enormous compared to other schools,” said Cadet Michael Myers Jr. “Going to Ranger Challenge was very competitive, but we weren’t there to compete. We were there to train and at the same time to make us better.”

During the Ranger Challenge, the GSU ROTC program endured unfavorable weather conditions as well as mental and physical strain on their bodies.

On day one the team faced rainy conditions and dropping temperatures. Throughout day two it was windy with cloudy skies.

Grambling overcame flaring tempers with leadership and mental toughness. Despite flaring tempers, Grambling posted one of the best times in the patrol boat race where other teams struggled.

“It was all about team work because, us carrying the load we carried, we just had to support each other,” said  Myers.  “But at the same time, not having transportation, we had to get from one point to another by marching and carrying our gear with us.

“We also had to pick up our teammates. We basically put our teammates on our back.

“It was an experience to test you and see how much of a person you are and tell how much you care for the person next to you,” said Myers.

Cadet Jackie Johnson said beyond the physical aspect of Ranger Challenge, the key was being mentality strong.

Since October the team prepared by being in the weight room, waking up at 5 a.m. for physical training, marching around the city of Grambling and training for their events. Also on the weekends they did weapons training and rope bridge. The team put in countless hours working on their craft, preparing six days a week and four to six hours per day.

“I will use this experience to go forward for future reference with my military career,” said Johnson. “I will look back on Ranger Challenge and it’s going to be some days where I think it might be hard but I will look back on the Ranger Challenge experience and I know I can get through it.”

“As a team it was good training. We were there to represent our team and Grambling said,” Johnson said.

The team consisted of 12 cadets: Ross Adelsperger, Lance C. Bradford, Preston Bowman, Johnecia Douglass, Dwain Hebert, Jonathan Jenkins, Erick Johnson, Gecoba Robinson, Kimberly Spikes, and Fredarion Swafford, as well as Myers and Johnson.