SRU Army ROTC team takes honors
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's 10-member Army ROTC took second place in their division and fourth place overall at the 2010 Ranger Challenge at Camp Smith, N.Y.
The daylong event, traditionally held at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., but moved to a site near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, involved 41 schools and included eight events plus the Army Physical Fitness Test, which requires two minutes of pushups, two minutes of sit ups and a two-mile run. Other competitions for the two-day event included weapons disassemble and assemble, land navigation, a fire simulation, urban operations, a rope bridge exercise, a commander' exam and a 6.2 (10K) mile ruck march.
The team was commanded by Merle McConnell, a graduating senior from Aliquippa.
Team members were seniors, Paul Kebker and Mary Lynn Kebker, both from Slippery Rock, and Thomas Vierra from Hermitage; juniors, Marc Walker from Butler, Tom Foster from Volant, and Robert Politowski from Pittsburgh; sophomores, Nathan Kapaldo from Springfield, Va., and Anthony Balos from Miles, N.J.; and freshman, Justin Adams from Salem, Ohio.
SRU's team, which trained Sept. 30-Oct. 14, earned 301 points in the APFT.
"We adapted to every situation well and operated as a team without a hitch. We performed very well, and I am very proud of the team," McConnell said. "It was a great experience, and it was a good note to end on as a senior about to graduate."
As part of the challenge, each team was required to select three team members at random who then had to clear, disassemble, assemble and perform a functions check on a M9 (a 9mm pistol), an M4 carbine and an M249 (squad automatic weapon, also known as a "SAW").
A land navigation logistics problem was included followed by a simulated battle with an enemy soldier. Each group was required to complete an urban-setting mission, including clearing a room, reacting to direct and indirect fire, evaluating a casualty, calling in a medical evacuation, calling in an unexploded ordnance report and employing hand grenades.
Each group was required to span a physical gap using only a single rope to move soldiers and equipment across an obstacle.
The 10K ruck march requires hiking up a mountain and returning while carrying a dummy M16A1, a 35-pound backpack and an M249 SAW. The team handled the ruck challenge in 73 minutes, placing sixth overall in the exercise.