UT Martin ROTC places in competition
The Messenger 11.21.07
A group of 10 students in the University of Tennessee at Martin ROTC program recently placed fourth out of 18 schools in the annual Ranger Challenge Division I.
“The team trained almost every day, sometimes two to three times a day, to be competitive during this two-day event,” said Capt. Donnie Hebel, UT Martin assistant professor of military science and Ranger Challenge coach.
“Every year, the Ranger Challenge team starts with approximately 20 participants. The numbers usually drop to about 10-12 within the first two weeks with the intensity of the training. There are some years, including this one, when the team drops to nine members and another is recruited late to compete. Those who make it to the competition have proven their loyalty to the team, desire for excellence and fortitude to handle demanding challenges.”
Team members complete the toughest two months of their physical and mental training prior to this competition. Their abilities and commitment are tested daily to ensure they can handle the pressure and rigor of Ranger Challenge. They must master several skills and abilities to be competitive. They conduct a high-intensity upper and lower body workout every day along with timed-distance running to build strength and endurance.
They also conduct several full-combat load runs and obstacle courses. They are tested in their abilities to think fast during a timed map reading and patrolling test. Their dexterity is tested during weapons disassembly and reassembly. Their hand and eye coordination is challenged during the hand grenade assault course.
This year, they trained on a stress shoot, which consisted of high-intense physical activity immediately followed by weapons marksmanship.
Students who represented UT Martin in the competition included Cristine Manning, Travis Payne, Stephen Shopher, Christopher Winchester, Jonathan McAnally, Robert Gallimore, Joseph Graham, Nicholas D’Acquisto, Daniel Wilson and Rich Casada.
“At the end of the competition, we knew we would not take home the first-place trophy, but we also knew how amazing it was that the such a small school can compete with The Citadel, USC, UT Knoxville, Clemson and several other larger schools and say that we stood our ground,” Hebel said.