Cadets earn Ranger Challenge honors

ROTC Army Rangers line up to receive their awards for participating in the Ranger Challenge, a grueling obstacle course designed to test their physical ability and mental fortitude. | Mary Curtis/The Daily Cougar

Army cadets, their family and friends were all smiles at the 2011 Ranger Awards Ceremony, held at the Army ROTC building on Wednesday.

The Ranger Awards are designed to commemorate cadets who participate in the Ranger Challenge, an obstacle course that is designed to test a cadet’s strength, endurance and raw skill.

The competition is divided into seven events, which includes an army physical fitness test, a stress shoot, first aid course, and a 10K ruck march, which many cadets agree is the hardest event.

“The 10K ruck march is an extremely fast hiking trip. The cadets have to run the six miles with a 35-pound pack around their waists and an M-16 rifle across their backs,” said cadet Capt. Wayne Lange, a color guard commander.

Cadet Pvt. James Wang did not participate in this year’s Ranger Challenge, but said if he does qualify next year he wants to help push the battalion to first place.

“ The Rangers are the heart and soul of the ROTC,” Wang said. “They live and breathe the soldiers creed. I run with them every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I am just really proud.”

The competition also challenged gender roles, as a number of women brought home awards for the battalion.

Cadet Maj. Smith, the unofficial head of the Ranger Challenge and a woman, said that while women bust their backs as much as male cadets, women have an advantage.

“The requirements and time limits for physical training events are a little less for women,” Smith said.

The psychology senior said she began the ROTC program at UH halfway through her sophomore year.

Lt. Col. Kurt Robinson, a professor of military science and commander of the Army ROTC, said he feels these events build much more than character.

“These events do multiple things for the cadets,” Robinson said.

“They build camaraderie, a sense of togetherness, and build teamwork skills. These cadets are the core of the ROTC program, the cream of the crop. It is an extreme honor and privilege to be involved in the challenges.”

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