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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

ROTC dominates at Fort McCoy

Photo by Claire Gallagher

Last weekend, October 11-13, the university’s ROTC program took first place at the Ranger Challenge competition at Fort McCoy, WI.

Approximately 150 competitors from ROTC programs throughout Wisconsin and Michigan competed for the Task Force, state championship, according to Assistant Professor of Military Science and Army ROTC captain, Dan Williams.

Of the 18 total cadet teams and 145 competitors, 16 teams competed in the Ranger Challenge. The university sent one 5 cadet “Open” team, one 5 cadet “Co-ed” team and one 9 cadet “Varsity” team, according to Capt. Williams.

Williams further explained in an email that the challenge consisted of events like Medical evacuations, assembling weapons, stress shooting, foot marching, various obstacle courses, and more.

Senior in the College of Engineering, Adam Gaston, described the team’s confidence level going into the competition.

“We had won this competition last year, and thanks to our preparation this year and the caliber of our team members I knew we would be able to win again,” Gaston said. “All we had to do was show up and remind the other teams what makes us the reigning champs. We knew we were better than them, we just had to go out and prove it.”

“The entire event is timed and our overall time is factored into our score,” competition participant and one of the leaders of the ROTC group, Luke Dibler, said. “The competition takes place over a 24 mile course with 8 challenge events in the first 12 miles.”

“It’s all about working as a team to overcome physically and mentally challenging obstacles designed to push you and your team to your limits,” Gaston said. “These lessons can be applied for anything in life, not just our careers in the Army.

Dibler, who is a senior, explained how ROTC competitions and training has helped him become the person he is today.

“When I was in high school, I was not really sure what I wanted to do with my life and ROTC gave me an opportunity to join the military, go to a normal college and earn a degree,” Dibler said.  “It has been a great opportunity for development as a person, especially as a leader.”

According to Williams, joining ROTC does not require certain skill sets, however, it does require one to have a certain mindset.

“The Army develops people. You can come with no skills and no experience because ROTC has training opportunities and leaders within it to develop you as an individual,” Williams said. “You have to have a willingness and a deep desire to want to better yourself and work in team environments.”

Without a certain skill set needed to join ROTC, Williams further added that the program emphasizes quality over quantity when accepting potential soldiers.

“(Our acceptance rate) is a quality based number and sometimes that quality has vacancies depending on whether or not we are trying to grow or shrink,” Williams said. “A lot of people come here because they understand future employment opportunities.”

Dibler went on to explain how new-comers figure out if ROTC is a good fit for them.

“Some people find that this is what they need and decide to stick around,” Dibler said.  “Others figure out that is not the route they want to take, so ROTC really gives people the opportunity to test the waters and figure out what is best for them.”

For those who get accepted into the program, Dibler believes the attitude someone brings will determine what they get out of the experience.

“It’s all about commitment and determination,” Dibler said. “Like most things in life, you get out what you put in…if you come in and put in a lot of work and be excited, it definitely makes it a lot easier. I say just be determined and bring a good attitude.”

Marquette’s ROTC program will be going on to compete in the Mid-west Regional Finals held at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, from November 1-3.

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