By Cadet Ryan Goltz
Marquette from three teams certainly made their presence known at the annual 9th Brigade Ranger Challenge competition held at Fort McCoy, WI. Marquette's A-Team made a strong push to recapture the title but was narrowly edged out by strong competition from Wheaton College and the Universtiy of Illinois- Chicago. MU's B-Team and C-Team (all females) had admirable showings in the 5-man division placing 4th and 8th, respectively.
The hard work started months before the first salute of the opening ceremony. Team members showed dedication and determination by voluntarily participating in more strenuous and time-consuming physical fitness and technical skills programs. A favorite training event of all team members was certainly the 7-mile "ruck-runs" every Wednesday at 0600.
The long weekend started with a night land navigation course where Cadets scrambled through the wilderness to find points as far as four miles away. After an early wake up call, day two began with an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) followed by an obstacle course. Cadets were then given maps and grid coordinates which marked the location of the day's events. Teams were responsible for finding their way to each event as quickly as possible. Events included a humvee pull, one-rope bridge, weapons assembly, and a litter carry assault course. Cadets traversed over 17 miles of challenging terrain in less than 10 hours. All competitors slept well.
The final grueling event was the 10K march. Teams assembled in the icy morning frost to begin the course, which runs through some of the steepest bluffs on post. Teamwork is the only way to complete the course, and Marquette's teams demonstrated some of the best teamwork of this year's competition. Ranger Challenge 2006 was the most strenuous course to date, but all team members agree that it was another fun year of great training, great experiences, and great friends. Thanks to all team members and cadre for working hard and performing excellently this year.