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Army ROTC team earns honors
Liberty University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program brought home a third-place trophy in the large-school division of the fourth brigade after participating in the Ranger Challenge Competition with 39 other universities at Fort Pickett in Blackstone, Va., according to Jordan Scanlan, the team’s head coach.
Scanlan said the first day of competition challenged the combat skills of cadets while the second day primarily focused on critical thinking skills.
The Liberty team participated in 11 events throughout the two days and traveled 13.5 miles between the individual challenges. The total amount of time required to reach each event was factored into the final results as an event itself, according to Scanlan.
“The long movements between events with upwards of 40 pounds of gear over varied terrain were grueling,” Tyler Turgeau, the team’s captain and an Army Ranger, said. “Keeping the motivation up at those times was hard, but we managed and had a good overall time.”
Events included multiple scenarios that Scanlan said tested cadets’ physical and tactical abilities.
According to Scanlan, in one challenge, Liberty’s team traversed through a mock village, located a downed pilot, evaluated and treated his casualties, transported the pilot across the village to a field and called a helicopter with a radio the cadets assembled in order to evacuate the individual.
“There’s quite a bit of technical and leadership aspects that go into all that,” Scanlan said.
In addition to placing third in the overall competition, Scanlan said the team brought home the first-place streamer for the individual rope bridge event. Liberty’s cadets were required to construct a bridge with a 125-foot-long rope and cross a body of water.
“They did it in five minutes and 11 seconds, which is just astounding,” Scanlan said. “The team in second place was about two minutes behind them.”
Turgeau said the competition was grueling, but his teammates motivated him to give his all.
“I start to feel sorry for myself, and the thought of giving up creeps in,”Turgeau said. “By focusing on them, I avoid thinking about how hard it is on me, and then I drive on … I told everyone on the team, ‘Forget self-pity. It’s not about you.’”
According to Turgeau, in addition to dependence on each other, faith played a role in getting the cadets through the competition.
“I know the other teammates were relying on their faith with Jesus Christ,” Turgeau said. “Personally, I prayed often…”
Scanlan said the team’s practices took place five days each week. They began at 5 a.m. and, occasionally, 4:30 a.m.
“These guys train just as hard, physically, (as) any other varsity team on campus,” Scanlan said. “On top of that, there’s a lot of other tactical and technical domain knowledge and skills that they have to learn.”
According to Scanlan, the team entered the ranger challenge against larger schools with highly-supported teams but still experienced success.
“The team’s performance at this year’s competition really exemplifies the quality of our members and the battalion’s overall training regimen,” Scanlan said.