WMU News

Bronco cadets take first at Ranger Challenge

Oct. 27, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- It may not have been a great weekend for Bronco football and hockey, but a band of what the Army calls "scholar-athlete-leaders" from Western Michigan University bested 10 other Midwest schools this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a grueling test of military skills.

WMU's ROTC "A Team" battled cold and rainy weather to finish first among 15 teams in the annual ROTC Cadet Command Ranger Challenge at Camp Attebury, near Columbus, Ind. The competition included a 10-kilometer road march, a one-rope bridge crossing, M-16 marksmanship, a hand grenade competition and land navigation, among other events. The winning Bronco team ended the challenge with a total of 2,753 points, while nearest competitors Eastern Michigan and Michigan State universities had 2,659 and 2,657 points, respectively.

"The outstanding performance displayed by these scholar-athlete-leaders and future officers is indicative of the character and quality of students here at Western Michigan University," says Major Tim Russell, executive officer for the University's ROTC program. "This is a grueling test of military skills that combines teamwork, physical and mental toughness, and intestinal fortitude. The cadets have been training for this from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m., six days a week, all semester. The team chemistry was incredible, and their hard work, determination and discipline paid off."

The "A Team" placed first in the One Rope Bridge competition, and took third place in the M-16 Rifle Marksmanship, Physical Fitness and Basic Military Tactics events. WMU senior Davitt Broderick, an automotive engineering major from Battle Creek, Mich., served as team captain.

WMU also fielded a "B Team" in the competition, which took seventh place overall but captured first place in the Physical Fitness and Hand Grenade Assault Course events. Captain of the "B Team" was senior Kelly Thompson of St. Johns, Mich., a management major and member of the Lee Honors College. Thompson had the competition's highest score in the Physical Fitness event, besting both male and female cadets.

Part of the Haworth College of Business, WMU's Military Science Program is a leadership training curriculum through which qualified students can earn a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve or National Guard upon graduation. An elective academic minor, the program stresses leadership and military skills training that prepares students for officership, graduate school and corporate life. ROTC programs train 70 percent of the officers in today's Army.

For more information, photos or to arrange an interview with one of the cadets who participated in the Ranger Challenge, members of the media are welcome to contact Russell at (269) 387-8119.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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