Every year the Ranger Challenge team holds tryouts to take nine Cadets to this competition. These nine Cadets must be mentally and physically strong, and adaptive leaders. The members of the team will go through weeks of physical and technical training in preparation for this event which includes: a physical training event, orienteering, an obstacle course, tactical combat casualty care (TC3), a hand grenade lane, weapons assembly complete with functions checks, and a rope bridge, all of which culminated in a six mile ruck march.
At 1200 Friday afternoon, the Ranger Challenge team consisting of team captain Cadet Barnes, his team leaders Cadets Ravenberg and Finnigan, and Cadets Adler, Appell, Caldwell, Campos, Cassidy, Heske, Lopez, Palmer, and Squier left for Fort Dix. Upon arrival, the team went and signed in before moving to the first event of the weekend; the physical training event. This grueling task involved running while carrying a litter with two full water jugs inside for more than three miles. Every so often there was a station that involved one of the following: 300 burpees, 500 kettle bell swings, 400 hand release pushups, and a skedco pull. Following a strong showing, the team got some sleep before the early morning wake up. At 0500 it was a gear layout until orienteering started at 0600. This involved going out and finding as many points as possible while completing a written test. After this event was a rapid succession of lanes for which the team rucked from station to station. The obstacle course was the first which involved navigating a challenging course as safely and as quickly as possible. The TC3 lane was next which involved the care of a casualty and sending up a 9-line MEDEVAC report so the team could move the casualty to a safe casualty collection point (CCP). The grenade lane consisted of events from the new physical fitness test at first, secondly the team traversed walls and barbed wire to throw grenades into bunkers and trenches all while keeping the enemy suppressed. The weapons assembly portion saw the team with five boxes filled with a random number of weapon systems (there were two M9s, two M240Bs, and four M4s) which they had to put together and check to ensure they functioned as fast as possible. The rope bridge was a unique challenge that gives the team a 150m rope, several carabiners, and several pieces of rope used for climbers to secure themselves to the rope. They had one Cadet crawl across a 30m gap with one end of the rope so that the team could construct a bridge for every member of the team to slide across.
Thanks to the efforts of the Ranger Challenge team, the Nathan Hale Battalion team score two places higher than last year and is already ready to crush next year’s competition headed by a new Ranger Challenge captain.