WILBERFORCE — Members of the Central State University Army ROTC Marauder Battalion gave up the chance to win a prestigious military skills event in order to save the life of a fellow competitor.
The Ranger Challenge Team was at West Point in late April to compete in the annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition against 48 teams comprised of cadets from ROTC, service academies, and international teams. During the final event on the first day of competition, a 12 mile “Ruck March,” the Central State rangers saw a cadet from another school who was in a life-threatening medical situation.
The rangers took immediate action and provided life-saving first aid. They were also able to call 911 and direct the first responders to their location in the woods — in the dark. They stayed with the cadet until the first responders arrived and took control of the situation. This took approximately 45 minutes, allowing many teams to pass them which cost them a higher placement in the event.
“This did not matter to the team as they knew they had to do what was right,” said Steven D. Harmon, recruiting operations officer for the CSU Army ROTC.
After the final event the following morning, Brigadier General Mark C. Quander, the commandant of cadets at West Point, presented his coin to the entire team. Later that evening Quander again recognized the ranger team during the awards ceremony where they received a standing ovation from their peers and cadre.
The ranger team returned home the next day “exhausted but ready to train for next year’s competition,” Harmon said.
The CSU Marauder Battalion 7th Brigade (BDE) — seated in the College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture (CESTA)/1890 Land-Grant Program — is comprised of cadets from Central State, Cedarville, Wilberforce, and Wittenberg universities. Cadet members include CDT Justice Bassette, CDT Caleb Kowalewski, David Abraham, CDT Hayden Stokes, CDT Ethan McCall (squad leader), CDT Moriah Barber, MSG John Meyer, CDT Enoch Flint, CDT Caleb Arreguin, CDT Skyler Arny, CDT Cynthia Stokes, and CDT Daniel Heiple. Cadre that trained this year’s team include CPT Devan Cureton, the current cadre officer in charge, CPT Harald Juergens, and Senior Military Science Instructor MSG John Myer.
“We are so proud of these cadets who actively demonstrated, not just in words, but in deed, that they are a world class cadre committed to excellence,” said CSU President Dr. Jack Thomas. “In coming together to help save a life, knowing that it could cost them the prize, this team lived up to a core CSU value of service. They are true 21st century leaders.”
CESTA Dean Michelle Corley saluted the group.
“They showed up and showed out with distinction,” she said. “We are glad to be involved in molding their lives just a little. We know we will reap the benefits of their protection of our homeland as they move forward in military service. We thank you.”
The competition was established to promote military excellence among the U.S. corps of cadets by showcasing tactical and technical proficiency, leadership abilities, and physical prowess. It is further designed to build relationships across institutions and nations.
Each year, hundreds of military science students gather to compete in the grueling 48-hour contest that tests endurance, military preparedness, leadership, and unit cohesion.
On the first day, the team moved on foot to 11 different stations covering approximately 25 miles. Some events were designed to be physically demanding while other’s focused on precision such as rifle and grenade launcher ranges.
To learn more about the Army ROTC Program at Central State University visit centralstate.edu/academics/CHAS/rotc/index2.php?num=7 or https://www.facebook.com/Central-State-University-Army-ROTC-Marauder-Battalion-363253840382021.