FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 21, 2016) — From crawling through sand to climbing ropes and pushing 7,000 pound trucks, cadets from local Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, or JROTC, units got a taste of military training in a competition that pitted three local schools against each other.
The Fort Rucker Noncommissioned, or NCO, Academy, or NCOA, hosted its first JROTC competition, Jan. 8, where cadets from Daleville, Enterprise and Carroll High Schools took on the NCOA obstacle course and competed for top honors, said 1st Sgt. Carl Miller, NCOA deputy commandant.
“We wanted to do some sort of outreach to the local JROTC groups because we want to be a bigger part of the community, and what better way to do it than going to the local high schools, reaching out to those organizations and bringing them here for this competition,” Miller said. “We want to invest into those people who have already shown the propensity to want to serve, and not only invest into those programs, but those programs can get to know each other a little bit better.”
Cadets from each school had to take on the obstacle course, complete with sand crawl, reverse climb, tire run, wall climb and rope climb. Following the course, cadets had to work as a team to perform tasks such as group pushups, Skedco pull and finally a 7,000-pound truck push.
Of the three schools, Enterprise High School came out on top, but the school’s cadets knew that it was no single effort to pull out a win.
“It’s nice to come out on top – we really weren’t expecting to win, but we pulled together as a team and we pulled it off,” said Tristan Skala, Enterprise JROTC.
For fellow cadet Lynn Donaldson, the competition wasn’t just about cheering on your own team but about helping everyone involved to stay motivated.
“I think we all worked well together and we just encouraged each other throughout the competition,” she said. “We also encouraged the other teams. When you encourage other teams, as well as yourselves, it gives you a lot of a confidence boost knowing that you’re there for each other.”
Also, going into the competition, Donaldson said it was less about brawn and more about brain.
“It’s more than just about getting out here and knowing that you have the muscles and you can do this,” she said. “It’s a lot about mental preparedness. I came out here thinking I’m just going to do what I have to do, and I came out and pushed what I needed to push, and it just showed me that I have to go in mentally prepared, not just for this competition, but for everything in life.”
In the end, Miller said the competition was less about who was able to come out on top, and more about how well the cadets were able to work together and support one another, something he said he was proud to see occurring throughout the competition.
“I just want these students to take away the camaraderie and the teamwork that they had to put into this,” the deputy commandant said. “They really have to lean on each other for support because a lot of these events require that. Just because you have one superstar doesn’t mean you’re going win, because if your other four aren’t in it, then you won’t do well, and life is like that.
“There is a support base that you need throughout life, and it’s great to see them organize with each other and cheer each other on,” he said. “They were very supportive of each other and that’s what you should do. We need to support our fellow man and woman, and this is just a small way that they can do that. I hope that’s what they can take away from this.”