Tarleton cadets win Task Force Tomahawk Ranger Challenge

TSU Newsroom

STEPHENVILLE — Cadets in the Tarleton State University Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps won the Task Force Tomahawk Ranger Challenge in Stephenville recently

Tarleton and Stephen F. Austin finished the grueling 30-hour event tied at 36 points. Tarleton won the tiebreaker, most first-place finishes, 5-2.

Tarleton ROTC cadets captured first place at the weekend Task Force Tomahawk Ranger Challenge in Stephenville earning a spot in the regional competition.

The annual competition features 11 events and a Commander’s Cup meta-event.

Friday’s events included the team modified Army combat fitness test with deadlifts, medicine ball throw, push-ups, sprint-drag-carry and three groups of three running a three-mile relay in combat uniform and boots; the threshold to failure event highlighting military skills, physical fitness and cognitive exercises; the 9mm stress shoot; and night land navigation.

On Saturday, cadets competed in a 6.5-mile march with 35-pound rucksack, individual equipment and dummy rifle, with a team bonus earned by carrying a 35-pound kettlebell the entire route; one rope bridge, constructed to move a Ranger squad over a body of water or a ravine using a 120-foot climbing rope; and the call for fire event in which cadets had to identify a simulated enemy force and successfully call for and adjust mortar fire on the enemy’s position.

In other events Saturday, cadets placed an Army tactical radio into operation and completed various reports within a time standard in the communication event. There was a tactical combat casualty care event and assembling and disassembling the M240L machine gun, the M249 squad automatic weapon, the M4A1 carbine and the M17 pistol.

Commander’s Cup events included the 20-foot rope climb and descent and Army pull-ups; military gear layout; Swiss seat (rappelling) timed event; and the kettlebell keep it in memory (KIIM) game in which cadets move 45 kettlebells 100 meters and reassemble them exactly the way they were originally placed in under 10 minutes and then back.

Next up for the two teams is competing in the 5th Brigade, eight-state region, U.S. Army Cadet Command Ranger Challenge at Camp Gruber, Okla., Nov. 5-7.

Tarleton will vie with nine other teams for a chance to compete in the spring at the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition held at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. The last time Tarleton made it to Sandhurst was 2019.

The Ranger Challenge team comprises cadets from all four years of ROTC study. Seniors Justin Bray and Garrett Wood captain this year’s team. Other members are seniors Jacob Worley, Sullivan Sanders and Esaia Terron; juniors Jacee Halliday and Blake Gregory; sophomores Sean Ripley and Zemoni Hopkins; and freshmen Jake Broadway and Kinser Malicoat.

Coaches for the team are Capt. Kyle Murphy, an Army Reserve ROTC Instructor and current kinesiology master’s student, and Master Sgt. A.J. Black, the Senior Military Science Instructor for the program.