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The University of Alabama

UA Army ROTC Cadets to Participate in Ranger Challenge

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Eighteen cadets from The University of Alabama Army ROTC Crimson Tide Battalion will travel to Camp Shelby, Miss., on Friday, Oct. 25, to participate in the Army ROTC Fifth Brigade Ranger Challenge Competition.

The Fifth Brigade, known as the Viking Brigade, consists of senior ROTC battalions representing 23 colleges and universities from across the Southeast.

The Ranger Challenge is a two-day competition consisting of six team events that include the Army Physical Fitness Test, building and crossing a one rope bridge, disassembling, reassembling and firing an M-16, negotiating a hand-grenade assault course, a written examination on combat patrolling, a grueling orienteering course and a timed six-mile rucksack march.

All of these events are designed to test the cadet’s tactical and technical proficiency and their physical endurance with the main emphasis being on teamwork. The cadets are scored as part of a nine-person team. The awards go to the highest average team scores.

“This event not only tests the cadets’ tactical skills, but because of the time limits and the highly physical nature of the tasks, it also becomes a very significant physical endurance test,” stated Lt. Col. Jeff Reilly, executive officer for UA. “This a great event, not only do cadets get to interact with other cadets from across the Southeast, they also get to participate in some classic rivalries. Although our biggest rival is usually Auburn University, several other big rivalries come into play, including competition with Mississippi State, LSU, and Marion Military Institute,” he noted.

The competition calls on the cadets to put in a lot of long hours of extra training, added team coach, SFC Neil Criteser of UA. “These cadets train all year for this event, averaging 15-20 hours a week just on Ranger Challenge, along with all their other responsibilities. They make a lot of sacrifices to be competitive and they do it to represent this battalion and this University. You can’t really say enough about the pride and dedication of these young men and women — 34 cadets go through the tough demanding training and only 18 (two teams) will actually get to compete, but every single one of them train like they will be competing,” Criteser said.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Linda Hill, Office of Media Relations, 205/348-8325,
  • SOURCE: SFC Neil Criteser, UA Military Science instructor, 205/348-1057