(singke) #1

14 MARINER / 2016 - ISSUE 3

Castine Current


plank owner is a sailor working the maiden voyage of a ship: a
person who starts something new, leaves a legacy, and makes it
his/her own. Ten MMA and University of Maine midshipmen
were the first non-Army unit to compete in the Army ROTC Ranger
Challenge held annually at Fort Dix, New Jersey in October.
For 22 years, this simulated combat competition has been exclusive to
Army ROTC units from the Northeast United States. But this year was
different because of the effort and motivation of the team of midshipmen
who accepted an invitation from the 2nd Brigade, Army ROTC Unit’s
Commanding Officer, Col. Mintz, to join in their competition, meant
only for the elite.
With only a few weeks of training and preparation, the team of volun-
teers consisting of six Navy and four Marine Corps midshipmen showed
their opponents they would not take the challenge lightly, despite the fact
that they faced units 10 times their size, some of which had held tryouts
for the competition.
It began with a 10k loaded march through woods and swamp, plus a
25-meter low crawl across gravel-laden earth with the team carrying 40-
lb rucks, rubber rifles and two wooden machine guns
After completing the first stage, they competed in events such as in-
dividual tug of war; two different team combat operations lanes through
more wooded terrain, while carrying their simulated wounded warrior,
“Private First Class Underfunded,” an 80-pound mannequin; a team-on-
team paintball war; and the final event of the day, a warrior haka dance
and King of the Ring.
The day was filled with challenges but ended with a victory in the
King of the Ring.
The following day brought more trials: another 10k march with their
rucks and an added 10 pounds, rifles and PFC Underfunded. But the
loaded march and casualty evacuation was not the end of the road; they
faced a 100-meter low crawl under simulated combat conditions to
ensure their PFC was brought home safely.
The team’s “No Excuses” determination earned them the respectable
ranking of 19 out of 44 teams.
These motivated midshipmen earned the distinction as “Plank Own-
ers” with what is a challenging first step. Eventually, the goal is for Army,
Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force ROTC units to be fully represented at
nationwide events such as this Ranger Challenge, and this goal can come
to fruition if other units follow in the footsteps of these young leaders
from MMA and University of Maine.


Team Participants:
Midn. 2/C Russell Wilson, Team Captain, UM
Midn. 2/C Andrew Lochowski, Fire Team Leader, UM
Midn. 4/C Mark Talvacchia, Machine Gun Assistant Gunner, UM
Midn. 4/C Andrew Marchi, Machine Gun Assistant Gunner, UM
Midn. 4/C Joseph Baumann, Alternate Team Member, UM
Midn. 2/C Tristan Albert*, Machine Gun Gunner, MMA
Midn. 3/C Harrison Clark*, Fire Team Leader, MMA
Midn. 1/C Matthew Fendl*, Team Member, MMA
Midn. 4/C Kristen Gier*, Team Member, MMA
Midn. 1/C Jared Hall*, Machine Gun Gunner, MMA
(* coauthors of this article)

NROTC midshipmen “nail it” at Ranger Challenge
Free download pdf