BYU Army ROTC Cadets Win the 5th ROTC BDE Ranger Challenge

PROVO, Utah – Dec 05, 2019 –

Cadets in the BYU Army ROTC are prepared to go the extra mile in all they do. However, eleven cadets on the joint BYU and Utah Valley University Service First Battalion Ranger Challenge Team went even further than the extra mile when they won the 5th ROTC Brigade (BDE) Ranger Challenge at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, 1–3 November 2019. 

“The BDE Ranger Challenge allows cadets to see and compete among the different Army ROTC programs,” says Sergeant First Class Pedro Ortiz, a faculty member in the BYU Marriott Military Sciences Department who coached the team. “Cadets are trained on skills and leadership abilities. When cadets go to these competitions, they are pushed to their physical limits. Cadets have to keep going and show their abilities to keep on driving forward and complete the mission.”  

The Ranger Challenge is the varsity sport for Army ROTC cadets. BDE Ranger Challenge competitions last two days and include multiple events that assess cadets’ leadership and collaboration skills. Each Army ROTC brigade in the nation hosts a BDE Ranger Challenge competition to determine which Army ROTC teams will progress to the Sandhurst International Military Skills Competition at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. The BYU Army ROTC program falls under the 5th Brigade, which includes Army ROTC programs from Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas.   

This year was the first year that cadets from both BYU and UVU participated in the 5th BDE Ranger Challenge as a combined team. Both Army ROTC programs are part of the Service First Battalion, headquartered at BYU, but cadets from the two different schools hadn’t participated on the same team in past competitions. In order to win the competition, team members had to work together and play off of each cadet’s individual strengths.  

“Working with the cadets from both schools was a cool experience,” says team captain Garrett Falk. “As a team, we were able to choose the people who competed in each of the different events, and this meant that we were able to use people's strengths and abilities to our advantage to win as many events as possible.” 

At the challenge, BYU and UVU cadets participated in events that tested their first-aid, navigation, and physical-fitness skills. One of the challenges the team participated in was a hand-grenade assault course. “Our team had to go through a course that went through the woods,” says Falk, a senior from Princeton, New Jersey, at BYU studying civil engineering. “We traveled to seven stations and six targets. For each target, one cadet had to throw a hand grenade and get the grenade as close as they could to the target while it was simulated that the enemy was shooting at them. Each cadet had to throw from a different position at each station. The final station was an identification of hand grenades.” 

Cadets from BYU included Kevin Rose, a senior studying psychology from Springville, Utah; Dayde Collins, a senior studying manufacturing engineering from Deer Park, Washington; Jacob Price, a senior studying political science from Garden City, Idaho; Ian Frandsen, a senior studying experience design and management from Provo; Isaac Artinger, a junior studying economics from Reno, Nevada; Austin Cloninger, a junior studying middle east studies/Arabic from Morgan, Utah; Colton Johnson, a senior studying geography from Vancouver, Washington; and Hannah Hoose, a senior studying biology from Atascadero, California.  

Cadets from Utah Valley University included Grace Gammon, a senior studying nursing from Pleasant Grove, Utah, and Josh Peles, a senior studying philosophy from Mililani, Hawaii. 

Since the Service First Battalion Ranger Challenge Team won the 5th BDE Ranger Challenge, the team will go to the Sandhurst International Military Skills Competition this April. At Sandhurst, cadets will compete against approximately sixty teams from various military academies, ROTC brigades, and international military programs. 

The Service First Battalion Ranger Challenge Team. Photo courtesy of Pedro Ortiz.
The Service First Battalion Ranger Challenge Team. Photo courtesy of Pedro Ortiz.
The Service First Battalion team with military sciences department faculty
The Service First Battalion Ranger Challenge Team with military sciences department faculty. Photo courtesy of Pedro Ortiz.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Natalia Green