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The Annual Ranger Challenge at Fort Sill Challenges Cadets

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LAWTON, OKla._

ROTC cadets from Universities across Oklahoma and Arkansas battled it out Saturday at Fort Sill for the annual Ranger Challenge Competition.

It is a full day of physical and mental endurance testing, starting with a night spent outdoors, ending with a 10 kilometer run despite chilly temperatures.

There were nine universities competing against each other, but there was no rivalry greater than "OU, OSU," said Cadet Brian Harris.

This year, the challenge intensified.

Students were told that the competition was designed to mirror many of the challenges conducted at West Point.

The obstacle course was undoubtedly more intense, the simulations more life like, and the bar was set even higher when it came to dexterity exercises; ones that students will carry with them throughout their military careers like disassembling and assembling a weapon.

Each exercise, both in and out of the water, makes for a long day that is both physically and mentally exhausting for soldiers.

"So, now they're wet, it's cold, they're eating lunch on the go out of MRE's. We fed them a good breakfast, and the last event will take everything else left that they have," said Major David Price.

And the last exercise, a 6.2 mile run  with a 30 pound ruck sack, is not an easy one, and weeds out even some of the top soldiers.

Teamwork is crucial at the Ranger Challenge...an important lesson for the cadets as they get deeper into their military career.

"This is not a single event. We're not looking at individual personnel. You are only as good as your slowest person," said Major Price.

Although the Ranger Challenge takes everything these cadets have, Brian Harris and his team understand the importance of the competition.

"It's just good to get these basic soldiering skills down and familiar to everybody because it doesn't really matter what job you're going into, infantry or if you're going to work for some medical type job, these are the ground work of all soldiers and as an officer you want to make sure you're familiar with the basic training that your soldiers are going through," said Harris.  

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