College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

UM ROTC Ranger Team’s Hard Work Pays Off

While lying in bed tomorrow trying to decide whether to get up for an 11 a.m. class, think about the dedicated members of the Ole Miss Army ROTC Ranger Challenge Team.

ROTC members begin their physical workout four days a week at 6:30 a.m. They are up at the crack of dawn physically training while others are still in bed.

Their hard work paid off last month in the ROTC Ranger Challenge competition at Ft. Benning, Ga. Ole Miss beat Auburn to come in second against forty-five other collegiate ROTC programs including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. Florida State University won the competition.

Freshman John Bolding from Decatur, Ala. was one of two freshmen on the 11-man team.

Prior to the competition, they physically trained at 5:30 every morning for five days a week. The team also traveled to Hurricane Creek once a week to train for the night land navigation part of the competition.

The challenge consisted of 11 events in 30 hours – the first of which, a 10K ruck run, started at 6:00 a.m. on a Friday morning, Bolding said. The last event ended Saturday night.

All the events, including an obstacle course, stressed shoots, night land navigation and a physical fitness test.

The Ole Miss Ranger Challenge Team is led by Cadet Aaron Proctor. The other team members include senior Cadets Michael Jones, Alexis Chandler, William (Gus) Neely and Justin Palatini, junior Cadets Donald Keshel and Dustin Kisner, sophomore Cadets Matthew Astorino and Caleb Pittman and freshmen Cadets John Bolding and Bond Finseth.

Now that the Challenge is behind them, Army ROTC members still work out four days a week at 6:30 a.m., take their military science class and spend one afternoon a week in a lab, Bolding said.

All this extra hard work is training for the LDAC (Leader Development & Assessment Course), also known as the “final exam” for ROTC, which determines whether or not a member is ready to be an officer in the Army.

“All this definitely teaches you motivation, leadership skills, integrity and discipline,” said Bolding. “And it gives you a job.”