The months of difficult training the Seton Hall ROTC Charlie Watters Ranger Company underwent were demonstrated on Oct. 22 when they placed second out of 26 colleges and universities that were represented in the area’s annual Ranger Challenge Competition.
The team competed against area programs such as Penn State, Rutgers and Princeton in a grueling competition designed to measure team’s strength and level of ability in different simulated military exercises and tasks. The event was held at Camp Smith in New York.
The team placed second in last year’s competition as well, but were able to win back the Jersey Cup this year, a trophy that goes to either Seton Hall, Rutgers or Princeton depending on which school has the highest performance in the competition.
“We got the Jersey Cup back this year, for the first time in six years,” Will Moreo, a junior and the Ranger Challenge Company’s executive officer said. “It’s always a friendly competition between the Jersey schools to see who can get it.”
Rutgers was the previous holder of the cup.
“They gave 110 percent. I am very happy with the team’s performance,” 1st Lt. John Sauser, Ranger Challenge team coach, said. “They represented SHU and SHU ROTC very well.”
Joseph Miller, a sophomore and Ranger Challenge team member, said that the high finish reflects well on the University’s ROTC program as a whole.
“It just keeps our ranking and our prestige in the whole northeast up and I think it will help with prospective cadets coming in and will help us with recruiting,” he said.
The Ranger Challenge Company underwent intense training for the two months leading up to the event. They trained every day from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. in preparation, regardless of weather conditions.
“We train in the spring but there is nothing like this,” Moreo said. “There are no competitions, we do our own thing; our own training.”
The Ranger Challenge Company is not open to all ROTC members. Out of the 85 cadets in ROTC, 50 tried out for the squad. Only 10 from this group made it onto the final competition team.
“The Ranger team gets a certain amount of respect from other cadets, they’re very sought after spots and you have to pull your weight in order to keep them,” Miller said. “Our Ranger team is a real reflection of the quality cadre we have here and the upperclassman that have trained us for the past couple of years.”
“It is like the varsity sport of ROTC,” added Moreo.
All ROTC members regularly train early in the morning and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the school year.
In addition to the Ranger Challenge training, ROTC also takes cadets to South Mountain Reservation every Friday for training, regardless of weather.
“We experience some extreme weather conditions, it gets pretty cold,” Moreo said.
“We had our fall FTX, which is like field training. We go out and practice different exercises,” said Jose Tandazo, a senior and ROTC cadet. “We take the new cadets, the freshmen, to show them like what they actually have to do to be in the Army.”
Miller said that the fall FTX “is a real-world Army taste that proves to freshman that ROTC ismore than just something you do while you’re at school”
The Charlie Watters Ranger Company takes their name from Charles Joseph Watters, a Seton Hall alumnus and Chaplain in the United States Army who received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.
Alyana Alfaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.