23 Army ROTC cadets from across 5 different states competed in a timed 22.5-mile "ruck march" called the Northern Warfare Challenge Saturday morning.
The march covers 3,600 feet of elevation on La Crosse bluffs. The cadets battle snow, ice and low temperatures. Cadets also take on the challenge with 40 pounds of military gear on their backs. The goal of the challenge tests cadets mentally and physically to build up confidence, endurance, and resilience so when faced with an unknown challenge the cadets know how to respond.
Jane Brannan, a professor of military science and a lieutenant colonel in the Army says, "It's a physical and a mental challenge. We challenge them because we build resilience. ROTC builds leadership, we build management skills, critical thinking, agile thinking, all of that compacted is the type of leaders we need to lead tomorrows Army" said Brannan.
Cadet Kevin Schlotfeldt of Iowa State said, "It really develops mental fortitude. You can be physically fit but this will take a toll on you so developing that mental ability to just keep going and driving yourself. We get to tell people that we did the marathon ruck up to Grandads Peak so its good."
The UWL Eagle Battalion Army ROTC includes students attending Winona State, Viterbo, and Saint Mary's University.