On March 15, 2014 the Raider team from Rockcastle County High School’s JROTC program competed in the second annual Mountain Raider Challenge. The event was hosted by the Knox County JROTC and the members of the National Guard on the Harold L. Disney National Guard Training Site in Artemus, KY. Each participating school was allowed to bring only ten cadets to compete in the day’s events; and contrary to the usual raider competitions the cadets competed individually to earn the Raider Mountain Tab to wear on their uniforms. Although this was an individual competition; the school with the most cadets to earn the tab, would win a rotating trophy. Cadets Megan Boggs, John Robinson, Derek Yates, Josh England, Robbie Howard, Holden Abrams, Tiffany Horn, Jeremiah Caudill, and Ame Chiantaretto competed.
To earn the tab cadets had to successfully pass a series of challenging tasks. They began with an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) where cadets had to score the same as a regular army soldier in the 17-21 age group. Then the cadets began rotation for all but the final task. These tasks included: the rappel tower (all cadets rappelled from a thirty foot tower wearing harnesses and helmets with no training practice), engagement skill trainer (cadets shot on a simulation indoor laser target range that was scored electronically by a computer), land navigation (cadets were given a compass and a heading along with a distance to travel, and told to find four points), and first aid (cadets were given a thirty question test on first aid).
Finally the last event of the day was a road march. Cadets were issued full camel packs and full weight drill rifles which they had to carry at the “low and ready” position throughout the duration of the 2.6 mile march through odd terrain. Three schools at a time went on the march and the only requirement was that each cadet finish the march with all their gear, and not pass their guide.
After the road march the awards ceremony took place. At the beginning of the ceremony all of the ninety competing cadets recited the JROTC creed. Cadet Captain Megan Boggs and Cadet First Sargent John Robinson were awarded the Mountain Raider Tab and all cadets competing completed all of the day’s tasks. Overall this competition was a very rewarding learning experience for everyone involved and helped to greatly prepare cadets for future challenges.
Special thanks to Mrs. Holly Robinson for being our female chaperon.