The ROTC Eagle Battalion at UW-La Crosse outpaced 45 other teams to claim victory Feb. 24-25 in the Northern Warfare Challenge.
Teams from throughout the Midwest traveled to the Coulee Region to compete in what organizers describe as “the hardest race in ROTC.” This year’s event began with several challenges at Fort McCoy — rifle marksmanship, knot-tying, treatment of a hypothermic casualty and fire-starting — and ended with a 17-mile ruck march through La Crosse’s Hixon Forest trail system.
“Winning the Northern Warfare Challenge was a great accomplishment for the Eagle Battalion,” said Brian Knutson, chair of UW-L’s Military Science Department. “With the trail covered in snow, with a thick layer of ice underneath, the course was even more challenging.”
Also new this year was a partnership with the River City Running Club, which hosted a ruck run community event allowing participants to see the cadet teams in action.
People are also reading…
Overall, Knutson said he is proud of the Eagle Battalion’s performance during the competition and of all the hard work people put in behind the scenes.
“This was a whole program effort, with all of our cadets and cadre manning checkpoints, monitoring team safety on the course, supervising each portion of the competition and coordinating with La Crosse Parks and Rec and Fort McCoy for the use of trails and facilities,” Knutson said. “We could not be prouder of all the cadets and cadre in the Eagle Battalion for creating such a great event to show off our great schools, parks and city.”
The Reserve Officer Training Corps program offers students the opportunity to develop leadership traits imperative to success in both the military and civilian sectors. The Eagle Battalion, as they are collectively called, consists of cadets from UW-L, Viterbo University and Winona State University. Upon completing their undergraduate degree, cadets commission into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.