Ranger Challenge is another memorable event that occurred in the Fall of this academic year. This year, Ranger Challenge took place at Fort Irwin, CA, and this was UCI Army ROTC’s first time participating as their own team in this competitive challenge. A total of 12 schools from all around California participated in the event, including our sister school Cal State Fullerton (CSUF). University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and University of Southern California (USC) also participated in the event. 

Ranger Challenge is often referred to as the “varsity” sport of ROTC, and it consists of physical and mentally challenging activities that push cadets to their best. Cadets are pushed to gain tactical knowledge and problem-solving skills that help one to deal with stress—something we can all use as students when taking exams. The overall purpose of the event is to challenge cadets’ mental and physical toughness and to develop leadership while enhancing teamwork and esprit de corps. 

Our MSIII cadets with the addition of a first-year and second-year cadet participated in this two-day long event that consisted of multiple rigorous training events. The course was divided into different stations where cadets completed a certain event before advancing to the next station. Starting with a gear layout, cadets were inspected and expected to carry all their gear, weighing more than 35 pounds. They then continued to other stations that consisted of M4 marksmanship, M9 qualification, Army Combat Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, obstacle course, call for fire, squad patrols, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense), functional fitness (transporting items from one place to another in the dark, for example, a Humvee), and more. These events were all conducted at intervals spaced out over a 15-mile foot march. 

Throughout this competition, teams were evaluated and ranked based on their performance, and much like golf, those with the lowest score placed higher. Overall, cadets really enjoyed this unique experience and were able to learn so much within just one weekend. We hope to train harder and go again next year!  

When asked about the event, Cadet Bozarth, a third-year cadet, highlighted the rigor of the event: 

“Ranger Challenge was the most difficult event that I have ever done for ROTC, and I have been in ROTC since my freshman year. It was more physically demanding than anyone expected. It showed us that you’re able to push yourself much further than you think is actually possible. Whether it’s school, ROTC, or anything else, it’s very important to be in the right mindset and never stop pushing yourself that extra mile to succeed.”

Similarly, Cadet Caballes said:

“Ranger Challenge was a great experience and learning opportunity. As the Team Captain, I learned more about my leadership style in the process of preparing and managing the team. I recommend all cadets to try out for Ranger Challenge as the experience and opportunity to learn and test your limits is invaluable.”


Written by Cadet Public Affairs Officer Melanie Herrera. If you are interested in joining or learning a bit more about the program, email Melanie Herrera at melannmh1@uci.edu