The University of New Mexico’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) recently participated in the local region Ranger Challenge. The team went head-to-head with representatives from nine other institutions in a challenging two-day showdown. A team of 11 cadets from Army ROTC traveled to Fort Huachuca, Arizona (next to Sierra Vista, in the Southeast part of the state) to participate.

The Ranger Challenge, a 36-hour event, combines 11 distinct competitions designed to assess the physical and mental fitness, as well as the tactical tasks, required of all Soldiers in the US Army. This event showcased the cadets’ unwavering commitment to excellence and their dedication to upholding the highest standards of the United States Military.

UNM Army ROTC crew participating in Ranger Challenge1
UNM Army ROTC crew participating in Ranger Challenge

The 11-person team was led by Cadet Isiah Dimmer, a senior psychology major, and included cadets from all years and majors. UNM ROTC Army secured second place at the Ranger Challenge and will move on to compete at the next level of competition, in Oklahoma, from Nov. 2-5. There the team will take on the nine best teams from across the West and Midwest (Arizona to Arkansas; Texas to Wyoming).

During the Ranger Challenge, participants had to endure multiple obstacles. The team had to face an army combat fitness test which included deadlift, ball toss, hand-release pushups, sprint-drag-carry, plank, and a two-mile run. The other challenges included a six-mile ruck march, land navigation written exam, land navigation practical test, communications, tactical combat casualty care (advanced first aid), call for fire, rifle marksmanship, boat carry, hand grenade assault course, and one-rope bridge. The UNM Army ROTC team has trained since the school year started, both physically and mentally, five days a week for this competition.

UNM Army ROTC competed against the following institutions: New Mexico State University, University of Texas El Paso, Texas Tech University, University of Arizona, Grand Canyon University, and Northern Arizona University.

“This validated our early mornings sweating, training, and working out together. We were up at 5 a.m. every day since school started. This showing is the best we’ve done in six years and makes all of that worthwhile,” stated Isaiah Dimmer, team captain.

UNM Army ROTC crew participating in Ranger Challenge3
UNM Army ROTC crew participating in Ranger Challenge

“UNM and the ROTC program have a fantastic relationship and this event would not have been nearly as successful without the tremendous support of the entire school. The administration, instructors, and deans are fantastic about understanding the challenges our cadets go through. Both the university and ROTC have the same goal: graduate leaders for the community, state, and country. We have always been successful in completing this important goal,” stated Major William Cunningham, Army ROTC director.

Although UNM’s ROTC program is commonly thought of as one of the smaller ones, the cadets’ performance shows that it can compete with even the biggest and most well-known schools. While next week’s event remains relatively the same, the competition will be stiffer.

“We competed against great teams last week, so we feel prepared, but we go into next week humble, ready, and excited to represent the University of New Mexico,” said Cunningham.

Cadet Isaiah Dimmer, team captain, and Captain Paul Tretter, cadre mentor, will continue to lead the pack as they move on to the next stage of the competition in Oklahoma.

“I'm thrilled that students in our Army ROTC unit are doing so well in the Ranger Challenge—and I'm proud that University College, which is now home to all of UNM's ROTC programs, can contribute to our cadets' success,” stated David Weiss, interim dean for University College.