An ROTC win!

UWL ROTC members took part in the Northern Warfare Challenge in the Coulee Region Saturday, Feb. 3. The Eagle Battalion cadets completed the course in six hours and 36 minutes, finishing a mere six minutes ahead of the second place team. 

Eagle Battalion wins Northern Warfare Challenge for third year in a row

A UW-La Crosse ROTC team earned top honors in the Northern Warfare Challenge Saturday, Feb. 3.

A total of 23 five-cadet teams from 13 universities spanning five states across the Midwest competed in the competition held in Onalaska and La Crosse. The UWL Eagle Battalion’s team won the prestigious event for the third year in a row.

The UWL team completed the course in six hours and 36 minutes, finishing a mere six minutes ahead of the second place team. Winning team members were: Connor McDonnell, Alex Haffner, Paul Reeck, Justin Jorstad and Joseph Messer.

Members of the UWL ROTC team winning the Feb. 3 Northern Warfare Challenge included, from left: Joseph Messer, Justin Jorstad, Alex Haffner, Paul Reeck and Connor McDonnell.

This year’s competition was a 20+ mile course up and down five bluffs along an extensive trail system while carrying a 40-pound ruck. Along the route, cadets had to complete three skill and survival stations that included starting a fire, scrambling up and down a steep hill with a log and two full water jugs using a cadet-emplaced guide rope, and a four-mile casualty drag on a SKEDCO sled. There were approximately two inches of freshly-fallen snow and the temperature at the 7 a.m. start was hovering around 20 degrees — much warmer than recent years.

The competition is intentionally physically and mentally challenging, says LTC Jane Brannan, UWL Professor of Military Science. “It builds mental toughness, teamwork and agile thinking skills,” she explains.

Army ROTC is the premier leadership course where students take military science coursework along with their classes for their major. The military science training is invaluable for any career that involves leading, managing and motivating people or fostering teamwork, says Brannan. Cadets will eventually commission as an officer into the Army National Guard, Reserves or active duty forces.

The UWL Eagle Battalion Army ROTC includes students attending Winona State University, Viterbo University and St Mary’s University.