More than 200 Junior ROTC cadets from 24 schools across Missouri, Kansas, and as far away as South Dakota visited Fort Leonard Wood this past Saturday to compete in the seventh Raider Challenge event here. After nearly 12 hours of competition, a team from Ozark High School, in Ozark, Missouri, took the overall first-place trophy.
Raider Challenge is a team-oriented athletic competition held by Junior ROTC programs across the country, with a focus on strength and fitness. Winning teams have the opportunity to compete at the national level, hosted by U.S. Army Cadet Command. According to Lt. Col. John Grabowski, who commands the 31st Engineer Battalion — the unit that took the lead on helping with this year’s event — supporting programs like Junior ROTC is “about bringing the next generation on board.” Grabowski said this year’s events were spread out across three locations on the post and included a five-kilometer ruck march, one-rope bridge construction, and crossing, the Physical Endurance Course, four physical team tasks — including tire flips, low crawling, pull-ups, water can carry and a portion of the Army Combat Fitness Test “sprint-drag-carry” event — and a two-mile “gauntlet” event, with 35-pound rucksacks and a 75-pound litter carry. Additionally, the teams were each invited to select two cadets to participate in a 1.5-mile buddy run.