Steel Battalion Army ROTC Advances to West Point’s National Sandhurst Competition
A group of Lehigh cadets from the Steel Battalion Army ROTC recently won this year’s Ranger Challenge at Fort Dix, New Jersey and will enroll at West Point National Sandhurst Competition on April 17th and 18th.
“As the defending champion, I am very proud of the strength, teamwork and leadership that our cadets demonstrated during this pandemic to eventually win the trophy and embody our Fight to Train spirit last year,” said Lieutenant Colonel John R. Abella, department head and professor of military science and leadership.
Every year the steel battalion sets up a ranger challenge team that develops through competition. This year’s team consists of a total of 14 cadets, 10 from Lehigh, two from Lafayette College and two from Moravian College, who will take part in a series of 16 strenuous challenges that will test their skills in shooting, moving, communicating, handling and leading . The climax, the “melting pot”, will be the last test for flexibility and physical and mental resilience, according to the description of the competition.
The team is led by Lehigh Senior Cadet Lucas King, double major in architecture and engineering; and First Sergeant Cadet Ari Ehrenfeucht, sophomore and member of the Lehigh Track and Field team.
This is the third commandment of the steel battalion. In 2019, the team placed 39th at its first appearance and qualified for the 2020 competition, which was canceled due to COVID.
The top 16 ROTC programs will compete against each other this year in a field of 44 teams from all service academies, Abella said.
“I think this brings recognition to Lehigh and our surrounding colleges [Lafayette College and Moravian College], the strength of our program and our excellent cadets… ”he said. “This leadership development opportunity has been invaluable to our cadets en route to commission as future Army officers.”