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Released October 4, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi Army ROTC "Golden Eagle" Battalion will host the 2004 Viking Brigade Ranger Challenge Oct. 15-17 at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg. Teams consisting of nine cadets from each of 21 colleges and universities spanning Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and western Florida will converge on Camp Shelby during the three-day contest to compete in a series of eight physically and mentally challenging events, including the Army Physical Fitness Test, Patrolling Exam, Rope Bridge, Weapons Assembly/Disassembly, Hand Grenade Assault Course, Rifle Marksmanship, Orienteering, and the timed 10-kilometer Tactical Foot March.

The Ranger Challenge is Army ROTC's "varsity sport," for which the teams have been training since the beginning of the school year. The cadet Rangers will begin with an Army Physical Fitness Test (push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run) on Friday evening, Day 1 of the competition. Then they will move to a bivouac site, prepare for Day 2, and get a couple of hours of sleep under field conditions. Day 2 activities begin at approximately 6 a. m. and run until about 6 p.m. Teams will rotate round-robin fashion through the Patrolling Exam, Rope Bridge, Weapons Assembly/Disassembly, Hand Grenade Assault Course, Rifle Marksmanship, and Orienteering events.

"This is a grueling challenge for the cadets. It's not for the faint of heart," said Maj. Gregory Hargett, assistant professor of military science at Southern Miss.

There is little rest in between events and all competitors get a good workout on Day 2. Day 3 starts even earlier than Day 2 with wake-up around 4:30 a.m. Then teams will move to the starting point for a 10-kilometer road march - the last event -- with full field gear and weapons. While the final scores are being tabulated, the teams are still busy cleaning weapons and equipment.

"There's no rest for the weary in the Ranger Challenge," Hargett said.

The opening ceremony will be held at the softball complex at Camp Shelby at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15. The closing ceremony will be held at noon on Sunday, October 17, at which time individual and team awards will be presented. The public is welcome to attend either ceremony as well as the individual events throughout the weekend.

The 2004 Golden Eagle Ranger Challenge team is coached by Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Harrington, and the team captain is Cadet Joe Wilcox. Team members and alternates are cadets James Alexander, Kim Bishop, Darrell Coffey, Clint Ellis, John Ferrell, Edmund Mitzel, Adam Moore, Amanda Scoggin, Jeremia Sheehan, Josh Stokes, Sedrick Jackson, Kevin Jones, William Garrett, and Joe Wilcox.

For more information, contact Maj. Greg Hargett at 266-4460 or or Lt. Col. Kevin Dougherty at 266-4456 or, or visit the Southern Miss Army ROTC Web site at


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November 23, 2004 9:23 AM