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    Competition’s name-sake represents with teamwork, toughness

    Competition’s name-sake represents with teamwork, toughness

    Photo By Todd Pruden | Cadets from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst pose for a photo after completing the...... read more read more



    Story by Todd Pruden 

    United States Military Academy at West Point

    WEST POINT, N.Y. – Competition kicked off April 12 testing the mental and physical toughness of the top U.S. Military Academy, ROTC and international officer candidate program teams.

    Forty-nine teams representing four U.S. service academies, 13 international military academies and 16 ROTC programs competed in the 51st annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition.

    Two military officer candidate teams from the United Kingdom competed, representing the military academy, which is the namesake of their school as well as the competition.

    “It’s been a very long last two days involving a lot of tapping, or rucking as you call it, and there were checkpoints where we completed a whole variety of tasks,” said Cadet Helen Bridgman, Blue Team, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, U.K. “The timing between checkpoints has been very strict, so the physical side of it has been immense. Also, when you get to check points, there’s been memory tasks. We have to be mentally focused, so it really combines a whole body activity.”

    According to the competition’s visitor guide, in 1967, RMAS presented West Point with a British officer’s sword. The intent was for the sword to be the prize for a competition, the aim of which was to promote military excellence among the Corps of Cadets. The original purpose statement read as follows: “To provide the Corps of Cadets with a challenging and rewarding regimental skills competition, which will enhance professional development and military excellence in selected soldier skills.”

    The skills of the British teams were pushed to the limit over two days. The cadets completed a leader reaction course, obstacle course, various marksmanship exercises, a zodiac aquatic course, call for fire, a combat swim, and a final exercise called the “burden,” all the while marching with 35 pounds of equipment for roughly 30 miles between course points.

    “I’ll be honest we’re hungry and we’re tired, but it just feels amazing that we’ve done it,” Bridgman said after completing the competition. “You can put all that beside you as a team. It’s just a lot of rejoice when we’ve trained, obviously, very hard over the last few months and we’ve completed it. It feels good to be done.”

    Teamwork seemed to be the mantra the two teams from the U.K. relied on for success. Representatives from both the Blue and Red teams said their successes during the challenge could not have been possible without the help from their fellow teammates.

    “I think they are a very strong, fit, motivated group of people. They do get along with each other, so they look out for each other,” said Color Sgt. Michael Parry-Jones, an instructor and Sandhurst competition advisor for the RMAS teams. “So, I think the motivation just kind of comes naturally to them. The team captains did a really good job of moving that motivation up slightly and bringing the team together.”

    Bridgman agreed.

    “Mainly it’s teamwork, but you can’t do this without being a strong, cohesive team and it also improves your mental skills, most definitely,” she said. “You get taught things once, but we’ve rehearsed things over and over again.”

    The U.K. has dominated the Sandhurst competition since its inception. Various teams from RMAS have won the competition 16 times since 1994. Although neither team won the overall competition this year, the Blue Team finished first as the top international military institution. Both teams, however, were grateful for the opportunity to represent the U.K.

    “Just coming out here has been great, but for us, we just wanted to come out here and win it, do our best,” said Cadet Tom Nicholson, Blue Team leader, RMAS. “It took a lot of effort from the guys on the team.”



    Date Taken: 04.13.2019
    Date Posted: 04.13.2019 19:25
    Story ID: 318044
    Location: WEST POINT, NY, US 

    Web Views: 124
    Downloads: 0