Sept. 22, 2014

Brandon Applehans
bappleha@uccs.edu

Cadets going through the ropes course got a taste of what it’s like to trust equipment and comrades.

The course at the Air Force Academy presented UCCS ROTC cadets with three separate obstacles on Sept. 17. A triangular prism obstacle, 50-foot climbing wall and a circular ropes challenge tested the students.

While only underclassmen compete in the ropes course, the juniors and seniors play a large motivational role in the event.

“We’re never going to let someone quit,” said MS4 Jacob Camacho. “No matter what the circumstances are we will get them there.”

Master Sergeant John Grijalva specializes in getting cadets ready for battle and through the training obstacles.

“The hardest part is getting them out of their comfort zones,” said Grijalva. “We’re focused on challenging them personally and dealing with team building.”

The training intends to build bonds that will benefit ROTC students for years to come.

“It’s a good program that leads to a good career. Now that I’m in it, I see that there’s a lot of good camaraderie,” said MS2 Cheyenne Frey.

ROTC is an opportunity for students who are enrolled in college to have a chance to join the Army. In order to succeed, cadets must learn how to train, complete college schoolwork and finish separate homework specifically for ROTC.

Physical training for ROTC consists of morning runs, fitness courses and mental challenges.

“You have to be able to wake up early,” said Frey. “It’s a lot of work and it’s physically draining. It has to be something you want.”

“When I look at my week’s schedule I’m amazed,” MS2 Sean Murphy said. “We have PT three days a week and it accounts for so much of my time.” Seeing cadets performing at their highest potential is the goal of ROTC.

“The most rewarding part about my job is actually when they fail and are frustrated and being able to talk through some of those things,” said Grijalva. “You expect these cadets to succeed. It’s when they fail is when the real learning begins.”