The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will be participating in the 6th Annual Squad Tactical Challenge on March 26.  

The purpose of the Squad Tactical Challenge is to provide a stressful situation for cadets to develop their leadership in two ways. First, cadets must train their subordinates over time and plan for the events to be successful. Second, cadets must successfully demonstrate situational leadership during the course of the event.

Cadets in each squad will be assigned leadership positions at random and will be given a chance to lead in a tactical situation. This year’s challenge will include 70 squads, each consisting of nine cadets. This will be an all day event with the first squad starting at 7:30 a.m. and the final squad finishing at approximately 2 p.m.

“I am really excited about Squad Tactical Challenge. I am eager to demonstrate my newly acquired skills. I am expecting that India Company as a whole will come together and work in unison to accomplish the mission, regardless of differences between class or any other factor,” states Cadet Princess Gibson of Decatur, Ga., a freshman majoring in economics in the College of Science and pursuing a minor in leadership studies. Gibson is in Air Force ROTC and says she aspires to be a Remotely Piloted Aircraft pilot upon commissioning.

The entire corps has been preparing for the Squad Tactical Challenge since Jan. 31, nearly two months in advance of the actual competition. The competition will start at the stop sign just past the 460 overpass on Smithfield Plantation Road. Here squads will receive instructions for the rest of the event. They will then move to the obstacle course, the first station of the 10 station event.

Events along the way will include a litter obstacle carry where cadets will have to navigate a litter through an obstacle course; a rope bridge station where squads will have to construct a rope bridge that spans a 25-foot gap and then each navigate the bridge one cadet at a time until all are across; and a station at the rappelling tower where two cadets will be selected at random and required to rappel. The challenge will conclude at Shultz Dining Hall where cadets will be tested on essential cadet knowledge.

“Preparing for Squad Tactical Challenge is a great team bonding experience. The squad leader has to teach his/her squad how to execute each event, read each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, and then fine tune the squad to where each team member knows their responsibilities when executing the event. If the squad leader has a strong positive attitude, the team will dominate” says Cadet Rusty McIntosh of Warrenton, Va., a senior majoring in hospitality and tourism management in the Pamplin College of Business and pursuing a minor in leadership studies. McIntosh is in Air Force ROTC and he will commission as a Financial Management Officer in May. He is a recipient of an Emerging Leader Scholarship and is currently a member of Charlie Company which has won the Squad Tactical Challenge each of the past three years.

Extensive training and planning have gone into this year’s Squad Tactical Challenge. Squad members will be well prepared for the events they will encounter. This is an excellent opportunity for cadets of all classes to demonstrate leadership lessons they have learned throughout their time in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. All are invited to stop and watch cadets as they compete in the event.

This article was written by Cadet Maj. Bryan West of Marietta, Ga., a senior majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and pursuing a minor in leadership studies. West is an Air Force ROTC cadet who will be commissioning as a Combat Systems Officer this May and is currently serving as the Regimental Public Affairs Officer and is a recipient of the Dr. Deborah A. and Col. William H. Swan, Jr. ’66 Emerging Leader Scholarship.