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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2018 / March 

Virginia Tech cadets put skills to the test during March 17 Platoon Tactical Challenge

March 9, 2018

Cadets participating in the Platoon Tactical Challenge support a makeshift bridge they built using precut logs, twine, and lumber. The object is for the bridge to be sturdy enough to support the weight of one cadet rolling a 50-gallon drum along the boards.

A cadet lifts a 50-gallon drum onto a makeshift bridge being supported in place by other cadets.
Cadets participating in the Platoon Tactical Challenge support a make-shift bridge they built using pre-cut logs, twine, and lumber. The object is for the bridge to be sturdy enough to support the weight of one cadet rolling a 50-gallon drum along the boards.

Teamwork and the ability to work through changing conditions will be key skills on display as the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets participates in the Platoon Tactical Challenge, an all-day, corps-wide competition on Saturday, March 17.  

The Platoon Tactical Challenge is a training exercise made up of six stations. In all, 22 platoons of cadets will run the course and complete the challenges at each station in the fastest time possible.

“The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets exists to develop leaders, and while we have many opportunities for development in the classroom and small-unit level, platoon leaders often do not get to practice decision making in stressful environments under changing conditions. Platoon Tactical Challenge is made to meet that need,” said Cadet Fabio Brocco, a senior from Newland, North Carolina, majoring in building construction. Brocco is this semester’s regimental operations officer, who oversees all planning for corps activities.

The challenge will begin at 5 a.m. and will continue most of the afternoon, rain or shine. The community is invited to watch. Locations will include the Drillfield, the Duck Pond, and the corps’ obstacle course on Smithfield Road.

“The station missions will require teamwork, problem solving, tactical skills, and physical fitness from all participants. The platoon leadership will have to quickly make and execute a plan to complete the tasks required at the station,” Brocco said. “The leadership of the platoon will be required to analyze how to best use the individual skills of every cadet and how to employ squad leaders to help them complete the challenges.”

Each platoon is made up of 30 cadets: the platoon leader and sergeant and four seven-cadet squads. Cadets will start on Upper Quad and will use a map to navigate to all six stations. Scoring will be based on how fast the platoon can complete events without picking up penalties.

Written by Cadet Mackenzie Morris, a senior from Warrenton, Virginia, majoring in psychology