Racing on the river
From left: Caroline Bourgeois, Katherine Gamble, and Jean Aquinio, row for the finish line in the final leg of the JROTC triathlon, this month.

HOHENFELS, Germany (Nov. 29, 2011) -- Members of the Hohenfels Middle/High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Raider team participated in a grueling triathlon this month as part of a yearlong competition.

Split into three-person teams, the 15 Raider members gathered at the castle ruins in Kalmunz to race against the clock and each other.

"The team that finishes first gets the most points, and we total points for the whole year for our Raider competition and at the end we name the top three Raiders," said Matthew Fisher, JROTC battalion commander.

"They had to do a cross country navigation phase with a map and compass where they had to find points out in the woods and the fields. Then after that they had a mountain bike phase which is sort of like a treasure hunt where they were given a map and they had to go out to specific points on the map and report on what they found there. And the last phase was simply a canoe race," said retired Maj. Dan Parker, JROTC Instructor at Hohenfels Middle/High School.

Senior Jake Witty said the land navigation course was about 8-10 kilometers, while the bike portion comprised anywhere between 15 and 20 kilometers.

"The seniors go out and coordinate and make sure no one gets hurt or lost," said Witty.
Hohenfels is the only school in USAREUR currently offering a Raider team in its JROTC program, said Parker.

"Essentially it's to teach life sport skills and to do it in a pseudo military fashion -- skiing, kayaking, land navigation, terrain association -- all those types of things are essentially military skills, but we do it in a civilian capacity and it's for fun but it's also competitive," Parker said.

Having done JROTC for the past 24 years, Parker said this year's crop of Raiders constituted an unusual group.

"First it's the largest Raider group we've ever had, second it's the highest percentage of females, almost 50 percent, and third probably one third of the group are first year JROTC cadets, meaning they're basically mostly ninth-graders," said Parker

To participate in the Raiders program, cadets must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test.

"I've had seniors in high school who were on the football team and can't pass it, and I've had young ladies who are ninth-graders who can pass it, but they're very fit," Parker said.

All the Raiders seemed to agree that the land navigation portion of their competition was the most enjoyable.

"It was a real challenge," summed up Caleb Peterson.

"It was fun to watch Jeremy (Bormann) get lost," quipped Jack Pierce.

According to Fisher, this year's Raiders completed their triathlon faster than any team in Hohenfels history.

Though competition was fierce, it was clear all the participants were on the same team as each group of cadets gathered to cheer on the next group.

"It's all about teamwork," said cadet said Casey Leon. "You had to work together as team for everything."

Page last updated Tue November 29th, 2011 at 00:00