Military excellence is something that each and every member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps here at RPI strives for. For those of us who are serving our country, excellence can present itself in many forms. These include various types of physical prowess, drill execution, and military character. Throughout the year, there are many chances for NROTC units and other military academies to prove their excellence in a competitive gathering. This is known as a Military Excellence Competition. The most recent MEC that NROTC unit at RPI has participated in took place at Villanova University, outside of Philadelphia, Pa. The Navy’s finest here at RPI had a strong showing, sending 44 midshipmen and facing off against schools such as Villanova University, Penn State, The Naval Academy, The Merchant Marine Academy, and many others. In the area of physical challenges, the unit fielded multiple teams in crossfit, track relays, swimming, Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs Physical Fitness Test, and Recon challenges.
The crossfit competition consisted of a workout called the Murph, named after Lt. Michael Murphy, who lost his life in Afghanistan. The Murph was done in teams of four people. RPI fielded three teams. The competition consisted of a one-mile run, 300 pull-ups as a team, 200 squats individually, 100 push-ups individually, and a second one-mile run. All of this was done while wearing a 20 pound flak jacket, and was scored based on time. Midshipman Timothy Snyder ’15 took first overall individually for the Murph.
A group of midshipmen ran in a distance medley track relay, in which RPI placed second. RPI also fielded a midshipman swim team that took fourth place in an individual medley swim relay.
RPI fielded a team for the BUD/S PFT, which is a grueling SEAL inspired workout involving swimming, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and running in boots and utility pants. The Recon challenge is of similar difficulty involving runs with rifles and full packs, rope climbs, and ammo can workouts. The BUD/S team took third place overall.
On the drill deck, the team from RPI did us proud with a near immaculate performance. Midshipman Andrew Watson ’13 acted as drill team commander, expertly marching the other midshipmen around the drill deck under predetermined orders from the gunnery sergeant. Each member of the drill team was precise and in time during all movements, both with their rifles and their feet. Their uniforms were expertly prepared. The drill team managed to secure first place in platoon inspection. Two RPI color guard teams also marched at Villanova, both teams put on a strong performance, carrying the flags of our country and of the armed services.
Events like these show the military character that is present in each and every one of the midshipmen who attend classes here at RPI. The training and effort that goes into bringing pride to the unit and the school is monumental. The young men and women who are participating maintain RPI’s excellent reputation among the other competing units, while still managing a full course load at this Institute. Bravo Zulu to the MEC team.
Cole M. Yager