Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Endurance. Knowledge. Leadership - AEE Major plays pivotal role in National Champion ROTC Team

Penn State ROTC Sandhurst Team with AEE Major Kate Bassett
at the Award Cermoney. 
Endurance.  Knowledge.  Leadership.  These three components can describe a wide variety of things in this world- Agricultural Education, FFA, sports,or THE MILITARY.  One AEE Major, Kate Bassett (2015 Teacher Candidate) found out first hand how they applied an international military skills competition – Sandhurst.  Kate has been at University Park for the past two years and in that time she has participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps(ROTC) and served as the female representative on the Penn State Sandhurst Team. Penn State ROTC is the number 1 team in the nation and the number 2 team in the world! The 2nd overall placing set a record as No ROTC school has ever placed that high in Sandhurst history!

Growing up on a small family farm showing Percheron horses, Kate is evidence that farm kids can go anywhere and achieve anything they set their mind to. The goals of the competition are to develop leaders and international relationships. In order for a ROTC school to compete, they have to first win their Brigade Ranger Challenge in the fall. There are a total of 8 brigades in the country and 8 ROTC schools compete. The 10 international teams that competed this year included two from the UK and one from China, Chile, Brazil, Qatar, Australia, Germany, South Korea, and Canada.

Kate Bassett and her team putting on their proper gas masks
What’s involved?? Out of the members who competed in the Ranger Challenge, only 9 can go on to the Sandhurst; companies have to try out against each other to see who can attend. After the team is selected they train each morning from 5:30-7:00 a.m! Sometimes they even have to meet at 5 a.m! They also have two, two hour labs every week dedicated to training for the competition. 

The team does lots of physical training, but they also train for a variety of skills which include: military equipment identification, rope bridge construction, throwing grenades, proper pro-mask (gas masks) assembly and running/ completing tasks with them on, 5 different weapon systems assembly/disassembly, obstacle completion, marksmanship, TCCC (Tactical Combat Casualty Care), land navigation and much more. In addition to all that training during the week, they also have a field training exercise that is 16 hours on a Saturday.  Above and beyond their practice during the week, they also like to enjoy weekend runs as a team. Furthermore they are expected to work out on their own in addition to the morning training – this will help build and maintain physical endurance.
Kate Bassett, 2015 AEE Major and her team running to the finish line

Competition Day.  Friday’s competition during the Sandhurst included approximately a 9 mile course that had checkpoints along a designated route. One of the checkpoints was marksmanship and another was a two hours time slot for land navigation up and down very steep and rocky terrain. Friday took 5 hours for one team, from start to finish on the course.. Saturday was about a 7-8 mile course with 18 different stations that each had a separate task. For example one was scaling a 10 foot wall while the rest were the tasks they had trained for. More information about Sandhurst can be found here.

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher  
Twitter: @JRose_Case

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