Duty Calls

Gruelling obstacle course results in Hail to the 3

It was Hail to the 3 this year as the squadron took the top spot at this year’s obstacle course.

Members of the Class of 2024 completed the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) obstacle course on Friday, September 18, earning their entry into the Cadet Wing of officer cadets at RMC.

The final tally placed 3 (Pontiac) Squadron in first place. The course marks the end of first-year orientation and the last time working as a team before their badging ceremony.

It consists of twelve obstacles representing each of the College’s twelve squadrons, and each team’s s called a “flight.”

Members of the Old Brigade then presents the First Years with their College Coins, before the first years jump off the pier into Lake Ontario, following tradition. Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Cadets compete on behalf of their squadron for points towards the Commandant’s Cup: a yearlong competition for prestige and pride at the College. The flight’s time and performance on each obstacle are ranked, and overall standings are determined for the entire course.

The obstacle course’s winning team is the flight with the most points and is praised in front of the entire Cadet Wing and given recognition amongst the First Year Class.

Members of the Old Brigade then presents the First Years with their College Coins. Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Ringing the bell on the Parade Square at the end of the course indicates the end of FYOP and the First Years have earned their place in the Cadet Wing. Members of the Old Brigade then presents the First Years with their College Coins, before the first years jump off the pier into Lake Ontario, following tradition.

Director of Cadets at RMC, Colonel Corinna Heilman, inspected the course to ensure it’s challenging, safe, and a worthy test for the Class of 2024 to finally become part of the RMC Cadet Wing.

“The RMC obstacle course is a challenge that can only be accomplished by a team. I congratulate Grizzly Flight for their outstanding performance, and to all the first-year officer cadets for successfully conquering the course,” Heilman proudly stated.

“It’s wonderful to watch their teamwork in action as they face each of the obstacles. Whether it’s lifting and pulling each other over the 10-foot wall or encouraging each other as they crawl beneath logs in the mud pit, success depends on strategy, fitness, and most importantly, how well they work together or wade through swamps as a team,” Heilman commented.

She congratulated the class of 2024 and explained that the obstacle course is a wonderful tradition experienced by every RMC class for the past 144 years.

“It’s wonderful to watch their teamwork in action as they face each of the obstacles. Whether it’s lifting and pulling each other over the 10-foot wall or encouraging each other as they crawl beneath logs in the mud pit, success depends on strategy, fitness, and most importantly, how well they work together or wade through swamps as a team,” Heilman commented.

It was Hail to the 3 this year as the squadron took the top spot at this year’s obstacle course. Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Usually, the task of building and designing the obstacle course falls to members of the second-year class. This year, because the second years were studying remotely and were not available on campus, the larger campus community undertook the job of building, testing, and monitoring the 12 obstacles.

The Cadet Wing Commander, with the assistance of senior cadets and the second and fourth-year students living on campus, designed and built the obstacle course under the close supervision of Training Wing Staff.

Due to pandemic restrictions, there were no spectators this year. The Public Affairs team covered the obstacle course action and shared photos and videos of the event on the RMC Facebook, Twitter, and Flicker.

Typically the obstacle course is held on Reunion Weekend, which has past grads return to the campus for a reunion and cheering on their alumni squadron.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 1: Rope Bridge

This obstacle is a test of individual upper and lower body agility and strength. Cadets will cross the bridge by holding onto the rope with their hands and feet/legs. To successfully complete this obstacle, the entire First Year Flight must make it across the rope bridge. If any member touches the ground before they reach the end of the obstacle, they must return to the start of the challenge and attempt to cross again.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 2: Truck Pull

This obstacle aims to promote cohesion and teamwork while being put under intense physical stress. To complete this obstacle, each flight must pull a military truck 50 metres. Cohesive collaboration and communication are essential to completing this obstacle successfully.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 3: Tire Transport

In this obstacle, physical strength and teamwork are tested. To complete this obstacle, each flight must carry a set of truck tires of varying weight and size over two six-foot walls without the tires touching the walls. Penalties will be applied if the tires are dropped or touch the walls.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 4: Slippery Slope

This obstacle aims to test the teamwork, strength, and flight’s ability to perform under stressful conditions. The First Years will be required to transport equipment up a steep hill as quickly as possible while facing a barrage from a fire hose and ascending the “slippery slope” – a tarp-covered in water, soap, and mud.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 5: The Tank Jerry Can Carry

This obstacle challenges the teamwork, communication, physical fitness, and decision making of the FYOP flights in a mentally demanding scenario. The participants start on the bridge’s east side, entering the ditch’s shallow water and passing underneath the bridge. They must then proceed underneath the cam netting to the culvert wall immediately to the west of the bridge, until pulling themselves over a small storm wall.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 6: Water Splash

This obstacle aims to test a First-Year Flight’s ability to traverse difficult terrain as a unit while maintaining the integrity of their personnel and equipment. While wearing life jackets, the First Years must transport rubber rifles and other equipment through a water obstacle while ensuring all remains dry and above water.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 7: The Pit

This obstacle aims to test both mental and physical fortitude of cadets while forcing them to work as a cohesive team to achieve their objective. Each flight is required to crawl through a trench full of mud and water, which tests their determination and drive. They will then proceed to the log sit-up portion of the obstacle that tests the physical endurance and the teamwork as all members on each log must work in unison to be successful.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 8: Cargo Net

The objective of this obstacle is to test strength and endurance in an uncomfortable situation. The cadets must confront any fear of heights to climb the cargo net without freezing. Learning to complete this obstacle familiarizes the cadets with operating in a potentially uncomfortable zone, a zone in which they will need to work as officers in the Canadian Armed Forces. The support and teamwork that goes into this obstacle are necessary for all leaders at RMC.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 9: Boat Race

The idea for the boat obstacle is for each team to paddle an assault boat using teamwork, cohesion, physical fitness, leadership, and communication while manoeuvring their craft through a series of buoys.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 10: Sand Bag Transport

In this obstacle, cadets must work as a team to carry sandbags and ammo boxes through a challenging circuit without touching mine tape stretched across the top of the course. First Year’s endurance and mental capacities under stress will be tested during this obstacle.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 11: The Wall

The Wall is a challenging obstacle and the hallmark of the RMC obstacle course. This obstacle is the ultimate test of the flight’s ability to work as a team and to help each other to accomplish a difficult task. They must work to get their entire team over the 12-foot wall as quickly as possible and in a manner of utmost safety. It is necessary to have a solid plan, coordination, and teamwork to achieve victory over the Wall.

Images courtesy of RMC Public Affairs: MCpl Rod Doucet, Lt Jonathan Farlam, Cpl Doug Burke, Cpl Mike MacIsaac, LS Erin Roberts, Anna-Michelle Shewfelt and Peter Reimer.

Obstacle 12: “Gut Check”

The camaraderie and perseverance that the First Years developed over FYOP are put to the ultimate test in this obstacle. The flight must move several pieces of equipment across the parade square. This will be the most gruelling upper body physical push of the obstacle course.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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