After spending 36 hours competing against 60 teams on a course stretching just over 55 kilometres, the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) won the United States Military Academy’s Sandhurst Military Skills Competition and reclaimed the accompanying sword.
The 2016 Sandhurst Competition took place from April 8-9. The eleven-member RMC team competed in nearly 15 competitions, against 11 nations, that tested their physical strength and skills. These stations included obstacle course navigation, raft paddling, kilometres of ruck sack march and marksmanship.
Their months of two-day practices and extensive training paid off when the RMC team paddled, shot and marched their way into first place.
“To bring the sword back to Canada seven years later, it feels amazing in the sense that we can hopefully re-inspire a whole bunch of people to believe in the legacy we once had,” said Officer Cadet, David Sebastian Chadwick.
Winning the Military Skills Competition was a feat that means a lot to many of the cadets on the team. The RMC had previously won the competition in three consecutive years from 2005-2007, but had not won since 2009.
“The RMC team was dubbed from that point on as being a huge international competitor. So, for us to win again kind of solidified that feeling for a lot of the people, especially the newer members that didn’t know anyone on the winning teams,” mentioned Chadwick.
The competition also gives cadets a chance to mingle with counterparts from other countries, once the competition results are in. Chadwick recalls the international scope of the event didn’t quite hit him until the awards ceremony.
“I’d say its pretty much until the awards ceremony when everyone is together in the same room that you really realize how many people are there and how special it is,” recalled Chadwick.
Chadwick also says the other teams came together in a spirit of sportsmanship to celebrate and congratulate the RMC team.
The success of the RMC also warranted a statement from the Minister of Defence.
“It is my honour to congratulate the Royal Military College of Canada military skills team for their first place finish at the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the United States Military Academy in West Point. Over two days of grueling competition, the RMCC team covered nearly 60 km and completed many simulated operational combat challenges. Success at Sandhurst demands a high level of perseverance, tactical skills, and leadership, and RMCC’s team delivered.
“The Sandhurst Competition is attended by military academies from 12 different countries, contributing over 60 individual teams. This competition demonstrates the leadership, resilience, and teamwork that the profession of arms demands. RMCC’s achievement is significant and is a testament to the commitment and skill of everyone involved. We are proud that they represented the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada with such distinction.
“Bravo Zulu RMCC military skills team!,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
The Military Skills Competition is a tradition that goes back decades, starting in 1967 between the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the United States Military Academy at West Point.
“Essentially an officer from Sandhurst College presented a sword to the West Point Military Academy and said that this sword was going to be used as a trophy that’s going to be won by the best squadron in the military skills competition they started,” explained Chadwick.
Since then, the competition has grown to what it is today and includes 60 teams from 11 different nations.