Cadets honored as they head to training

Eleven of the “best of the best” gathered in the Park Building yesterday to be formally recognized for their hard work.

According to Lt. Col. Edwin Frederick, the recognition was one “they’ll remember forever”-thanks to its qualified host.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Pershing surprised the cadets with rare U Olympic pins to reward them for being chosen to compete in the upcoming Ranger Challenge competition on Nov. 13.

“We’re really proud to have you here this morning,” Pershing said.

Pershing mentioned his background in the military-he was an officer for the division of Public Health Service during Vietnam. “It helped me get my education that I couldn’t have [received] otherwise,” Pershing said.

Pershing received money to go to graduate school at the University of Arizona from the G.I. Bill-one benefit program for those serving in the U.S. Army. Pershing also told cadets he is related to John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, one of the Army’s most famous officers. “Black Jack” served in the Spanish-American War, the Philippines Insurrection, the Mexican Expedition and was the overall American Commander in Europe during World War I.

The Ranger Challenge team consists of Eric Beard, Charlene Peterson, Steve Pagoaga, Forrest Davis, Mike Kinsel, Cody Wheaton, Aaron Roberts, Brad Wesley, Ben Andrus, Kent Feda and team captain Kirk Jackson.

As captain, Jackson helped choose his team after watching their performances over a period of three weeks. Candidates submitted themselves to intense physical training held every morning at 6 a.m.

Cadets also participated in land navigation practice, “ruck” marches and strenuous amounts of push-ups and sit-ups to earn a spot on the team.

Of Charlene Peterson-the only female on the team-Jackson said, “she adds a lot of motivation to the team. She does a very good job.”

Jackson held a peer evaluation to help decide who wasn’t going to make the team. Peterson “peered very high,” Jackson said.

The group will fly to Ft. Hunter-Liggett in California for the competition. Events include a physical test, written and practical land navigation tests, an obstacle course, target shooting with M-16s, a six-mile ruck march and a mystery event.

[email protected]