The following comment was submitted on 2011/04/18 at 10:28 pm from a recent article on the Sandhurst competition.
Setting the record straight.
This is more of a personal request than a comment and I request you assistance in getting the record straight as I understand the situation. About six years ago, I on behalf of the First Canadian Parachute Battalion Association, approached the Foundation to arrange support in some form for the Sandhurst Team.
The skills, determination, fitness and leadership needed to win (and participate) in this competition were much related to the job of the Paratrooper. The Association was in the throes of “wind down” as members aged but they embraced the project of supporting the RMC Sandhurst team to the extent of providing $25,000 to be awarded as the team saw fit and an old trophy was resurrected.
One Can Para’s role in this has been downplayed in recent releases and I’d like to see that changed to proper recognition of “first” stepping up to the plate. As the Patron of the Association, now disbanded, I’d appreciate recognition of who is supporting the event (team), regardless of dollar amount, being stated.
2897 MGen (ret’d) Herb Pitts
Sandhurst 2011 – A Proud Performance
By 24768 IV OCdt Matthew Stokes
If only one word was used to describe the feeling in the guts of 16 members of RMC’s Sandhurst Team on the morning of April 16th, it would be Pressure. With their sharp contrast of CADPAT green in a sea of grey American uniforms, the need to please both spectators and families who drove hours to watch, and the burning desire to continue RMC’s legacy of 4 victories in the past 6 years, the mood was almost overwhelmingly tense. Only three veterans of the team would be running the competition, for the remaining six, the upcoming four hour competition that promised a physical breaking point loomed ahead. A very disappointing shooting competition the day before had ranked RMC over 45 minutes behind the leaders, a margin that they would have to catch. With only one competition per year, there would be only one chance to summon their four months of training and every morsel of their physical ability to make a name for themselves. That knowledge, along with 30 pounds of combat equipment for each runner, weighed down on the team as their boots led them onto the start line.
And then the gun went off. RMC flew through the steep hills of Camp Buckner, West Point, attacking each stand they faced with a mixture of intelligence, military skill, and physical brawn. The team finished the confidence course in under 20 minutes, avoiding a large penalty, something only 4 out of the 50 teams were able to do. They ferried a casualty, equipment and an entire squad across a river in ten minutes using only ropes and carabineers, passing several teams in the process. Their paddles cut through the waters of Popolopen Lake in the assault boat, registering one of the fastest times for that obstacle. During the navigation portion, the team quickly made it to four points hidden in the forest, and burned out of the underbrush for a sprint to the First Aid obstacle. Realistic looking injuries complete with spurting blood, screaming casualties and jutting bones didn’t phase the team, as they calmly treated and evacuated the wounded. A final sprint to the finish and a memory test on their encounters during the competition was all that was left before the competition was finally over. Covering approximately twelve kilometers through the forest and hills, mastering seven complicated obstacles and incurring a measly six minutes in penalties, smiles were all around as the team finally met with their supporters and families.
Despite their run time being one of the fastest of the day, the shooting competition from the day before hurt the team’s overall ranking, finishing 5th out of the 18 external teams, including the Brits, Australians, Taiwanese, Chileans, Afghans, USNA, USAFA and 8 of the best ROTC University teams in the United States. The Reginald E. Johnson Sword for the best performance went to Company B3, marking the first time in 17 years that a West Point team has taken first. Although the sword will stay in West Point for another year, the team still had a great experience for the past four months of training, and was proud to represent the Royal Military College. The team extends its gratitude to all cadets and staff who came down to support their efforts, the team’s trainers and coaches, Captain Nathan Price, Captain Kevin Schamuhn, PO1 Poirier, and Mr. Stephane Robert, and of course, IV Charles Gallant, whose four years of participation and dedication to the RMC Sandhurst team, along with his leadership of the team in his final year at the college has guaranteed a bright future for the RMC Sandhurst team and the cadets who will continue the fight for the sword in the years to come.