How Military Cadets Get Their Exercise

 

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Cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., hop off the front of a zodiac at the turn around point of the water crossing event during the 2016 Sandhurst competition, April 9, 2016.

 

 

The following photographs are from the 2016 Sandhurst Competition hosted by the US Military Academy at West Point. This contest began in 1967 based on a challenge from the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and has been held annually ever since at the USMA. Teams are invited from the US Naval Academy, US Merchant Marine Academy, ROTC programs and other places.

These young and very fit US Army ROTC cadets were photographed in a “gun-run” during the NATO Sandhurst competition which includes pulling a howitzer along with ammunition and water for a fair distance. They look tired out and I can’t blame them. I’ve never pulled a howitzer but it can’t be easy since this things must weigh a lot and there are only three of them. My cap is off to y’all. You must have trained long and hard for this contest.

 

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University of Delaware ROTC cadets move a howitzer, water cans and ammo boxes at the final station — the gun run — during the 2016 Sandhurst Competition at West Point, N.Y., April 9, 2016. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton.

 

Below is something called a “log crawl.” Just the name makes it sound hard and judging by the photograph it is.

 

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Officer Cadet Perry Georgina Edwards receives a helping hand while practicing the log crawl before the 2016 Sandhurst competition at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., April 6, 2016. Edwards is assigned to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, United Kingdom. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton.

Judging by the expressions on the faces of these two British officer cadets, this doesn’t look easy.

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Rope Swing

Officer Cadets Perry Jolly and Samuel Camp practice the rope swing before the 2016 Sandhurst competition at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., April 6, 2016. Jolly and Camp are assigned to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, United Kingdom. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton.

Of course, you can’t have a field contest without boat racing of some sort. Paddling like this is damn hard to do. These young men and women are fit!

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Paddling Teams

The U.S. Academy team, left, paddles by South Korean cadets during water crossing as part of the 2016 Sandhurst Competition at West Point, N.Y., April 8-9, 2016. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton

I wonder if these US Navy midshipmen are thinking, “I joined the navy so I wouldn’t have to do stuff like this.”

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Finish Sprint

Midshipmen sprint to the finish line during the 2016 Sandhurst Competition at West Point, N.Y., April 9, 2016. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton.

The midshipman on the far left as you look at the photograph appears to be wearing a red version of the state flag of my home state of South Carolina.

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This looks dreadfully difficult. These young soldiers are moving fast in the bio hazard gear with gas masks on while presumably taking turns helping to the carry the guy who is designated as the wounded soldier for this exercise. I have to wonder when they finished if the soldiers looked at the soldier they had to carry and say, “Dude, lose some f****** weight.”

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Carrying the Load

Army cadets carry simulated casualties and their gear 560 meters at the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear station during the 2016 Sandhurst Competition at West Point, N.Y., April 9, 2016. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton

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Starting Sprint

Teams of cadets start the first day of events with a sprint from MacArthur Barracks to Buffalo Soldiers Field for their first station, functional fitness event during the 2016 Sandhurst competition at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., April 8, 2016. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton

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Reacting to Contact

Cadets react to direct contact during the 2016 Sandhurst competition at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., April 8, 2016. The cadets are assigned to the Turkish Military Academy. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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