CBT: The McGinnis Challenge
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
The McGinnis Challenge tested the physical and mental fortitude of 128 squads of new cadets July 20, capping off the first three weeks of Cadet Basic Training for the Class of 2016.
The course was spread throughout West Point, to include a physical fitness challenge at the River Courts. Dubbed the Warrior Challenge, new cadets had to work together to push a Humvee a distance of 35 meters, then push a giant log back and forth while crab walking.
To further the burn racing up and down their arms and legs, the next component of the challenge was a sandbag sprint and new cadets carried as many as they could to reach the final objective—the team pushup. Each new cadet hit the ground and formed a continuous link to execute a single pushup in unison.
Squads ran to each event, as time mattered from start to finish. Inside Hayes Gymnasium, new cadets had to negotiate seven obstacles in under 2 minutes and 30 seconds. This made up less than half of the full Indoor Obstacle Course Test which every West Point cadet must pass as an academy requirement.
New cadets will soon become familiar with Michie Stadium when they fill the stands during home games for Army Football. They also got a step-by-step introduction to the stadium during the challenge, racing through the bleachers, to the top and back to the bottom. Along the way, they stopped at four stations to recite some of the cadet knowledge they’ve studied these past few weeks.
On Daly Field, squads had five minutes to assemble the ASIP radio, punch in the correct frequency and communicate a nine-line medical report. At the West Point Simulations Center, squads were tested on marksmanship using the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST2000) and rowed a Zodiac boat across Lusk Reservoir.
The challenge concluded with a memorial to Spc. Ross McGinnis, a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in action in December 2006 while deployed in Iraq with 1st Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. A letter from the McGinnis family was read as the squad shared a moment of silence.