After months of preparation and anticipation, 31 midshipmen from the Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at Rensselaer headed out to Philadelphia, Pa., to participate in the 54th Annual Villanova University Drill and Military Excellence Competition, held on April 4.
“The Villanova MEC is the largest competition we attend, and it never fails to attract strong competition,” said Midshipman Caroline Brunson, a sophomore majoring in industrial management engineering. “Villanova offers many different athletic and drill events such as swimming, running relays, Combat Fitness Tests, platoon drill, and color guard, while also offering combat skills competitions. Competing in these events gives midshipmen the opportunity to improve themselves both mentally and physically while also providing an outlet for their competitive natures.”
During the event, some of the most notable performances came from the running relays, combat skills competitions, and platoon drill, Brunson said.
Rensselaer had a strong representation in the running relays, and came in second place in both the 4×400 relay and distance medley relays. The 4×400 relay included Midshipmen Joel Harris, Liam McEneaney, Tanner Nichols, and Alexander Kunz; and the distance medley team included Midshipmen Joel Harris, Hayden Williams, Levi Rosa, and Alexander Kunz.
Villanova offers many different athletic and drill events such as swimming, running relays, Combat Fitness Tests, platoon drill, and color guard, while also offering combat skills competitions. Competing in these events gives midshipmen the opportunity to improve themselves both mentally and physically while also providing an outlet for their competitive natures.”
The Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Training (ISMIT) Biathlon team included: Midshipmen Liam McEneaney, Jeff Pistacchio, and Liam Traver. The ISMIT Tactical Assault Course team included: Midshipmen Kassie Morales, William Ash, Sean Sullivan, and Liam Traver, who came in third place in their category.
In addition, the platoon commanded by Traver finished second in the personnel inspection and fourth in the drilling portion.
“The competition was tough, but NROTCU RPI finished in fifth place,” Brunson said. “While we didn’t win the overall competition, all midshipmen competed to the best of their ability and we are looking forward to taking down the competition next year.”
The NROTC Unit at Rensselaer was commissioned in September 1941 (three months prior to Pearl Harbor) as the first NROTC Unit in the state of New York, and as one of the 28 units located at colleges and universities throughout the country at that time. During World War II, the unit was expanded to include the V-12 training programs, but in 1945 it returned to a normal peacetime program. During this same year, the NROTC program was expanded to include 23 additional institutions.