AFP ROTC Challenge 2015
27 July 2015 at 0118H

The Armed Forces of the Philippines ROTC Challenge 2015 was held last 25 July 2015 at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Grand Stand. This is an annual event in which Cadet Officers (COs) from different schools in Metro Manila, under the three branches of military service: Air Force, Army and Navy, compete to show what they’ve got. To show support for the event, the US Army sent eight of their cadets to compete in one of the activities.

The event had five major activities: First Aid, Weapons, Obstacle Course, Force-on-Force, and Warrior Course. In the first activity, the COs were given a situation in which a specific kind of first aid was needed. For the Weapons activity, teams from the different branches of military service had to disassemble and assemble a M16 rifle and a .45 Cal pistol in the fastest time possible. The third activity was the Obstacle Course, where the teams had to cross various obstacles in the fastest time they can. In Force-On-Force activity, also known as Small Unit Tactics, the skills and strategies of each team, on how to react in certain military missions, were displayed. The last event was the Warrior Course, a combination of Map Reading and Land Navigation, River Crossing, M16 Marksmanship and Rucksack March. The US Army participants picked the Warrior Course as their activity of choice. A cheering competition was also included for the non-participating cadets to show their support for their respective branch of service.

The UP Diliman Corps was invited to participate in the Warrior Course, under the Army contingent. This is the first time that the UP Diliman Corps participated in the AFP ROTC Challenge. The corps sent out three 2Cl cadet officers as their participants: C2Lt Uziell S Boringot, C2Lt Alexander Joseph M Harder and C2Lt Gea Brellia J Jayson.

In the Warrior Course, each team consisted of nine members. Each team member carried a bag with the following objects: a BDA, two sardines, three small packs of SkyFlakes®, a poncho, a pair of rubber shoes, a pair of maong pants, a pair of green shorts, a T-bandage, 1.5L of potable water, a flashlight, a pair of slippers, and several other personal items. Each member also had to carry an M16 rifle. Each team was given a maximum of six hours to locate a total of five points, each point having a corresponding activity. In the fourth point, the Army team was able to cross a swimming pool, in less than twenty minutes. After this feat, the team then proceeded to the firing range, where each member had three chances to shoot a balloon or a soda can. Teammates were allowed to assist fellow team members who missed their chances to shoot the targets. After successfully shooting down all nine targets, the Army team moved on to the last point, located at the Grand Stadium. The Army team was the first to arrive beating the other two branches of service.

The closing program started upon the arrival of the newly appointed Chief of Staff of the AFP, General Hernando Delfin Carmelo Arreza Iriberri. The winners were announced thereafter. The Navy won in the First Aid and Obstacle Course activities. They also won the cheering competition. The Army, on the other hand, won the three remaining activities: Weapons, Force-On-Force and Warrior Course. The US Army participants were then given an award for accepting the invitation and participating in the Warrior Course. Upon tallying the points, Team ARMY came out on top with an average of 19 points, gaining the Overall Champion Award.

C2Lt Harder, 2Cl, was asked to give a message about his experiences that day. After his message, the squad leader of the US Army representatives gave his message, thanking the AFP for inviting them for an opportunity to train with some of their cadets. Rear Admiral Aurelio A Rabusa Jr. introduced Gen. Iriberri. General Iriberri quoted Gen. Douglas MacArthur in his closing speech: “Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.”

Duty, Honor, Country: The three shibboleths of the UP Corps of Cadets, hearing it being quoted from the country’s Chief of Staff felt exhilarating. It must have been fate. Or it might have just been a coincidence. But whatever force that brought the UP Diliman Corps there that day, one thing is for sure, it did not fail. After years of defeat in the AFP ROTC Challenge, the Army finally gained the victory and the UP Diliman Corps is proud to have been a part of that victory.