For the first time in Emerald High School’s Air Force JROTC history it competed in a Raiders competition.
Raider teams are, primarily, an Army JROTC Leadership Development Requirement or extracurricular team activity however they have been growing in popularity amongst Air Force JROTC. It aligns itself as a junior version of the Ranger Competition Teams at the Collegiate ROTC level.
Raider Challenges test a team’s teamwork, physical conditioning, toughness and mental acuity. Teams are asked to complete 4-5 challenges. The Challenges range from a 5k run/march to create a rope bridge to a gauntlet obstacle style course. Teams consist of 8-9 team members in two categories male (0-3 females) or mixed (4+ females).
Raider teams train 3-5 days a week pushing themselves to be the best version of themselves they can be. Maj Pfancook, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and Emerald’s Raider team coach said, “Seeing these cadets push themselves beyond their preconceived limits lets them know that anything is possible if you work at it. I am just pumped to see these cadets tackle workouts that I love.”
On Nov. 2, Emerald’s Raiders took to Liberty High School for their first competition in school history. The team of, C/Capt. Rickey Weeks (team captain), C/Lt. Col. Weston McCravy, C/Capt. Juana Arce, C/Capt. Elijah Peterson, C/2Lt. Aldin Cockrell, C/CMSgt. Charlotte Young, C/SSgt. Stacey Sebastian, C/Amn. Louise Ochoada, and C/Amn. Amelia Patterson, known as “The 9”, tackled a 5k run, 1-mile litter carry, 200-yard tire flip relay, Avenger Humvee pull, rope bridge and Team Physical Fitness Competition (gauntlet). Pfancook said, “I cannot explain how proud of the effort I saw from these Raiders.
They earned a lot of respect today; they heard the challenge and they answered brilliantly.”
This team of Raiders took third place overall in the mixed category, which is no small feat given some of the competition schools pull from over 200 cadets compared to Emerald’s 85. Cadet Capt. Rickey Weeks said, “I was stunned when they called our name. I was just pumped to compete and finish all the events. But to take home an award just makes it that much sweeter.” C/Lt Col. Weston McCravy, EHS Cadet Corps Group Commander and Raider, said, “It has been a goal of ours to get a Raider team ever since Major got here. We finally got the right pieces in place to make it happen this year.”
EHS Raiders do owe a huge thank you to LTC Laymon and the Greenwood High School Army JROTC Raider team. The GHS Senior instructor and team members taught the EHS team how to accomplish the rope bridge and get their equipment set. Pfancook said, “Really we wouldn’t have been able to compete without LTC Laymon and his team’s help. We will be rooting for them when they head to Blythewood in December.” This is hopefully just one accomplishment of many more to come for this newly formed EHS Raider team. The team did name C/SSgt. Stacey Sebastian Most Valuable Raider for her outstanding tough performance.