Lambka Challenge offers ultimate test in team-building for new cadets
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (July 25) — New cadets got an early glimpse inside the Indoor Obstacle Course Test at Arvin Gymnasium and ran a modified version of it during the Lambka Challenge July 19.
The culminating event for the first iteration of Cadet Basic Training was a squad-level challenge and the IOCT tested their balance, strength and agility on seven obstacles they will become familiar with during plebe year.
One of the cadets operating that lane at Arvin said that for some plebes the Military Movement course will be the hardest class they take this academic year.
Yet, with so many to choose from, it was difficult to say which event was toughest at the Lambka Challenge.
The course itself was sprawling—with squads moving from Buffalo Soldier Field near Thayer Gate all the way to Michie Stadium—against a sweltering heat wave.
New cadets were tested on drill and ceremony, communications, combat medical care, USMA and Army knowledge and physical fitness.
The latter was manifested throughout the modified combat fitness test at the River Courts where new cadets worked together to complete an exhausting series of exercises to include tire flip, pull ups and Humvee push.
This site was named Mission Boston in honor of the 82nd Airborne Division’s nighttime parachute landing into Normandy on D-Day in 1944. Shortly before 10 a.m., Class of 2015 Cadet Dan Myers, the 4th Squad leader for Company E’s 1st Platoon, was able to congratulate his new cadets for securing the best score at this lane.
“This was all them ... doing everything they’ve learned this summer so far and they did an excellent job,” he said. “I was able to pretty much take a hands-off approach on this course, just a navigator and motivator.”
That’s not to say they sailed through the Lambka Challenge unscathed.
“The heat today was definitely a factor. But we also got caught up on the communications lane and the knowledge portion,” Myers said. “We had to climb the stairs at Michie because we didn’t remember all our knowledge.”
Everyone had stairs to climb at Michie Stadium, but the height and distance of that climb was determined by answering questions correctly.
Class of 2015 Cadet Jordan Blanchard, Co. B’s 3rd Platoon sergeant, tested new cadets on their sexual harassment and assault response training at the first of three stations.
“We work on the knowledge and mental aspect during CBT, but it’s still a big adjustment for new cadets to be put on the spot and have to recall knowledge so quickly,” she said. “SHARP training and Professional Military Ethic has been drilled into their heads during training and I would say a lot of them have it completely down.”
Not long after Myers’ squad finished Mission Boston, another Co. E squad was able to boast the best score. This time, Class of 2015 Cadet Ivan Martinez’s 1st Squad from 1st Platoon earned bragging rights they hoped to maintain at the end of the day.
“I’m proud of my squad for everything they’ve accomplished, not only today but from the past three weeks,” Martinez said. “They’ve come together as a squad and performed well.”
Martinez said the Lambka Challenge was a good indicator that new cadets not only retained all they’ve learned this first detail of CBT but can perform under pressure.
“It’s been a great assessment and I think they all realize that, when under pressure, things become more difficult so it is imperative to train hard and realistically to be ready for those stressful situations,” Martinez said.
After finishing Mission Boston, the new cadets of 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Co. A, retreated to the shade to hydrate and cool down. New Cadet Danielle Failor felt elated at the finish and said having a good squad made all the difference.
“This was super motivating ... luckily we were able to help each other out and it was awesome,” she said.
Seeing another squad lumbering up the Ranger Wall prompted them to all get up and cheer their comrades to completion. Failor said although every squad wants to do well for themselves the challenge goes beyond that.
“We’re a team as brothers and sisters in arms here to support each,” she said. “We’re all in this together.”
Her squad leader, Class of 2015 Cadet Paul Srein, said it’s been rewarding to see the new cadets develop over the first detail and succeed when put to the challenge.
“I’ve seen tremendous improvements in the new cadets these past few weeks,” Srein said. “They came here on R-Day kind of in shock, and a lot of knowledge has been put on them. They were overwhelmed but as the days went by my squad caught on pretty fast. You see them do the right things—here and there you have to make corrections—but they’re motivated.”
Awards for the Lambka Challenge were presented to 1st Squad, 4th Platoon, Co. A—Best Squad
and Co. E—Best Company.
Experiencing an exhausting obstacle course at the River Courts, the new cadets were challenged with a series of tasks to include a shuttle run, pull ups, Humvee push, litter carry, low crawl and tire flip during the Lambka Challenge July 19. This particular site was named Mission Boston, in honor of the nighttime parachute combat assault into Normandy, France by the 82nd Airborne Division in June 1944 as part of the D-Day landings.
Squads must work together to complete modified combat fitness test at the River Courts, otherwise known as Mission Boston, in honor of the 82nd Airborne Division’s nighttime parachute landing on D-Day in Normandy. Pictured, a new cadet gets some support from squad mates while she climbs the Ranger Wall. This was the final obstacle on the course which also included a shuttle run, pull ups, Humvee push, tire flip, low crawl, litter and buddy carry.
Squads complete seven obstacles at the Indoor Obstacle Course Test inside Arvin Gymnasium during the Lambka Challenge. New cadets were timed on the low crawl, tires, vault, shelf climb, balance beam, modified Ranger Wall and monkey bars. They’ll get the full version during the academic year when they take the Military Movement course.
Members of 2nd Squad, 4th Platoon, Company D, assemble two ASIP radios and communicate a 9-line medical evacuation report at the Communications Assessment lane at Buffalo Soldier Field.