It was a dark and quiet morning in mid-September at the College of the Holy Cross when two dark green vans parked outside the Field House. From out of those vans came warriors, and as they stepped out onto the pavement, their silhouettes highlighted the night as the sun was just peeking over the horizon. Frosty air crept upon them from the rolling mountains as they moved toward the buildings entrance. No, this was not the scene from the latest Tom Clancy novel, but the precursor to the valiant performance that the midshipmen from the Boston University-MIT NROTC Consortium put on at the annual Holy Cross Military Excellence Challenge (MEC).
The Holy Cross MEC is the one event that the Consortium attends each year that determines which branch of ROTC from which school in the region is the best at, well, being awesome. Competition events that our MIDN competed in included: Swim Relays, Warrior Challenge, Iron Man Challenge, Color Guard, and the basketball tournament.
When it came to swimming, there was no challenge for the two teams BU and MIT fielded. Beating teams by no less than a half-length of the pool in every heat, the MIDN stood out tremendously from the rest of the pack. There was no competition that could match the fast-pace strokes of any of our swimmers. At the end of the day, the “Cross Speedo” for the first place team was ours yet again.
The Warrior Challenge tested the physical and mental stamina of the MIDN that partook in them. Our selected two were MIDN 1/C Kelley and Midn 3/c Frayne. Together, they formed a bond that would take them through an assortment of tasks and strenuous activities. These included: climbing ropes, pull-ups, push-ups, burpees, buddy drags, tire flips, stair climbs, ammo can carries, and a run, amongst other things. Oh, and all of this was done while donning some sort of combat gear. They performed valiantly, and by the time they crossed the finish line, both midshipmen were dirty, sweaty, and looked like they just came out of a combat zone.
This year, the Battalion yielded a team for an event that it had not competed in in recent memory: Color Guard. Led by MIDN Knauss, a team of four midshipmen executed a routine that made the unit proud. For many of them, this was their first event for a Color Guard that they had ever done. In the end, they placed third and gave hope for future years to follow in their steps.
And finally, the event that everyone waited for: the round-robin basketball tournament, the event that proves the true grit of out future military officers. Due to sheer popularity, there were once again two teams that were able to sign up and compete: the A Team and the Killer Bees. The Killer Bees stung their opponents every game, but unfortunately didn’t manage to tally a win. The A Team came out with their guns blazing and came up with several impressive victories before falling short in the semi-finals. After five straight games with no break, they finally ran out of steam. All in all, both teams put on a show to captivate their onlookers in the final hours of the MEC.
After a few words from the Commanding Officer of the Holy Cross NROTC Consortium, the MIDN from our battalion headed back home. Their heads were held high, and overall, they achieved third place in the entire competition! It was much to the surprise and delight of everyone there. From that point on, everyone knew that the midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Battalion were coming back next year with a taste of victory. Now, they wanted more.
Written by: MIDN Alexander Hayden