The reality of the military is somber; brave men die protecting ideals by which we live and craft our society from. One of these men includes 2nd Lt. Walter N. Levy (USMC), a Norwich University graduate who was KIA (Killed In Action) in September 18th, 1968 whilst operating in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. The Walter N. Levy Challenge was established to honor Lt. Levy’s name, providing participants the opportunity to push themselves to meet, and then surpass their physical limits.
Competitors from various schools along the New England neighborhood gather at Norwich University to take part in an event like no other. The Old Ironsides Battalion was represented by two teams and an individual, composed by MIDN 2/c Schott, MIDN 2/c Frayne-Reixa, MIDN 2/c Fulton, MIDN 3/c de la Ossa, MIDN 3/c McCoy, MIDN 3/c Gurung, MIDN 3/c Lopez, MIDN 4/c Bourget and MIDN 4/c Holmes. MIDN Schott, McCoy, de la Ossa and Gurung composed the MIT Team, while MIDN Fulton, Lopez, Bourget and Holmes made up the BU Team, while MIDN Frayne did it individually establishing our Battalion’s Marine Option presence.
Participants, competing individually or in teams of four, begin their journey with a 1-mile ruck march up and down a mountain with a 60-lbs rucksack on their backs. Once getting rid of the rucks, participants ran to the next stage involving a lap of carrying either a sandbag (for individuals) or a stretcher with a team-member lying down. Following this stage, a swift jog lead to the Marine Corps O-Course, involving a pull ups, low crawl, log jumps, rope climb, hiking up a short, yet steep hill with two ammo cans, target shooting and then running back through the rest of the course which involved low crawl and logs. Following the O-Course, a water-resupply evolution demanded individuals to carry water jugs around a basketball court; each person had to carry one. More pull ups and bear crawls led to more challenges, but perhaps the obstacle participants will remember the most would be the low crawl in the muddy, 50 OF water for about 15 yards. Following that, a long walk in a river- Yes, IN a river- provided competitors an opportunity to refresh themselves in the nippy water. After a refreshing mile-long stroll in the water, participants were given rubber-ducks (toy guns, in this case M16 rifles) and hiked up what seemed like a never ending hill. Upon completion of this hike, participants were given a memento, a device that would allow them to complete the challenge, this case being a dog-tag.
The completion of the challenge meant the completion of a 7.5 mile obstacle course, but in a deeper sense, it meant honoring one of the countless men and women that have suffered the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the United States. A simple 7.5 mile, 2.5 hour endurance course does not compare to the real challenges faced in the battlefield, in which Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen go days without rest. It is but an opportunity to better gaze the reality of the military; the reality that servicemen and women are guaranteed a ticket to leave the homeland, but sometimes it can be a one-way trip.
By MIDN 3/c Juan Lopez
Photo Credit: LT Blair/ MIDN 2/c Frayne