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Army ROTC Activities

Information for SDSU Army Cadets

There are exciting training opportunities for Cadets to participate in while in the Army ROTC Program. Included are activities and clubs on campus as well as Regular Army schools, cultural immersion training and the opportunity to receive credit for educational experiences.

Ranger Challenge is an opportunity for teams from each school that has an Army ROTC Program to compete with each other doing military tasks. In addition to a written examination where Cadets test their Army knowledge, there are physical fitness drills and field exercises.

What is Ranger Challenge?

Ranger Challenge is a highly physically and mentally demanding activity. It is the Army ROTC's varsity sport. The season is from late August through October. An elite group of Cadets train for 8 weeks in preparation for a 2-day competition at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, focusing on basic military skills in which the West Point of the Plains Battalion team competes against all the other teams in the Region. Cadets must compete for a spot on the team, as space is limited.

What are the events?

  • Army Physical Fitness Test
    • The Army Physical Fitness Test or APFT is the first of several physical events. Each member is given the opportunity to display individual strength, muscular and cardio-respiratory endurance. The Army scale of 100 points in each event, 71 pushups in two minutes, 78 sit-ups in two minutes and a 13-minute two-mile run.
  • Basic Rifle Marksmanship
    • Basic rifle marksmanship each competitor is given an M16A2 rifle, nine rounds to zero and 20 rounds to qualify. This event is a individual effort where the scored are tallied and totaled. It is an event were concentration, training and technique are irreplaceable on the path to success.
  • Weapon Disassembly and Assembly
    • Disassembly and Assembly is an individual event all members are required to be technically proficient. Starting 25m behind an M16A2 rifle the team must run to, CLEAR, DISASSEMBLE, REASSEMBLE, perform a proper FUNCTIONS CHECK and run back the 25m to the start. Mistakes in the process result in additional time added to individual times. The fastest total team time wins the event.
  • Obstacle Course
    • The Obstacle course is approximately a one mile foot race with vertical and horizontal obstacles. A few of the obstacles include climbing a 14 foot cargo net, the high crawl, monkey bars and the jumping over a pit. This event test the endurance, strength and intestinal fortitude of the competitors.
  • Patrolling Exam
    • Patrolling is an infantry-based skill modeled around a squad or a platoons ability to conduct operations. At the competition each team partakes in a written exam on the fundamentals, tactics and planning considerations of patrol missions.
  • Orienteering (Land Nav)
    • Orienteering incorporates terrain association, land navigation and a lot of running. Given a map and a list of grids, the team is split into three groups or three. Each group runs to a sector and attempts to find as many points on their map as possible and returning to the start point in the allotted 40 minute time frame. Each point has a numerical value the team with the highest total value after all penalties are assessed wins.
  • Ten Kilometer Road March
    • The 10-kilometer road march, is the final event of the three day competition. The team sets out with a 35 pound ruck sack on their backs and alternate between running and marching. The goal is to be the fastest team, the result is a gut check, testing every individual and every team in its own way.

The four-week DCLT program provides Cadets serve in a platoon leader or executive officer positions in IMT companies and work closely with Drill Sergeants and other cadre. Cadets experience leadership training with Initial Military Training (IMT) companies.

Positions lengths vary in duration depending on the host unit and location. Cadets an opportunity to apply leadership skills, interact with highly skilled and experienced Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) and drill sergeants, and improves common task skill proficiency in an Army training environment.

Cadets must attend a Staff Cadre Training Course (SCTC) prior to training in IMT units. This program is exclusively designed for MSIII Cadets after completion of LDAC.

Project Global Officer (Project GO) is a Department of Defense initiative aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise and intercultural communication skills of future military officers. Sponsored by the Defense Language and National Security Education Office and administered by the Institute of International Education, Project GO provides institutional grants to U.S institutions of higher education with large ROTC student enrollments, to include the Senior Military Colleges. In turn, these institutions provide language and culture training to ROTC students from across the nation, funding domestic and overseas ROTC language programs and scholarships.  Working in support of Army, Air Force and Navy ROTC Headquarters, Project GO facilitates collaborative efforts both among universities and ROTC leadership.

Since 2007, Project GO institutions have provided over 5,600 domestic and overseas summer scholarships to ROTC students for critical language study. Project GO has strengthened university infrastructure in the critical languages and created venues for communication amongst ROTC leadership and university personnel.

CTLT is a four-week leadership experience conducted at units in the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Europe. Students are placed in charge of a regular Army platoon of approximately 35 soldiers. The student's objective is to perform the leadership and management tasks necessary to train the platoon's soldiers and maintain its equipment.

While in CTLT, Cadets continue to receive a rate of pay and allowances equivalent to that received at Advanced Camp. Transportation to and from the unit is provided. In addition, Cadets stay in the Bachelor Officer Quarters and eat meals in the unit's dining facilities.

The experiences, insights and firsthand knowledge received will better prepare the cadet for his/her future as an officer. To attend CTLT a Cadet must:

  • Have successfully completed Advanced Camp training.
  • Be selected by the Professor of Military Science.

This is the best way to "check out" a branch before selecting the one to which you would like to be assigned in the fall of your senior year.

Being "Fit to Fight" is the key to success in Army ROTC. Cadets are regularly assessed on their state of physical readiness which is instrumental in being able to meet the rigors of training as well as maintaining personal health and well-being.

PT is conducted at South Dakota State University every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 0545 hours. Cadets at Augustana College and Dakota State University conduct PT on an individual basis. All Cadets take a monthly Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

The SDSU Army ROTC Color Guard and Drill Team provide ceremonial support to various campus and off-campus functions including sporting events, formal events and community events. Colors are presented at SDSU basketball and football games, community events, Army National Guard events, 4-H and college events. You can take pride in knowing that you are a practitioner of one of the most honorable military traditions.

If your group would like SDSU Army ROTC's color guard at your event, please call 605-688-6151.

Land Navigation

Mastering the art of finding your way in the wilderness armed with only a map, protractor, compass and intellect is a skill preserved in the Army ROTC program. Training begins in the classroom then after Cadets are confident in their abilities they go out with a buddy and later alone to conduct day and night land navigation. ROTC often uses the SDSU Oak Lake Field Station or one of the State Parks for land navigation.

Squad Tactical Exercises (STX Lanes)

Plan a mission; conduct a reconnaissance; lead a small band of Cadets to victory using tactical prowess and sheer cunning. These are just a few of the skills you will bring to bear when you lead a patrol on a simulated combat mission. The training is as real as it gets to close combat, and a true test of your newly acquired warrior skills. Missions include Squad Attack, Ambush, React to Contact and Knock out a Bunker.


Army ROTC conducts rappel training each fall and spring term at the tower located on campus. All students enrolled in a military science course receive in-class instruction and then are provided with several opportunities to get hands-on experience. Equipment is provided by the department and instruction by the cadre.

Marksmanship Training

Every soldier is a rifleman first! Marksman proficiency is the cornerstone of every warrior leader. You will receive hands-on training and partake in basic rifle marksmanship to further enhance your warrior skills.

CWST is used to measure a Cadet's swimming skills as well as their ability to face unique challenges not routinely encountered on or off campus. CWST consists of several events including but not limited to: swimming continuously for 10 minutes, treading water for five minutes, jumping from the high dive (three meters) while blindfolded with a weapon in hand, swimming 15 meters with weapon in uniform and jumping into the water and removing all gear while still submerged.

Drill Club

Drill Club is a club offered through Army ROTC. The Drill Club focuses on drill and ceremony, and members polish their skills as the Color Guard is selected from this group. The Color Guard is often called on to present Colors at sporting events, community meetings and campus events.

Cateau Rangers

Cateau Rangers is a club organized by Captain Dean Knox and interested Army ROTC Cadets in 1967. The Cadets in this club have an affinity for Ranger training and skills and dedicate extra time to hone their skills. The club meets monthly and often uses local training locations to expand their skill sets.

CAIT program includes training at Army Schools and special courses for Airborne, Air Assault, Basic Mountaineering, Mountain Planner, Sapper, Master Fitness, Jungle Operations and Cold Weather Operations Course, Cadet Field Training at USMA, Sandhurst Competition, SF Combat Diver Qualification Course.