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ROTC holds Iron Irish contest

Amanda Gray | Thursday, April 8, 2010

Notre Dame’s Army ROTC Iron Irish competition tested more than physical strength Wednesday.

The second year of the annual competition placed the four army platoons against each other, racing across campus to complete tasks, Cadet Second Lieutenant and senior Scott Vitter said.

Platoon B1 won after performing well through several of the events, Vitter said.
“We did very well on the swimming portion,” he said. “Overall, we came out on top.”
The competition is the culmination of a semester-long scored competition between the platoons, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel and senior Tom Capretta said.

“The main reason we run the Iron Irish Race is to build platoon cohesion through competition.  Cohesion is important to the success of any unit in the military,” Capretta said. “As cadets, we try to improve ourselves and each other, and building a cohesive team is an important part of accomplishing that goal,” Capretta said. “The competition also affords leadership opportunities to our upperclassmen, which is important preparation for us as we look to become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.”

The Iron Irish competition included five events. The platoons competed in a timed swim, rope climb, ruck run, simulated rifle competition and a “mystery event,” which was a paintball tournament on White Fields between the platoons that was postponed due to a thunderstorm warning.

“The weather was terrible, but it was a lot of fun,” Vitter said. “The storms added another dimension to the competition, making it more difficult, but people stepped up and worked.”
He said event planners hope to have the paintball tournament in future years.

“At the end of the day, all of the tasks are meant to be completed by everyone,” Vitter said. “There’s more to get out of the competition than who has the fastest time.”

Vitter said before the competition he was hopeful his platoon would perform well as a unit.
“I hope we show the camaraderie and group mentality that we’ve developed over this semester,” Vitter said.

Cadet Corporal and sophomore Trevor Waliszewski, also a member of platoon B1, was also hopeful for a win.

“A win would increase the solidarity of our platoon and establish as the clear favorites for all battalion competitions next year,” Waliszewski said.

Waliszewski said the competition helped his platoon think together.

“The Iron Irish is an event designed to motivate us to work harder during Physical Training sessions throughout the year,” he said. “As we will be completing all of our challenges as a platoon, the event encourages teamwork and makes us look out for one another.”

Waliszewski said the event helps prepare for real-world combat experience.

“The Army teaches us a Warrior Ethos including the statement, ‘I will never leave a fallen comrade,’ and Iron Irish allows us to put that into effect as we complete all the challenges as a team. It’s a competitive environment where we can learn lessons that will make us better officers in a real-world combat environment,” he said.

Vitter said he attributes his platoon’s win to the group mentality.

“Our platoon has come a long way since last semester in terms of teamwork and cohesion,” Vitter said. “That was the biggest part of today. We may not be the biggest or strongest platoon out there but we worked together and that’s what the competition was about.”