Culver Upper School’s Third Class Challenge provided new students with a “crucible event” to test both themselves and build the cohesiveness of their units.
The seven-station obstacle course was designed to mentally and physically test new students, Summer Commandant Col. Warren Foersch said. Having all the new students working and completing each obstacle together helps create a stronger, more cohesive unit overall, he added.
Both boys and girls ran the course, which covered over a mile. It snaked through the Bird Sanctuary to the practice fields behind Oliver Field and finished with a plunge in Lake Maxinkuckee. Five of the stations honored Culver’s Medal of Honor recipients. At those sites, the students listened to the citations read when the medals were presented.
The course started with the Hasty Stretcher Carry, where four people carry one person on a military stretcher through various hurdles. Prior to starting the challenge, the students learned about Sgt. Gordon Douglas Yntema ’63.
The second obstacle involved students working together to climb three eight-foot high walls. This station highlighted Medal of Honor recipient Lt. George Ham Cannon ’34.
The river crossing involved the students using one rope stretched across a creek to clear the water. The first students crossing the creek were then allowed to help the others. If anyone fell in the creek, they had to start over. The students heard the citation of Maj. Jay Zeamer Jr. ’36 prior to beginning the task.
The low crawl water obstacle involved the students crawling below a series of plastic pipes covering a small ditch. The Medal of Honor citation for Lt. j.g. Jonas Howard Ingram ’03 was read before each unit started.
Ensign Henry Clay Drexler ’17 was the Medal of Honor recipient detailed at the Buddy Carry station. Students were required to carry another classmate approximately 100 yards across an open field.
The sixth obstacle was the tire flip, which involved small teams of students working together to flip the heavy equipment tires a designated number of times across the practice fields.
The seventh task for each unit was to cross the finish line as a complete unit, including carrying the proper flags and guidons. To celebrate the completion of the challenge course, the units got to cool off in Lake Maxinkuckee.