The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

JROTC Raiders have risen to prominence

GRC’s female raiders were national champs this year. The boys team won nationals two years ago.

GRC’s JROTC Raiders are a dynasty with three national championships and countless local wins.

The female team dominated the 2023 national competition and came in 1st overall in the nation. The male team also did very well as they came in 1st for the 5k run after winning overall nationals in 2021.

Training for Raider competitions is a year-round commitment.

Master Sergeant Larry Lee works with his cadets to prepare them for the hardships and challenges that come with these competitions. 

The Raider competitions are a competitive physical event.

“In normal terms what a lot of people will understand is something like a tough mudder, you know, you think of something like an obstacle course,” explains Lee.

These competitions are designed to test cadets both physically and mentally. One of the tasks that achieves that is the one-rope bridge. This challenge involves a rope tied between two trees, roughly 60 feet apart, over a creek.

Cadets are tasked with making it over the creek without getting wet. However, the first person and last person will always get wet as they have to run across the creek.

This is just one of the many challenges the cadets endure. They also face other obstacle courses, engage in a lengthy two-mile run, and carry heavy equipment.

“Our trainings that lead up to each one of our competitions is very specific to that event,” Lee says. “We have the one-rope bridge, so we’re timing them on how fast they can cross the bridge, we have a 120-pound deadlift — how many of those can they do. They also have a sled pool where we have 90-pound weights on them. They have to drag it kind of like a relay race.”

GRC’s Raiders consistently place first in nearly every local competition they enter, including events in MSU, EKU, Fort Knox and other schools.

The competitions are physically taxing and ask a lot out of someone.

“It builds a lot of character, I would say,” says Colby Hatton. “It builds you up, but it can also take you down. It’s not for everybody and that’s okay, but if you’re for it and you’re here to get it done, it can build you up.”

A Raider competition usually consists of 10 people and is run by one student chosen as commander. If someone has commanded a Raider competition previously, they typically will not command another one. There are two exceptions, and that is the battalion commander and executive officer, who command a second competition every year. 

The program’s chain of command is broken down just like it is in the military. “You have a battalion, below a battalion is a company,” explains MSG Lee. “Within a company you have several platoons, so there are multiple companies in a battalion, multiple platoons in a company, et cetera.”

JROTC is not just meant to introduce a military-like experience to students, but to serve the community and prepare them for their future.

“The bottom line is, whatever the student, the cadet wants to do after high school, that’s what we’re here for,” says Lee. “We’re here to help them get to that point, and it’s not necessarily the military. We don’t push the military, we don’t push college, we don’t push trade school, but we push whatever the kids, whatever the students want to do.”

The program has been on fire in recent years and looks to continue their success. Through the competitions and the training the students undergo, GRC’s JROTC program is preparing the next generation to change the world. 

GRC’s boys team won an individual national event this year after winning the overall title in 2021.
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About the Contributor
Owen Rainey
Owen Rainey, Multimedia Staff
My name is Owen Rainey, and I am a senior member of the Smoke Signals staff. I play soccer for GRC and am involved in Beta Club and National Honor Society. I love being active and staying in shape, but I don’t necessarily like lifting weights. I’m more of a calisthenics kind of guy. I believe pineapple on pizza should be classified as a federal crime. I’m an only child and, but somehow the dog is my parent’s favorite. My proudest accomplishment is being the “voice” of a child with Cerebral Palsy, Lane Hartzel. My greatest claim to fame is having my shirt in a commercial. There are a lot of different things that make me who I am, and this is just a small part of that. Also, shoutout to Ryan Jackson.

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