Wheaton College
Cadets practice acquiring a proper site picture on an M16 rifle.

Weapons training

Cadets practice acquiring a proper site picture on an M16 rifle.

“ I always wanted a career in the military, so when I learned about ROTC, I knew it was for me. After learning that I could receive a scholarship to do something I absolutely loved, I was hooked. I knew that this was what God wanted for me. As an officer, I will someday be responsible for the lives of other men and women who will trust me to lead them into combat. I feel confident in the knowledge and training I’m receiving in ROTC. I look forward to the opportunity to protect and serve my country as an Army officer. ”

Cadet Matt Boersema, Olivet Nazarene University ‘08


The Ranger Challenge is an opportunity for schools to "compete" with each other completing military tasks. In addition to a written examination where Cadets test their Army knowledge, there are physical fitness drills and field exercises. Battalions leave a Ranger Challenge with stronger bonds and sharper skills.


The National Society of Pershing Rifles gives Army ROTC Cadets the opportunity to develop to the highest degree possible. Cadets can take part in precision trick rifle drill teams that provide them with the outstanding traits of leadership, military bearing and discipline.

Ranger Challenge

Every year, teams of nine and five dedicated cadets compete in the Ranger Challenge competition in Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin. The competition lasts three days and involves a number of different events including an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), weapon’s assembly/disassembly, litter carry, land navigation, Humvee pull, one rope bridge, and a gruesome 10k forced road march. In addition, these teams must road march (combination of walking and running) from one event to the next with 30-40 pounds of gear, usually amounting to roughly17k. It is an exhausting weekend, but the battalion trains its cadets well and consistently places 1st or 2nd out of 21 schools in the Brigade. It’s a great way to get in shape, learn a lot about the Army, and become part of a team.  

Service Trips

The Rolling Thunder Battalion is committed to developing first-rate Army officers. Helping to foster the value of servant leadership in cadets, the RTB voluntarily takes an annual service trip during Christmas or Spring break. Previous years, the battalion has traveled to Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas. Cadets spend their breaks working with local organizations like ‘Habitat for Humanity’ and ‘Area Office of the Aging.’ Since these trips are totally cadet-run, they require collective involvement, with every cadet participating in the planning, coordination, and execution. Thus, cadets not only practice selfless service, they also gain valuable leadership experience. Battalion service trips provide a great way for cadets to get to know one another outside of uniform while building a team and creating lasting friendships.

Rolling Thunder Color Guard

The Color Guard offers cadets a unique opportunity to actively represent the Rolling Thunder Battalion at public events. Honoring the Colors is a special way of expressing patriotism and honoring those Americans who have gone before us. The Color Guard is very active on campus and in the community, attending events such as football games, basketball games, speeches, and ceremonies.  The Color Guard recently had the honor of presenting the colors at an event attended by Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House. Perhaps more rewarding than a high profile event, however, is the annual Veterans Day ceremony performed on the campuses of Wheaton College and Olivet Nazarene University. Many veterans attend these ceremonies and help cadets better understand the great legacy they follow in the United Statemilitary.