UD ROTC - Mountain Man Memorial March

Apr 27, 2016 | S.Ortman

University of Dubuque ROTC cadets and officers display the Christopher Hasbrouck Espirit de Corps Award, which they received after completing the Mountain Man Memorial March on April 23 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Eighteen cadets and two officers from University of Dubuque’s ROTC program participated in the ninth annual Mountain Man Memorial March held April 23 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

UD ROTC members marched the 26.2 mile military heavy march while wearing Army combat trousers and boots and carrying a 35-pound rucksack. All 20 UD ROTC members finished the grueling march, and they were awarded with the Christopher Hasbrouck Espirit de Corps Award.

Captain Clayton Degenhardt, military science professor at UD, said the UD ROTC program was the most represented program at the event that had over 900 participants.

Cadets Bernard Osae, a junior business major from Hurst, Texas, and Austin George, a junior criminal justice major from Clinton, Iowa, finished first among the UD ROTC group with a time of 7 hours and 28 minutes. It was both inspirational and overwhelming for the cadets to participate in the march.

“The most difficult part was battling through the pain,” George said. He added that many of the cadets had blisters on their feet from completing the march in combat boots.

The Mountain Man Memorial March honors University of Tennessee alumnus 1st Lt. Frank Walkup, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2007. The event has expanded and now provides scholarships to Gold Star Family members whose loved ones were killed in service to the nation.

Each of the four UD ROTC teams marched in honor of a Gold Star Family.

“I felt very honored. We were able to meet with families who we were doing the ruck for,” George said.

The average of each team member was taken for the overall rankings. Here is how UD ROTC placed:

10th - Jessie Davis (junior, criminal justice, Graham, WA), Cole Hamilton (senior, aviation management, Richland Center, WI), Oliver Newton (senior, chemistry, Geneseo, IL), Bailey Ovenshire (sophomore, human health science, Palo, IA), and Kirsten Velsvaag (senior, human health science, Wiesbaden, Germany)

11th  - Stephen Adjei (junior, aviation management, Worcester, MA), Jacob Conkright (senior, marketing, Fayetteville, NC) Kegan Jacobson (senior, criminal justice, Kewanee, IL), Bernard Osae (junior, business, Hurst, TX), and Anthony Reed (junior, aviation management, Dubuque, Iowa).

15th - Captain Clayton Degenhardt (military science professor), Austin George (junior, criminal justice, Clinton, IA), John Heun (senior, criminal justice, Erie, IL), Jake Johnston (sophomore, human health science, Marengo, IL), and Adam Wright (sophomore, criminal justice, Lena, IL).

19th – SFC Wesley Sturdivant (military science instructor), Paul Beard (senior, aviation management, Dubuque, IA), Michel Kassehin (senior, aviation management, Bettendorf, IA), Koltin Sulzner (first-year, flight operations, DeWitt, IA) and Kaitlyn Velsvaag (senior, criminal justice, Wiesbaden, Germany).