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AF Academy cadets compete for 1st time in reserve officers’ competition in Estonia

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Ethan Haley prepares his sling during the rifle marksmanship portion of the international military competition. United States service members participated in the 2019 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers Military Competition Commission in Tallinn, Estonia, Aug 4-10, 2019. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Nina Ramon /
205th Press Camp Headquarters)

By Ray Bowden, Sept. 10, 2019

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. — Two cadets and an officer at the Air Force Academy helped Team USA win several medals at a military challenge in Estonia last month.

Cadets Ethan Haley and Thomas Walker, and Lt. Col. Rob Marshall, competed in the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers Military Competition in Tallin, Estonia, Aug. 4-9. Team USA earned two gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

“It’s a highly-competitive international gathering of NATO and Partnership for Peace allies,” said Marshall, the deputy chief of research at the Academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development.

U.S. military cadets can compete as they’re on reserve status while attending a service academy.

“It tests real warrior skills officers need on the battlefield: physical fitness, teamwork, land navigation, marksmanship, combat First-aid and the Law of Armed Conflict,” Marshall said.

A team of three Air Force officers — including Marshall — and an Army sergeant, won the gold medal in the competition’s only academic category, the Law of Armed Conflict. The team also received the bronze medal in the Tactical Combat Casualty Care category.

Haley, Walker and an Army corporal, earned the bronze medal in the Novice Team category.

“Placing second overall for novice is very difficult,” Marshall said. “The novice category often represents the younger, most physically fit and fastest service members.”

This is the first year cadets from the Air Force Academy have competed in the challenge, which began in 1957.

Haley said the challenge gave him a deeper appreciation for international relationships.

“I no longer have to imagine the effects of allied partnerships and relations we hold with other countries,” he said. “I‘ve experienced them first-hand with members of NATO and Partnership for Peace allies.”

Partnership for Peace promotes cooperation between various Euro-Atlantic countries and NATO.

Visit https://www.dvidshub.net/video/701404/lt-col-rob-marshall-cior-2019-interview to see more coverage of the event.