University Cadets’ military skills tested in Mexico

April 28, 2017

Exercise CHIMITLALLI 2017 was an international military skills competition which took place at the Heroico Colegio Militar in Mexico.  14 different nations competed in the exercise, including a team made of University Officer Cadets from across the UK. The team of eleven Officer Cadets included two from the North West Officers’ Training Regiment (NW OTR), who were chosen following a gruelling selection process at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The first week of the exercise consisted of arduous military training, giving the Officer Cadets time to acclimatise.  The majority of the team members found that the greatest struggle was the altitude, with Mexico City more than 2400m above sea level.  The heat compounded the challenge and all of the Officer Cadets were drained from the physical exertion. 

The competition started on the seventh day of the exercise with the UK team setting off first, having been drawn in the pole position during the opening ceremony.  The competition comprised a number of military stands sited along an arduous 32km route (it doesn’t sound much, but when operating at over 7,000ft above sea level, it challenges all).  The stands included a leadership challenge, a burden carry, an obstacle course, shooting, grenade throwing, swimming and a casualty evacuation from an air contaminated building.  Interspersed between daytime activities were a number of night time navigation patrols which had to be completed through humid and challenging terrain.  The final event of the exercise was a best effort 5km march which saw a group of exhausted, but ecstatic, Officer Cadets finally cross the finish line to the Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony being played in the background.

Once the competition had finished, the remainder of the stay in Mexico focused on experiencing and understanding Mexican culture and meeting with teams from other nations.  Overall, the exercise was an incredible experience for the Officer Cadets who took part and a great opportunity to gain new friends from foreign Armed Forces.