Spanning 60 continuous hours with no programmed sleep, the contest includes foot marches (with a 60 pound ruck sack), an obstacle course, grenades, rappelling, machine/rifle/handgun marksmanship, weapons assembly, and night land navigation.
On one of the selected teams was Brett Latsha '08, who completed ROTC and played on the Thunder football team while at Wheaton. When Brett and his partner arrived at Fort Benning, they had a cheering section: nine of Brett’s Wheaton football teammates came from eight different states to attend the competition.
"Our whole group of former Wheaton football players followed him throughout the competition cheering for him, encouraging him, and running alongside Brett and his partner," said Thunder teammate Ben Kuenzle '09.
"We would yell lines from Coach Swider like, 'It just doesn’t matter!' 'No Regrets,' 'You can sleep when you’re dead,' and ‘Here we go now men,’ as the competition dragged on.”
According to Ben, other former teammates in attendance included Dan Price '04, Garrett Granberg '05, Jordan Kemper '06, '07, Geoff Rowson '08, Kirk Sundberg '08, Andy Studebaker '08, Shane Woodward '09, Kyle Bradley '09, and Dan Shear '10.
In all, six consecutive years of Wheaton football players were in attendance to root for Brett and his partner. "We wore team shirts with the logo HE>I (He is greater than I) based off of John 3:30, 'He must increase, I must decrease,'" Ben said."The shirts were donated for the competition by a Christian clothing company on the North Shore of Hawaii (www.hegreaterthani.com). And instead of wearing a watch like every other competitor, Brett wore a blue band around his wrist that said 'Wheaton Football No Regrets,' the team motto."
Brett and his partner, who are stationed out of Hawaii, competed tirelessly for the 60-hour event and finished 17th overall. "Brett fed off our energy and encouragement, and even as 19 other teams dropped out, he pressed on to complete his mission. It was a beautiful picture of perseverance, encouragement, and brotherhood, and of what one determined man can accomplish when his friends rally around him in support. It was a special weekend for the Wheaton family to come together and not only support our troops, but to support one of our own as he serves our country."