Tuesday November 7, 2017

ROTC Students Engage Globally

Nine University of Dayton U.S. Army ROTC student cadets spent three weeks abroad this summer to learn how to effectively communicate and see how the military is engaged across the globe.

The cadets participated in the Army’s Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP), which provide opportunities for understanding cultures and customs of militaries and civilians worldwide. More than 900 ROTC cadets apply each year.

UD cadets traveled to Peru, Guatemala, Madagascar, Poland, Romania and Thailand, among other nations.

“We have a presence in a lot of places around the world and a lot of what we do is building partnerships and relationships with a lot of these countries,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Rosenberg, professor and chair of the department of military science, who leads the ROTC program. “So understanding how to work with others and also how to work effectively in different cultures is absolutely critical.”

Ian Blair, a senior operations and supply chain major from Morton, Illinois, traveled to Guatemala. He worked with their military, helping train them and providing them with supplies. He was surprised to see their basic trainees were training with sticks rather than real weapons, and Toyota trucks with benches in the back instead of Humvees.

“It’s quite an eye-opening experience, it broadens them and it gets them to think about different things,” Rosenberg said. “I think a lot of the cadets think differently when they come back and and approach their academics slightly differently.”

Cody Brem, a junior political science major from Germantown, Ohio, went to Peru, where he experienced much tougher training than here.

“Their cadet training is a lot harder, mentally it’s not as bad but physically it was actually tougher,” Brem said. “They’re constantly out in the field training. They wake up at 4:30 every morning for formation.

“I would easily 110 percent do it again.”

Junior mechanical engineering technology major Jake Rayer from Dexter, Michigan, went to Madagascar, where he saw their active duty and staff operations.

“We were with high ranking officers, a few captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and we shared different aspects of our culture with them,” Rayer said. “We also did field training with their recamp peacekeeping battalion and spent a few nights in the mountains doing commando training, qualifying on rifles.”

All of the missions had civilian training, too. When they weren’t training, cadets visited local villages, played with kids, helped paint a school and helped put on a carnival.

“It was a reality check, to see how blessed we are,” Blair said. “They have some real quality people down there. The only difference between them and us are the resources and the money we have.”

- Clare Gallagher ’18

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