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ROTC cadets gain experience as global citizens

McDaniel College Green Terror ROTC cadet Katharine Armstrong with students during summer training.
September 11, 2012

Green Terror ROTC cadets Katharine Armstrong, Jasmine McCormick and James Young didn’t join the Army to see the world, but it sure is turning out that way. Their summer training and cultural experiences in Senegal, Tunisia and Korea broadened their global perspectives and sharpened their leadership skills – and now those experiences are enriching student life on campus.

“They are living the McDaniel mission in terms of global engagement, leadership, service, experiential learning,” said LTC Paul Jackson, instructor and chair of McDaniel’s Military Science department. “That’s what we set out to be – a relevant contributor to the enrichment of the campus environment.”

More than 40 cadets from the Green Terror Battalion, which also includes cadets from Mount St. Mary’s University and Hood College, traveled this summer across the country and around the world for training and cultural immersion. They taught English, completed courses in air assault, leadership, airborne training, security and more.

Juniors Armstrong and McCormick, Psychology majors from Wilmington, Del., and Antioch, Calif., respectively, were selected from a national pool of applicants for ROTC’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program, which immerses cadets in foreign cultures to broaden their understanding and to help them see how others view the United States.

“I realized how much we take for granted in America,” Armstrong said of her three weeks in Senegal teaching English to Senegalese soldiers and helping to build an orphanage. “They have so much less than we do, yet they really are happy people. What they do have is enough.”

McCormick, who lives in the Arabic house on campus and is currently in her third semester of Arabic, discovered how similar people are as she learned about the Tunisian culture from soldiers there whom she found to be quite proficient in English. 

“We think about cultural barriers and language barriers, but really we are all the same,” said McCormick, adding with a wide grin that she also rappelled from a helicopter at Air Assault school this summer and learned how to jump out of a perfectly good airplane last summer at Airborne school.

The mission for Young, a senior Environmental Policy major from Fairfax Station, Va., was to exercise leadership and organizational skills as the executive officer of safety and maintenance operations at Camp Humphreys in Pygeongtaek, South Korea. His sponsor stepped back and let him be the XO, and then even left him alone on the job for four days.

“I didn’t make any huge mistakes. In fact I did really well so it was ok,” he said. “Overall I saw firsthand how the Army functions – everything flows so well – and I couldn’t believe how much experience I got in a short time. I signed for $22 million of gear.”