CULP trip 2014 – Thailand – Cadet Forshey

For CULP 2014, I was deployed to the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy in Thailand from 24 May to 17 June.  My team of 13 cadets, along with our team leader, taught groups of Thai cadets from first years to four years.  All of the cadets had taken English for several years and needed a certain understanding of the language to get into the academy, but their conversational English skills were lacking because they rarely conversed in English outside of English class.   After classes we were able to play sports with the cadets and we ate meals with them.  We also had the opportunity to teach enlisted soldiers, who had the opportunity to become officers, some drill and ceremony, the way we do.

The enlisted soldiers and our team after a session of D and C.

The enlisted soldiers and our team after a session of D and C.

It was awesome to learn the differences in things such as facing movements and especially how they march at formal occasions.

One of the most exciting things I got to experience was doing their PT test with them.  Their run is a five kilometer run around their academy grounds which finishes in front of the statue of King Chulachomklao.  They run their test as units, and if someone in their unit does not finish in 27:00 minutes, the entire unit fails.  Oh, and did I mention they test is at 1500 (roughly 95ºF with no wind) while they are wearing their ‘ACU’ pants and combat boots? It was amazing to be a part of this experience. They all work together to push and encourage each other to complete this run.

We ate every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner, with our cadets from second battalion, under second company's barracks.

We ate every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner, with our cadets from second battalion, under second company’s barracks.

On weekends, we went on excursions with our Thai cadets.  The first weekend we went to Kanchanaburi, in the west of Thailand.  We went to an elephant park, Erawan waterfalls national park, the bridge over the River Kwai and the Tiger Temple.  The elephant park and the Tiger temple were awesome, because I had never been so close, or even touched animals so big.

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Erawan National park, we hiked to the seventh and final tier of the falls and explored.

The next weekend we went to Ayutthaya, which is the old capital of Thailand.  We went to the Bang Pa-In Royal Palace.  This palace is a ‘vacation’ palace of the King and Queen.  It was amazing to see how many images of the King and Queen were all over the cities and villages.  The peoples’ respect for their King and Queen was remarkable.  The following day we went to a market in an old temple square and finished the day by going to the ‘Monkey Temple’.   The monkey temple was a huge abandoned temple because the monkeys had essentially taken over.  The entire city had monkeys crawling all over it.

At the Monkey Temple with Thailand team 3 and our fellow Thai counterparts.

At the Monkey Temple with Thailand team 3 and our fellow Thai counterparts.

During this trip I learned how different other cultures were because I had never been outside of the United States and my perception of other cultures was close-minded.  I went into the experience with an open mind and I learned a lot about Thailand, not only the way the military operates, but also how different traditions are celebrated among the civilians as well.

CULP trip 2014 – Hungary – Cadet Yates

Cadet Adam Yates spent three weeks of his Summer in Hunary.  Since my Grandparents on my Dad’s side were from Hungary, I was really looking forward to seeing what Cadet Yates had to report from his trip.  Sounds like he had a good visit.

“You’re going to a place that describes what you always are… Hungary” said SFC Truman. That initiated my excitement for going out of the US for the first time. A team of 10 cadets and myself traveled to Hungary to complete our mission of building foreign relationships with the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) by teaching them the English language. Just as the HDF General Bozo expressed to us at a welcoming lunch; English is a powerful tool for the Hungarian military since they are a part of NATO and the official NATO language is English. Within the first few days of our trip we toured the entire capital city of Budapest and saw all its beautiful architecture and scenery.

Hungarian Parliament building

Hungarian Parliament building

We were lucky enough to tour the Hungarian parliament building. The King’s crown is housed in the top of the building and guarded by two sword yielding HDF personnel.

The Hungarian Equestrian show

The Hungarian Equestrian show

We attended a Hungarian Equestrian show where the horses are trained like your domestic dog. Horse riding is a proud Hungarian tradition since they used horses during battle. The country has many statues depicting soldiers on horseback.

Hungarian EOD

Hungarian EOD

We spent a few days with the Hungarian EOD unit to find out that they are quite busy. They receive an average of 6 calls per day from civilians who have found some kind of EOD at their homes or in the country side. Mines, mortars, and grenades are ubiquitous in Hungary from being placed during WWII.

anti-aircraft weapon on one of the Hungarian warships

anti-aircraft weapon on one of the Hungarian warships

 

We also spent some time with the waterborne Hungarian forces.  We checked out an anti-aircraft weapon on one of the Hungarian warships which is also a mine sweeper. This weapons system has four 20 mm machine guns which all have 60 round drums. All 240 rounds fire off in an amazing 5 seconds. After checking out the ship we took a cruise on it down the Danube River.

Hungarian Orphanage

Hungarian Orphanage

One of our last days in country we visited an orphanage where children with chronic disabilities lived. We finger painted and played soccer with the children. We also helped out the establishment by moving hay bales. Just to put a smile on these guys and girls face was enough to make their day and my own.

Going into a different culture taught me to respect what others value in life. It was amazing to realize how much we take for granted in America and how the little things in life mean the most to others. I learned to appreciate and thank God for what I have at home. CULP was an eye opening experience that I’ll never forget.

A good report from Cadet Yates.

CULP trip 2014 – Romania – Cadet Mooney

It’s that time of the Summer when I start to get the trip reports from the CULP missions.  First to submit her report was Cadet Sally Mooney.  She will be entering her Junior year in the GKB and is studying at SUNY Potsdam and playing hockey there.  Here is her report from Romania.

I was a part of TM 10 Romania for CULP 2014. We had twelve cadets staying in Bucharest, Romania where we worked with the Jandarmeria. This is the special military police force that specializes in riot control and anti-terrorism. Our mission was to help them better understand english, in exchange for Jandarm training.

Mooney 1

During the week, we spent the day at their base. In the mornings we would do training, and in the afternoon we gave presentations on American culture and language. Some training events include: riot formations, breaching a building, combatives, rappelling, and rock climbing. One day, we went to the range and shot the MP5 and Sig Sauer P226. That was the team’s favorite day because none of us had shot these weapons before.

The Jandarms showing me a formation

The Jandarms showing me a formation

Many of the Jandarms were experts in MMA, and one was even the national champion for boxing. They taught us a lot of combatives and it was very beneficial and fulfilling for us. We also visited an orphanage while we were there. We went to the grocery store and bought a ton of food and toys to donate to the children of the orphanage. When we got there, the children were very excited and did not hesitate to dive into the toys we got them.

On the weekends, we traveled to do some sightseeing, and expand our cultural perspectives. The first weekend we went to Brasov where we saw Castle Peles, Castle Bran (Dracula’s Castle), a fortress, and a medieval city.

 

Tm 10 cadets outside of Castle Bran (Dracula’s Castle)

Tm 10 cadets outside of Castle Bran (Dracula’s Castle)

One of the Jandarms lived near there and we had the chance to see where he grew up. This was the most culturally shocking moment for me, because the Jandarm’s home was a very simple houses made of mud and set in a village. It was a self sufficient home. It was something that you see pictures of, but never actually witness. It was important for the team to get the chance to see that not every house is modernized and it was amazing to see. The next weekend we went to Mamaia on the Black Sea. We spent our time playing volleyball and relaxing on the beach. The weekends were a lot of fun because they offered a chance to fully see the country, as well as help us build relationships with our Romanian counterparts.

My Romanian counterpart (Cioby) and me wearing the riot control equipment

My Romanian counterpart (Cioby) and me wearing the riot control equipment

During my time there, I made friends with Romanians and fellow cadets. It was an experience of a lifetime, and I am very happy that I was able to go on this trip. I learned a lot about their culture and saw firsthand how much it is different from the lifestyle I have been fortunate to have.

As usual, the trip was life changing and opened the Cadet’s eyes to how other cultures live.  Thanks for bringing back a good story and lots of pictures Cadet Mooney.

 

Board dates 2014-2015 scholarship boards

Here they are, the dates for this fall/winter’s board dates. If you are applying for a four year high school Army ROTC scholarship that will start in the fall of 2015 these are the dates you should pay attention to. If you are a high school student finishing up your junior year and going into senior year in the fall, these are your dates.

1st High School Selection Board Deadline for Documents 3-Oct-14
1st High School Board-Ready List PMS Deadline 17-Oct-14
1st High School Selection Board 20-Oct-14
2nd High School Selection Board Deadline for Documents 24-Dec-14
2nd High School Board-Ready List PMS Deadline 2-Jan-15
2nd High School Selection Board 5-Jan-15
4-Year High School Application Deadline for SY 15-16 10-Jan-15
Final (3rd) HS Selection Board Deadline for Docs — Missing Items 28-Feb-15
3rd High School Board-Ready List PMS Deadline 6-Mar-15
Final (3rd) High School Selection Board  9-Mar-15

So, what does all this mean. If you have a strong file you should be shooting to have your file complete by 3 October and reviewed by the first board.

Look at SAT/ACT dates. If you don’t do so well the first time you take those tests your second shot is usually some time shortly after the October board, so you should be shooting for the second board and submitting improved scores if your file isn’t strong. Here’s where you can get some help with those tests, use it.

If you wait until the second or third board your chances are diminished because there will obviously be less allocations available after each board.

As you go through the process make sure you read about all the components (this blog is a good source of information, if I do say so myself) and stay in touch with at least one of the recruiting officers at one of the schools on your list. Notice I said recruiting Officer, and not recruiter…there is a difference.

Bears and Saints 2014

The Golden Knight Battalion is made up of Cadets from all four of the schools in the North Country (ClarksonSt LawrenceSUNY Potsdam, and SUNY Canton). Each of the schools adds something special to the mix. Although they all bring unique qualities to the Battalion they all become part of the Battalion quickly. The mix was a good one again this year.  Again this year the graduates from SUNY Potsdam were all prior service or drilling Guard/Reserve members.  Of special note, Cadet Dudley had been one of the local recruiters prior to making the jump to the Green to Gold program. We also want to thank COL (retired) Bill Murphy and Colonel (retired) E. Michael Polao who were our guest speakers at SUNY Potsdam and St Lawrence.

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Lieutenant Timothy Dudley-

Lieutenant Dudley is commissioned into the infantry.  He received a bachelor of science degree in business administration.    He will attend the infantry officer basic course at Fort Benning Georgia and will serve at Fort Benning with the third brigade, third infantry division when he completes his training Lieutenant Dudley was also recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate signifying his high standing in the class and national order of merit list.  He entered the program through the Green to Gold non scholarship option.

Lieutenant Rebecca Hyatt-

Lieutenant Hyatt was commissioned into the Quartermaster Corps.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.  She will attend the quartermaster officer basic course at Fort Lee Virginia.  Her first duty will be in Korea.  She entered the program through the  Green to Gold Active Duty Option.

Lieutenant Taylor Phillips-

Lieutenant Phillips was commissioned into the military intelligence branch with detail to the infantry.  He received Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and middle eastern studies.  He will attend the infantry officer basic course in Fort Benning Georgia.   

DSC07781

Lieutenant Taylor Macci-

Lieutenant Macci was commissioned into the infantry.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in math and economics.  He will attend the infantry officer basic course at Fort Benning Georgia.  His first duty assignment will be at Fort Lewis Washington with the second infantry division.  He was a 4 year scholarship winner

GKB commissionees 2014

This year’s commissioning ceremony at Clarkson University was on 9 May.  We commissioned 8 Cadets this year.  That may seem like a low number, but we had already commissioned one Lieutenant in the fall, and 5 in December, so these eight put us one short of our mission with Bears and Saints still to pin.

Thanks to our guest speaker Air Force Colonel Timothy LaBarge

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And the 10th Mountain Division Band

10th Mountain Division Band

And, as always, Dr. Collins for his kind words.

Here are the new Lieutenants

Lieutenant Matthew Brousseau –

Lieutenant Brousseau is commissioned into the Corps of Engineers.  He will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.  He will attend the engineer officer basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  His first duty assignment will be in the Vermont National Guard as a member of the one thirty first engineer company.

Lieutenant Matthew Flynn –

Lieutenant Flynn has been granted an educational delay to attend law school.  He will attend the University Of New Hampshire Law School.  Upon completion of law school he is expected to serve in the judge advocate general corps as an army lawyer.

Lieutenant Flynn was also recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate signifying his high standing in the class and national order of merit list.

Lieutenant Tanner Jones –

Lieutenant Jones is commissioned into the Military Intelligence branch.  He will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in global supply chain management.  He will attend the military intelligence officer basic course at fort Huachuca Arizona.  His first duty assignment will be in the Army Reserves with the four seventy eighth engineer battalion at Fort Thomas Kentucky.

Lieutenant Michael Matroniano –

Lieutenant Matroniano is commissioned into the corps of engineers.  He will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and management.  He will attend the Engineer Officer basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  His first duty assignment will be in the Army Reserves with the four seventy ninth engineer battalion out of Fort Drum, New York.

Lieutenant Taylor Mextorf –

Lieutenant Mextorf is commissioned into the Military Intelligence branch with a detail to the Infantry.  He will receive Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and literature.  He will attend the Infantry officer basic course at Fort Benning, Georgia.  His first duty assignment will be with first of the ninety first cavalry, one seventy third Brigade Combat Team, in Grafenwoehr Germany.

Lieutenant Andrew Nelden –

Lieutenant Nelden is commissioned into the Ordnance Corps.  He will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.  He will attend the ordnance officer basic course at Fort Lee, Virginia.  His first duty assignment will be at Fort Richardson, Alaska with the fourth brigade, Twenty Fifth Infantry.

Lieutenant Nelden was also recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

Lieutenant Kevin O’Connor –

Lieutenant O’Connor is commissioned into the transportation corps.  He will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and management.  He will attend the engineer officer basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  His first duty assignment will be at Fort Riley, Kansas with the First Infantry Division.

Lieutenant Eric O’Donnell –

Lieutenant O’Donnell is commissioned into the Corps of Engineers.  He will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.  He will attend the engineer officer basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  His first duty assignment will be at Fort Drum, New York with the Tenth Mountain Division.

New Tattoo policy – Don’t do anything you will regret

Thinking about getting a tattoo??  For all of you that are considering enlisting or pursuing a commission you need to understand the tattoo policy before you do.    The other day the Cadre of the Golden Knight Battalion reviewed the new Army standards to make sure we knew who might have issues with the new policy.  The document that covers appearance is Army Regulation 670-1  Here is what we took away from our review.

Above the neck or below the wrist

If you have ink above the neck or below the wrist you are not eligible to join.  I’m pretty sure this one isn’t a big change.  So, that celtic knot on the back of the neck or the flower behind the ear is/was a bad idea.  And definitely don’t get a Mike Tyson, if you want to serve.

Below the elbow/knee

No more than 4 visible tattoos total on the arms or legs below the elbow/knee.  Each tattoo can be no larger than the soldier’s hand.  So, that snake all the way down your calf, from knee to ankle, will not fly.

Sleeve tattoos

Sleeve tattoos below the elbow or knee are not authorized.  You are allowed one visible (below the elbow/knee) band tattoo.  The Army defines this as a tattoo that is no more than two inches in width.  That counts as one of the four authorized visible tattoos.

Extremist, Sexist, Racist tattoos are prohibited.  Soldiers are also prohibited from “willful mutilation of the body or any body parts in any manner”.  They are talking about you with the 1 inch guages in your ears, or the split tongue.  You are also not allowed to wear bandages or jewelry to cover up unauthorized tattoos.

What are the takeaways

After seeing the new changes I had two big takeaway pertaining to myself and future Army ROTC Cadets.  The first is that I will need to add the question of tattoos to my list of qualifying conditions when talking to a prospect.  The second is that I will advise anyone who asks to think long and hard about getting ink.  Over the next couple years the Army will be changing as we transition back into a “peacetime” Army.  As the force gets smaller there will be less incentive to wave the rules and standards.  This is not an organization you join to flaunt your first amendment rights.  So, get that tiny heart with your girlfriend’s initials on your butt cheek, but the full body Samoan masterpiece you’ve been saving up for may have to wait until you retire.

 

 

 

 

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