Army ROTC Cadets Visit Horn of Africa
A contingent of U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets met with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa personnel to learn about its operations in East Africa during a visit at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, July 6-8, 2013.
The visit kicks off a four-nation tour that will give the cadets, assigned with U.S. Army Africa, opportunities to discuss policies with key U.S. and foreign military leaders, observe civilian and military operations, and chances to help build partnerships throughout the region. After Djibouti, the cadets will visit Zambia, Uganda and Lesotho.
"We are learning about different cultures and types of involvement the U.S. military has here in Africa," said U.S. Army Cadet Maria Micca from Bloomsburg University, Pa. "It really opens my eyes to see what the U.S. does to help so many people in so many ways."
Among the highlights of the cadets' visit in Djibouti included the opportunity to observe CFTF-HOA Joint Operations Center's watch floor procedures and mission brief preparations and to learn about the Camp Lemonnier's flight line operations. In addition, the cadets met and discussed best practices with French Marines officers and participated in training exercises with U.S. Army soldiers from 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
"It's amazing to see U.S. military, civilian, and transcontinental personnel from across various countries in Africa and abroad working together in a foreign environment," said Micca.
The visit to CJTF-HOA is not only educational for the cadets, but it helps prepare them for commissioning after the 2014-2015 school year.
"I am interested in working with military intelligence and during this time I've been allowed to shadow different officers in the intelligence field," said U.S. Army Cadet Jacqueline Kessler from the University of California, Berkley. "I made a lot of great connections and got insight of what military intelligence entails. I was able to talk to female officers as well to get their perspective of what is like to be a woman in the military and balancing family life."
U.S. Army Cadet Zachary Eich, from St. John's University, Minn., said this was his first time outside the U.S. and was amazed with Djibouti's landscape and people and the military-to- military engagements that happen on a daily basis at CJTF-HOA.
"There is a 'wow' moment when you first get here," said Eich. "A picture can say a thousand words, but when you see it in person it's surreal, different and better."