ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture

U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets watch as a Djiboutian Army weapons instructor teaches them how to safely field strip an AK-47 at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. After the cadets learned the fundamentals, they competed with each other to see who could field strip the weapon quickest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets watch as a Djiboutian Army weapons instructor teaches them how to safely field strip an AK-47 at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. After the cadets learned the fundamentals, they competed with each other to see who could field strip the weapon quickest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)
A Djiboutian Army weapons instructor replaces the cover on an AK-47, teaching U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets how to safely disassemble and reassemble the rifle at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. More than 30 cadets took turns field-stripping and reassembling the rifle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture A Djiboutian Army weapons instructor replaces the cover on an AK-47, teaching U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets how to safely disassemble and reassemble the rifle at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. More than 30 cadets took turns field-stripping and reassembling the rifle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)
A group of U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets talks during a break at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture A group of U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets talks during a break at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)
Nick Lange, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corp cadet from Clemson University, throws a football to a Djiboutian Army weapons instructor during a break at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture Nick Lange, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corp cadet from Clemson University, throws a football to a Djiboutian Army weapons instructor during a break at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)
Jackson Guenther, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Mississippi State University, receives instruction from a Djiboutian Army weapons instructor at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. More than 30 cadets took turns field-stripping and reassembling the rifle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture Jackson Guenther, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Mississippi State University, receives instruction from a Djiboutian Army weapons instructor at the Djiboutian Army Academy in Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. More than 30 cadets took turns field-stripping and reassembling the rifle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)
Katherine Wilson, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Seton Hall University, talks to a Djiboutian Army cadet during a language exchange at the Djiboutian Military Academy at Arta, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture Katherine Wilson, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Seton Hall University, talks to a Djiboutian Army cadet during a language exchange at the Djiboutian Military Academy at Arta, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)
Michael Moser, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Seattle University, reviews vocabulary words learned during a language exchange program at the Djiboutian Military Academy at Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released) ROTC cadets experience Djiboutian military culture Michael Moser, a U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Seattle University, reviews vocabulary words learned during a language exchange program at the Djiboutian Military Academy at Arta, Djibouti, July 25, 2016. The cadets are spending three weeks with the Djiboutian Army in a culture exchange program, where they are learning each other’s language and methods of military operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton/Released)

More than 30 U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets are attending a three-week culture, understanding and language proficiency (CULP) course in Arta, Djibouti, July 16-Aug. 6.

 

The training, which includes ruck marches, AK-47 weapons training, language classes, an obstacle course and more, is geared toward giving the ROTC cadets and Djiboutian Army cadets the opportunity to break down communication and cultural barriers.

 

“It’s a CULP mission that is conducted out of Fort Knox, Kentucky,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brittany Ingram, ROTC cadre. “All of the cadets are chosen from their applications and chosen based on merit, fitness and grades to come into the CULP program.”

 

The cadets, who come from colleges all over the U.S., meet with their Djiboutian counterparts at the Djiboutian Military Academy, which lies in the Arta Mountains about an hour from Djibouti City. While there, the U.S. cadets teach Djiboutians what they’ve learned about the U.S. military, including topics like customs and courtesies and troop leading procedures. Djiboutian cadets then respond in kind, teaching them their own military traditions and practices.

 

“I hope to get out of this trip a familiarization of a country that was foreign to me,” said Fatima Habboub, an ROTC cadet from Wake Forest University who originally hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. “I’ve never been to East Africa before. It’s an interesting challenge to get used to and see for what’s in store for our futures, for some of us that [will] be deployed, whether [on] active-duty or in the reserve.”

 

Early on in the training, some cadets initially struggled with the intense heat, but that didn’t stop them from heading outdoors to participate in AK-47 field-stripping activities. The cadets also made a brief visit to the French Navy base on July 25 for a meal and an introduction to American coalition allies in Djibouti.

 

“Working with other cadets, as a group we have more a respect for them. They’re incredibly competent,” said Rebecca Segal, an Amherst College ROTC cadet originally from Brooklyne, Mass. “They’re a much smaller army, but we were all really impressed with what we saw. I think this is one of the best ROTC training (courses) that Army ROTC offers us.”

 

Comprising 273 host programs spread out over 1,100 partnership and affiliate schools across the country, U.S. Army ROTC is the largest commissioning source in the U.S. military. 

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