Cadets and midshipmen team up to conquer French nautical course
June 2, 2010
FRENCH FOREGIN LEGION TRAINING COMMAND, Djibouti - U.S. Navy midshipmen and U.S. Army cadets joined together to complete the French Foreign Legion's Nautical Obstacle Course as part of a teambuilding exercise in Djibouti, May 27, 2010.
The midshipmen and cadets are touring the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa's area of operation during a summer program that trains future U.S. military leaders.
The course consists of nine unique water obstacles where teamwork and leadership skills are required to complete the course.
"Each obstacle presents its own challenges," said French Foreign Legion Captain Damien Cabal, officer in charge at the French Foreign Legion Training Command. "To pass the course you need to use each other and organization. You will need good leadership to complete this course."
Petty Officer 1st Class Katrina Nietsh said that the largest challenge was the course's setting.
"Endurance was definitely the most difficult part," said Nietsh. "You're swimming the entire time. You really have to start relying on each other and pulling together as a team or you won't be able to make it to the end."
Despite the challenge, U.S. Army 2nd Class Cadet Mark Conard said it was a great experience was like nothing he's ever done before.
"It was an awesome experience," said Conard. "We have obstacle courses at West Point but none of them are in the water or like this one. It was great getting to experience another country's military training, especially one as respected as the French Foreign Legion."
The highlight of the course for most of the cadets and midshipmen was the 65 foot zip line.
"I've done a bunch of zip lines in my life but this one was definitely the highest and longest," said Conard. "It was a great adrenalin rush going into the water. It was an overall great experience."
Cadets later discovered that this was a historic day for the course and the French Foreign Legion.
"Because we do not have women in the French Foreign Legion, this is the first time a woman has ever completed this course," said Cabal. "I was very impressed with how they did and hopefully we'll have more women and more opportunities to work the U.S. in the future."