By CPT Greg Benjamin, Assistant Professor of Military Science, Eastern Washington UniversityOctober 23, 2018
Cheney, Wash -- Christian Goldbach is one of Eastern Washington University (EWU) Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps' (ROTC) top Cadets and he experienced a summer much differently from his fellow college students. He participated in the Army's Cultural Understanding & Leadership Program (CULP), a three-week training experience where Cadets travel across the globe and immerse themselves in foreign cultures and militaries. These overseas immersions help educate future leaders in ways the classroom cannot, developing cultural awareness and foreign language proficiency skills. They learn more about how others around the world view the United States and, in the process, learn more about themselves.
During 2018, U.S. Army Cadet Command sent 959 Cadets to 26 different countries. Those 959 Cadets experienced up to three different venues during immersion, including host nation military-to-military exchange, humanitarian service, and education on the social, cultural, and historical aspects of the country. CULP develops Cadets into culturally astute future leaders, strengthens strategic relationships, and supports theater security cooperation objectives.
Cadet Goldbach had the opportunity to immerse himself into the Peruvian military culture. He spent three weeks in Lima, the country's capital, where he experienced both the Peruvian culture and Peruvian military as a member of Peru's premier military academy, Escuela Militar de Chorrillos. Cadet Goldbach stated, "Escuela Militar de Chorrillos is Peru's West Point." Immediately upon arrival he realized that, "As a Second Lieutenant I need to be more conscious that other nations may not have the same resources and luxuries that we have in the United States. In terms of running water, food, ammunition, and equipment, we take a lot for granted."
During his time there he learned that the Peruvian military places a strong emphasis on discipline, cleanliness, and rigorous training. He stated, "The Peruvian military makes their beds every morning and demonstrate proper table manners. They also value their special training such as cold water and amphibious training, airborne jumping, and above all, their Ranger School-style Commando School."
Cadet Goldbach had the privilege to visit the Peruvian Commando School, where he realized "the influence of the United States Army on the Peruvian Army was immediately notable. Their blocks of instruction came directly from our doctrine." One of Cadet Goldbach's most enjoyable experiences occurred when he participated in Peruvian Commando water and amphibious training. He described the event as "extremely fun and somewhat scary, but fueled my desire to attend our Army's Ranger School as an Infantry Officer."
Summarizing his experience, Cadet Goldbach stated "CULP was an amazing opportunity and I encourage every Cadet to apply. In a short amount of time I learned a staggering amount about myself, life in a foreign military, life in a foreign culture, executing quality training with minimal resources, and the importance of building and maintaining long term relationships with our allies across the globe."
THE EWU ROTC program, over the course of four years, takes students with little or no military background and develops them into the Army's leaders of tomorrow.
The EWU ROTC has been training Cadets since 1952 and welcomed a total of 104 Cadets to its campus in Cheney, WA this September.