FT BENNING, GA – On August 19, the Institute presented diplomas to students representing Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panamá, and the U.S. at a ceremony held at the Columbus Ironworks.
The students were part of one of four courses that ran concurrently and culminated at the combined graduation. The courses were the Small Unit Leadership Course, the Medical Assistance Course, the Interagency Crisis Action Planning Course, and the Cadet Leadership Development Course.
Command Sergeant Major Jason Schmidt, commandant of the Non Commissioned Leadership Center of Excellence and the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, was the guest speaker for the event.
Schmidt talked about the importance of the relationships developed during studies at WHINSEC. He also talked about the importance of education and how it contributes towards the resolution of common goals in the region.
“Overall, what you learned through these courses, will prepare you for the known and the unknown. The lessons learned from past events will provide a glimpse of how the multilateral, intergovernmental, and multinational operations can coexist. Furthermore be successful through learned skills and how to operate amongst each other. In this complex world, having and maintaining multilateral and multinational partnerships is how we will fight against those denying our shared goals of a free and democratic society. It is also how we will help each other in time of emergencies, such as natural disasters, and humanitarian assistance,” commented Schmidt.
This iteration of courses saw a number of firsts. An enlisted representative of the United States Coast Guard attended the Small Unit Leadership Course, Petty Officer Third Class Marty Alves Cruz, from Coast Guard Base San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
When asked about SULC, Alves commented, “The course was extremely interesting. The way students exchange information, from their services, their armies, the way the class is conducted is the best. During the course, we had folks from Mexico, Chile Colombia,” said Alves
When asked if he would recommend this course to fellow Coast Guard members, he said, “Absolutely, if you have the chance to come to WHINSEC , take it! It’s a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and meet people from other countries. You never know where you going to end up working, this is a great opportunity."
The other first was the student delegation from Mexico for the Medical Assistance Course was composed of 100% females. They joined students from the Colombian Police and Army. Top Honor of the course went to Mexican Armed Forces, Medical Corps Lt. Jenny Fuentes Zaragosa.
She had this to say about MEDAC, “It is a course that has taught me a lot. There were many very intense weeks. I have more than 20 years dedicated to medicine, and I have taken many different medical-related courses. This course has been unique. Not only because of theoretical knowledge, but also the physical requirements. It takes a lot of physical and mental strength to be able to carry out the activities. At the beginning of the course I was scared; I have to say it. When they explained the day-to-day course particularities to us, I thought that I was not going to make it, so I told the instructors. As for the interaction with the other classmates, it was excellent. We all come from different services, from different countries. I admire the Colombian colleagues. During the course they shared their experiences and the work they do every day as part of their duties, which is incredible, and really impressive. They helped us with physical techniques; how to use the proper technique with minimal physical exertion."
When asked about her recommendation for those who come to MEDAC in the future, Fuentes added, “Come prepared, both physically and mentally.”
Students now return to their home countries, where they will continue to share the knowledge acquired at WHINSEC.