Slovakia

During Summer 2008, Cadet Courtney Stumph, MS III cadet was awarded the chance to participate in the Cultural Immersion Internship Program in Bratislava, Slovakia. There were 13 males and one other female cadet participating in the program. The purpose of the Internship was to train with the Slovak cadets from their Military Academy of Defense (similar to our West Point). They learned a little of the language--enough to understand what was going on, but really their formations, tactics and even hand signals were very similar to our own. Cadet Stumph continues: "The training consisted of mostly STX lanes, although that's not what they called them. If they used their hands to describe what they were going to do next, we knew what formation to be in, when to be still, and when to fire in the direction of the enemy. The parts I found difficult were when they did something differently and could not translate into English why they were doing it that way.

A typical day was waking up at 0530, formation at 0600, march to breakfast...that's right, no PT. After breakfast, we marched about two or three miles to the training site that was already designated and began the lanes. For lunch, they marched us back to the place where we went back to the barracks to clean weapons. They only take 30 minutes to clean weapons, unlike us taking hours! Lights out at 2200. The Slovak cadets were allowed to order pizza but it took 3 hours to get there. All the meals were served with bread and hot tea with honey or some sweetener. Lunch and dinner always came with soup. The last day with them was a competition they have every year against all the grades. We were asked to participate with a 5 person team in this 32 km march with events throughout: obstacle course, log carry, shooting (SA-58), first aid, map reading, humvee push, land mine carry, rafting, and grenade throwing. Four guys and me completed the competition and were in first place until the 8th event. We won first on shooting, first aid, and the humvee push.

The rest of the trip consisted of visiting military museums and memorials, and immersing ourselves in the culture. If you would like to hear more details, feel free to ask me."

Courtney Stumph
cas4u@mtsu.edu

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