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Cadets Learn About Leadership In D.C. Army Meeting

Nov. 7, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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ROTC with Gen. Sam statue
During their trip to the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., the Bearkat Battalion took a moment to honor their alma mater by stopping by the statue of Gen. Sam Houston while touring the Capitol. —All photos submited

Nine students from the SHSU Army ROTC Bearkat Battalion recently embarked on a professional journey, learning about and discussing the current state and future of the Army from the top generals, including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, during the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The cadets joined Lt. Col. Robert McCormick and Capt. Jonathan Platt, chair and assistant chair of the military science department, respectively, for the “phenomenal experience,” during which they were able to interact with the secretary of the army, the Army chief of staff, participate in leader development and Institute for Land Warfare forums, visit with defense contractors who showed off their latest technology and services, and have a little fun in the nation’s capital, according to McCormick.

Participants included 2nd Lt. Porsche Fluitt and cadets Stephan Nalley, Sandra Servin, Keith Golightly, Juan Macias, Hailey Morgan, Justin Valentine, Madison Martinez and Eric Segalini.
The AUSA meeting is the Army’s largest professional development forum bringing together thousands from around the world.

The students also had the opportunity to visit some of the capital sites, including Arlington National Cemetery, monuments/memorials, Smithsonian Museums, Holocaust Memorial Museum, International Spy Museum, Pentagon and the Capitol.

“We actually went into Congress while they were voting, so our cadets got to see our congressional folks in action,” McCormick said. “In the rotunda, each state’s authorized two statues. For Texas, it was (Gen.) Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, so we all got around the Sam Houston statue and put up the Dr. Gibson ‘trademarked claw’ that she always puts up when she takes a picture.”

The cadets, who volunteered to participate in the trip, described the experience as an “eye opener” that, in many ways, reaffirmed their patriotism.

SHSU Army ROTC students with the Army Chief of Staff
Business and pleasure: SHSU's Army ROTC was able to meet the Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno (above) and visit the White House (below). Cadets said the trip was both memorable and reaffirming of the job they have signed on to do.
ROTC students in front of the White House

“The AUSA conference trip was amazing and a great learning opportunity. I learned that creating cohesion among units is very important for the morale and effectiveness of the units,” Segalini said. “Also, listening to all of the generals and the colonels speak helped the entire class see that generals are humans, as well. Most of the time, soldiers and cadets will freak out once meeting a general or a sergeant major. Touring around D.C. from the Smithsonians to the memorials was great to for all of us because we were able to see exactly what we fight for.”

For Morgan, visiting the Pentagon was an experience that she would never forget.

“While it's not much of a tourist attraction, it was a very beneficial place to visit and tour as future Army officers,” she said. “We were briefed on some very interesting facts about the Pentagon, such as that it has over 23,000 employees, the whole Capitol building could fit in the courtyard without touching any of the sides, and there are over 17 miles of hallways in the Pentagon.

“We also had the privilege of seeing the 9/11 Memorial inside the Pentagon built right where American Airlines Flight 77 hit. Unfortunately, there were 184 lives lost at that time, but because of some construction, that side of the building was mainly shut down; if this had not been the case there would have been over 10,000 lives lost, almost five times more than the lives lost in New York,” Morgan continued. “For us to see the home of the Department of Defense and learn so much about it was a beneficial thing.”



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