AN ACADEMY OF HONOR
By Cadet Michael Hickman
The Army ROTC Cultural Understanding & Language Proficiency program for Korea (Team 2) had the opportunity to visit the Korean Military Academy June 11 in Seoul, South Korea. The campus was very huge and beautiful. It’s academy holds more than a thousand cadets and is comparable to the size of the United States’ West Point Military Academy. The tour started off with a brief introduction about it’s history and a small tour hosted by Maj. Seo Dong-ha. Following the tour, our team met with a few of the academy’s cadets who were able to speak English fluently. This interaction not only helped our understanding, but was immediately impressive, as not all of us had had the same level of proficiency with our Korean speaking abilities.
Our team was then split into halves to take part in some of the cadets’ classes. The classes brought interaction to the cadets to allow perspectives from two different countries with different lifestyles. Each member of our team was then paired up with a cadet or two from the academy and were shown around the campus. We started off by eating lunch together followed by a tour provided by the individual cadets.
June 11 fell on a Wednesday, the days when the cadets are able to take part in their personal activities. These activities vary from playing sports such as rugby, soccer, and tennis, to regular academic activities such as English, guitar, and other classes. After taking part in these activities, we all had the opportunity to meet with the academy’s Cadet Commander, Brig. Gen. Ahn Jun Seok. Although he was on a tight schedule, we were very fortunate to meet with him. Within the time that he was able to spend with us, he gave priceless and humbling advice towards becoming successful future leaders.
The advice follows: 1) Always lead from the front, 2) always be disciplined, 3) always communicate with people working with and for you, 4) leadership depends on the situation, 5) always care for your subordinates and soldiers, 6) passion and love for your soldiers will lead to success, and lastly, 7) always do what you’re good at. These words of wisdom needs to stick to every Cadet as well as to every person who wants to be successful in life, and to hear those words in person made the experience more cherishing.
At the end of the visit, our team gave their final goodbyes to our partnered cadets with gifts exchanges which varied from rank patches, belts, medals and other various gifts. In meeting our Korean counterpart cadets, we were very humbled and inspired to maintain the same discipline and respect that each one of them showed to us and to each other. We were very happy to have met the cadets at the KMA and will strive to keep contact in hopes of a possibility to cross paths during our future careers as officers.