From June 17 to June 24, a group of eight ROTC Cadets from across the United States, along with their cadre leader, Sgt. 1st Class Contreras-Orozco (Joint Forces Headquarters-NV), prepared for their CULP mission to Cabo Verde’s island, Sao Vincente, and the city of Mindelo.
Cape Verde Team 2 consists of Cadets Timothy Austin (Texas A & M University ‘16), Samuel Cope (Ohio University ‘17), Dylan Gregg (Norwich University ‘16,) Zachery Gouveia (Norwich University ‘16), Kylie Hanlon (Kings College ‘17), William Schaefer Leber III (Creighton University ‘16), Dalton Norton (Oklahoma State University ‘16), and Victoria Rizzuto (University of New Haven ‘16.) All of us were very excited to finally arrive at Cabo Verde after traveling for approximately 48 hours.
Even before arriving to Cabo Verde, the Cadets felt they had already gained so much out of the experience and are looking forward to everything else the mission has to offer. This includes working with Cabo Verde’s military by teaching English, experiencing the culture of Cabo Verde, and gaining more experience and knowledge they can utilize for their future careers as officers in the U.S. Army. Some highlights prior to their arrival at Cabo Verde were their visit to Philadelphia’s USO, watching the U.S.-Portugal World Cup match, bonding with Cape Verde Team 1 at the airport in Lisbon, Portugal, and their stay at Fort Knox.
The Cadets’ first day on the island was spent exploring the local area during a group run and preparing for teaching local basic training soldiers and enlisted soldiers. The reason they are teaching conversational English is because the host country asked for assistance so when they are on NATO missions they can understand and be better understood.
On the June 25 Cadets went on a hike up Monte Cara with Sgt. 1st Class Contreras-Orozco and instructor John Turnbull. Monte Cara is an extinct volcano that is 490 meters high. The hike helped build team cohesion and was a great PT with a beautiful view of the island.
Today, June 26 was the first day Cadets interacted with the military and began teaching classes. The Cadets taught three classes on the first day, one in the morning and two in the afternoon. Each class was conducted in a two-hour duration. Cadets enjoyed meeting the students and getting a glimpse of how the Cabo Verde military operates on a daily basis. Cadet Gregg describes his experience as, “a real eye opener to see a different military and seeing how they conducted their pass and review, Drill and Ceremony, and structure.”
Cadet Cope shared his experience stating, “I love teaching English, connecting with others, and building friendships with people across the world. It was great seeing how they don’t have much but they cherish what they have and are very enthusiastic about learning.”
This mission is the first active duty military experience for many of the Cadets. They have just dipped their toes in the water and are ready to jump in and experience Cabo Verde!