CULP Team 1- France Experience
This summer I was selected to be a part of the CULP team sent to France. Our mission was to teach French soldiers English as well as the tactics, techniques, and organization of the U.S. military. After arriving at Fort Knox, we completed SRP, which is the process all soldiers go through when they deploy overseas. It included medical screening, finance briefings, and security briefings. After three days at Fort Knox, we left for Paris, France.
When we arrived in Paris, we were given two days to tour the city. We saw the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, the Arc de Triumphe, the Seine River, and Sacré-Cœur. Our site seeing would not be complete without some early morning PT, which included a morning run to the Eiffel Tower.
We then traveled to our next location where we would conduct our training with the French military, Lille, France, which is about twenty kilometers from the Belgium border. We had three classes of French soldiers, one for each week. It was an incredible experience to teach them as well as learn from them. We gave presentation on the U.S. military as well as listening to presentations French soldiers gave on their military. We also talked about movies, sports, stereotypes about French and Americans, and current events. We all grew close bonds with each of our classes, and it was amazing to see how much we have in common and how much we can learn from each other. We also did PT with the French as well as complete a fourteen kilometer road march.
During the weekends we had opportunities to see parts of France and Belgium. Our first weekend we went to Normandy to see the beaches where the Allies landed during WWII to liberate Europe. We saw Omaha and Utah Beach, the American cemetery at Omaha, St. Mere Eligse (where the 82nd Airborne Division dropped), as well as Pointe Du Hoc (where the Rangers landed).
The next weekend we traveled to Belgium to visit the NATO headquarters. It was an absolutely amazing experience to see the level of cooperation and diversity among NATO countries. We also got to explore Brussels and Bruges.
During the week we were able to see WWI battlefields, the largest French cemetery, an old V2 rocket site, and a series of tunnels used by soldiers during WWI.
Going to France for CULP is the best experience I have ever had. I made long lasting friends, experienced a new culture, and had the honor representing the U.S. Army and Clemson ROTC to our allies overseas.
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