News: Getting Exposure to the Real Army
Story by Spc. Megan Burnham
By Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - For a four-week summer training course, two cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., traveled down here to conduct hands-on training with the 189th and 193rd Military Police Companies to see how things work in the "real Army."
"I wanted to be in an MP unit that was actually doing a real world mission," said Senior Cadet Kate Bertanzetti. "I wanted to do something that was actually contributing to the war on terror."
This type of required training is part of Cadet Troop Leader Training where cadets gain hands-on experience by selecting a post and branch, become attached to a certain unit and job shadow a sponsor to gain experience of being a platoon leader and all that the job entails.
"This is my first exposure to the real Army," said Junior Cadet Omar Shaikh. "You can't really compare a school environment to the real Army."
Shaikh and Bertanzetti were two cadets that were given the rare opportunity to conduct their on-the-job training here in Guantanamo Bay; this experience is only offered to four cadets a year.
"I am really glad I was able to come here," commented Shaikh. "I'm really honored to be a part of this."
Bertanzetti was attached to the 189th MP Company and job shadowed Army 1st Lt. Charles Richardson, 2nd Platoon, while Shaikh was with the 193rd MP Company and followed Army 1st Lt. Kyle Dufore, 1st PL. Bertanzetti has already chosen to branch MP once she is commissioned but Shaikh is still undecided between Engineering and MP.
Both cadets arrived on island May 31 and have spent their time either working in the camps, doing administration work, or leading and conducting training exercises. They are pretty much learning how to be a PL. Every cadet is given a list of tasks they are supposed to accomplish before their CTLT training is complete.
"We're supposed to do an officer evaluation report support form, an non-commissioned officer evaluation report on the platoon sergeant, lead unit physical training and platoon training," said Shaikh. "The rest [of the tasks] are at the company commander's discretion."
Bertanzetti recently left the island, after completing all required tasks, to continue with her other summer training requirements. She'll be going to Washington, D.C., to work with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the National Security Division.
"I learned a lot while I was here," said Bertanzetti. "Just watching the leaders in action has been good. I got to see what I like, what I don't like and how I want to run, hopefully, my platoon when I graduate."
Shaikh will also be leaving the base soon and traveling to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for a four-week internship in engineering. Next summer he is going to be training the younger cadets during their field training and possibly attend airborne school.
Two other fortunate West Point cadets will be coming to Naval Base Station Guantanamo Bay in the near future to conduct their CTLT training as well.
"This is a good experience for the young cadets," said Dufore. "We're giving them the tools to succeed but it depends on the cadet on what they do with it."