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    Romanian, U.S. cadets get ‘Savage’ for a night

    Romanian, U.S. cadets get ‘Savage’ for a night

    Photo By Capt. Scott Walters | Eleven U.S. cadets and 20 Romanian Naval Academy students take a group photo following...... read more read more

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, ROMANIA

    06.22.2017

    Courtesy Story

    3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

    By 1st Lt. Samuel Jolley
    3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 4th Infantry Division

    MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania – As the sun set on Mihail Kogalniceanu, 11 U.S. cadets and 20 Romanian Naval Academy students excitedly stuffed the last of their supplies into their backpacks and prepared for the first Savage Eagle Leader Course.

    The group of multinational cadets knew what they were up against, but nothing could have prepared them for the tasks that awaited them.

    The event tested the physical endurance, mental agility and teamwork of all participants. The cadets faced multiple challenges to include land-mine reaction, sandbag combination puzzles and memory challenges.

    “This was by no means an easy training exercise. Over a 13-hour period, the cadets marched over 12 miles, flipped large tires over half a mile, transported multiple 30-pound water jugs, and endured rigorous hours of physical exercises – all while stressing their cognitive skills to the max,” said 2nd Lt. Gunbold Ligden, an event planner for 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “They accomplished all these tasks while carrying 20 pounds of weight in their backpacks.”

    The event took a significant amount of time to plan for the 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Regt., which has been in Romania since February serving as U.S. Army Europe’s regionally allocated land force for Operation Atlantic Resolve. The mission to deter aggression has seen the “Fighting Eagle” Battalion work hand in hand with their Romanian Defense Force counterparts, but Savage Eagle took the cross-training to a more youthful level.

    “We spent about two months in various working groups generating event ideas. We aimed to create unique opportunities to place cadets in charge of their peers, developing their leadership by keeping them out of their comfort zone throughout the night,” said Ligden.

    We are really proud of how the event turned out. Overall, we believe the cadets walked away from Savage Eagle with a sense of pride of what they accomplished together as a multinational team. They will take this experience forward as junior officers in both the U.S. Army and Romanian Navy,” he said.

    Cadet Zemas Andargachew, from the University of Alabama, took time to reflect on Savage Eagle the morning after the event.

    “As Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets, we have Ranger Challenge, which is pretty intense. But nothing we had done before comes close to how difficult this event was,” said Andargachew.

    The event took a toll on the participants, with cadets slogging through water on a cool day while carrying heavy equipment with little sleep, he said.

    “I know that we all grew. It’s one thing to be a strong leader when everything is going right. But when it’s cold, raining and everyone is exhausted, you really see your leadership at its core,” said Andargachew.

    This marked the first multinational training exercise between the Romanian Naval Academy Students and U.S. cadets. The U.S. cadets are spending time with the 3/4 ABCT as part of the U.S. Army’s Cadet Troop Leader Training program.

    “The American cadets have been here with us for about a week,” said Irimie Vargas, a Naval Academy student. “We usually stayed separate in our own cultural groups. But after tonight, I have 11 new friends! It is surprising how quickly relationships grow when you work together. I will remember not only how cold and tired I was, but how my friends and I were able to push each other through the night, for years to come.”

    Students at the Mircea cel Batran Naval Academy were not used to the physical demand in the training.

    “We are mostly engineers and scientists”, said Marian Sava, a Romanian Naval cadet. “When we were flipping the tire down that long road, I just remember thinking to myself, ‘This is impossible, when is this going to end?’ But listening to the music in the background, singing, and everyone keeping each other motivated – before I knew it, we flipped that tire half a mile.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.22.2017
    Date Posted: 06.22.2017 08:12
    Story ID: 238744
    Location: MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, RO 

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