Written by Brianna Saucier
Senior Matthew Macklenar traveled to South Korea over the summer as part of the Army ROTC Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT). While there, he met the Army Chief of Staff.
CTLT is a selective three to four week training program exclusive to Army ROTC cadets. The purpose is to put cadets in leadership positions at active duty units. While there, they shadow the person in charge to prepare them for when they are commissioned.
Macklenar had just graduated from Advanced Camp—a 31-day training event at Fort Knox that assesses the cadet’s ability to lead—before flying 18 hours to Camp Humphrey in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.
“Throughout my time at CTLT I was able to experience the feel of the real Army and learn and see things that I would never have the opportunity without it,” said Macklenar.
Upon arriving at the post, Macklenar was immediately thrown into leadership positions in training and planning. He was tasked with creating workout plans for the infantry platoon, organizing a 12-mile ruck march, writing memorandums and recommendations for other cadets to attain promotions, and keeping track of weapons.
During his time there, Macklenar got to ride in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which is like a tank, and drive it in a simulation trainer. In their final days at the base Macklenar’s infantry unit went to the live fire gunnery range for the Bradleys and were able to see them in action.
According to Macklenar, one of the highlights of the program was getting to see the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. His platoon spent a day at the site where they conducted meetings between the two countries and even crossed the border into North Korea.
During Macklenar’s stay at Camp Humphrey, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley arrived at the training facilities and met with the cadets. Macklenar was able to shadow the four star general and brief him on a virtual world simulation.
“It was really intimidating, he came in with two other generals who were like his entourage, along with full-blown colonels,” Macklenar said. “He rolls in and there was this whole etiquette to follow… and he just walked up to us and shook our hands.”
At the end of their encounter, the former commanding general gave Macklenar his personal challenge coin that is embellished with his title. This is one of the top coins and collector memorabilia one can get due to the high position of the general.
“It was an awesome event”, Macklenar said, “and I’m very thankful I was in the right place at the right time.”
Brianna Saucier is a sophomore English major. When she is not being carded by Gamestop for looking fifteen, Brianna enjoys crime novels, soccer, taking photos, and rollercoasters.