U.K. Military cadets train for combat in cross-cultural exchange program

September 2 2008

Practical instruction paired with hands-on military training exercises taught a group of British military cadets that the fundamental rules of combat remain the same across continents.

The 10 young men, members of the Bristol University Officer Training Corps, spent a week in Terre Haute working with the International Tactical Officers Training Association (ITOTA). The cadets learned about all aspects of warfare including weapons handling, first aid skills and vehicle assaults.

"It has been good to get hands-on training in addition to classroom time," said Clem Barber, a cadet from Chester, England. "What we're learning here we wouldn't have learned for a few more years back home."

Jason Winkle, assistant professor of physical education at Indiana State University and president of the ITOTA, provided classroom instruction for the cadets at ISU.

"Warriors develop warriors. You will have people's lives in your hands," Winkle told the group during a lesson on leadership in high stress situations. "You guys are the ones that are going to be in these positions and I want you to start thinking about these things. How are you going to earn the respect of your men?"

Clad in fatigues with patches of the Union Jack sewn on the sleeves, the cadets took notes on military-green pads of paper. They wrote down words like purpose, direction and motivation: qualities that they will one day be expected to instill in others as officers in the British Army.

The cadets will soon begin officer training in their home country. During his time in the U.S., Giles Hursey learned many practical skills that he will take with him on his quest to become a military officer. A key lesson has been to put the needs of others first.

"We have a phrase in the British Army, 'You're first in line for the bad stuff and last in line for the good stuff,'" said Hursey, a native of Devon, England. "I've really seen that here."

When they weren't in the classroom, the cadets were out in the field working on tactical training exercises throughout Terre Haute. They said while there was more hand-to-hand combat in the American military, the foundations remained the same.

"A lot of it is very similar," said Alex Pilditch, a cadet from Malvern, England. "It's all based on the same principles."

In addition to ITOTA staff, the training featured instruction from members of the Navy SEAL team, U.S. Marine Corps and local law enforcement officers. The cadets said they were impressed with area facilities, including the ISU campus.

"The facilities here are really geared toward students," Pilditch said. "It's been excellent."

While they remained focused during the intense training exercises, the cadets did get a chance to experience the American social scene and interacted with some ISU students. They stayed near campus at the Hilton Garden Inn, turning hotel accommodations in to a home-base for their training.

"Camp Hilton as we like to call it," Hursey said with a laugh.

This was the first year for the cross-cultural exchange program and ITOTA CEO Kevin Barrett would like to see the partnership continue for years to come.

"It's been a great experience for both groups," Barrett said. "It's all part of our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences globally."

More information on the International Tactical Officers Training Association is available online at http://www.itota.net.

Writer: Emily Taylor, assistant director of media relations, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or etaylor16@indstate.edu

Photo and cutline: Military cadets from the United Kingdom listen and take notes during a presentation on coping with high stress levels during combat. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/361323117_CvNmn-D.jpg

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Story Highlights

Military cadets from the United Kingdom spent a week in Terre Haute working with the International Tactical Officers Training Association. In addition to hands-on field work, the comprehensive program included classroom instruction at Indiana State University.

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