ROTC Cadet Major Audrey Yu of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan was one of Filipino delegates to the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program in Guam in 2017.
“It’s a great privilege to represent the Philippines during the ROTC-CULP in Guam,USA” Yu said. “Among hundreds of cadets from the Philippine Army, Air Force, and Navy, vying for this opportunity, I was selected to be one of the 22 outstanding ROTC cadets who were sent for training abroad from November 13 to 19.”
For Yu, an Industrial Engineering student at Xavier Ateneo, the most striking experience in the CULP program was the Field Training Exercise (FTX), a series of rigid simulations in which actual combat tools and forces are used in the training of cadets in basic, intermediate, and advanced-level warfare skills.
“I could clearly identify the distinction between the Field Training Exercise executed abroad and here in our country, and it amazed me because, despite the differences, the Filipino cadets were able to adjust and survive in that kind of environment,” she shared.
The group paid a courtesy call to Philippine Consul General to Guam, Marciano De Borja, who tackled the importance of the mandatory ROTC in our economy and security.
Yu said that as cadets, “the backbone of Reserve Officers' Training Corps,” their functions include reinstituting the importance of the concept of military service.
“ROTC cadets are trained to become fully equipped reservists so that in times of need, they will be able to respond immediately and effectively. As an advance cadet officer, my responsibilities are to impart my knowledge and to inspire other college students to pursue service for the country through military education,” she said.
Besides the strategic training and planning sessions, the CULP program was aimed at nurturing the cultural awareness and leadership skills of the participants, as part of strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Military.
“Apart from the opportunity given to me by the AFP, I am thankful for [having this sense of] responsibility to contribute to the modernization of our Armed Forces,” Yu said.
She met with Xavier Ateneo president Fr Roberto C Yap SJ in January and shared her experiences from the CULP program. In the same meeting, Yap also met the AFP-ROTC Cadet of Year C/Col Elvin John M Baal ICL (who is also the Air Force Reserve Command Cadet of the Year). Yap congratulated both Baal and Yu for their respective achievements as well as the university's NSTP unit and the PAF-ROTC.
This is the third time that a Xavier Atenean was chosen to be part of the Philippine delegation for the CULP program. Jan Rogie G Macandili and Danielle Ayson participated in the said program in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Yu has some advice to those who are interested to join the ROTC as their National Training Service Program (NSTP) in college.
“Never be afraid to try something new. Explore every opportunity you will encounter because that is part of growing. ROTC brings more than just military education, it instills discipline, resilience, nationalism, and most importantly, it sparks the passion of the youth for service.” PR
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