CLEMSON, South Carolina — Clemson University student Julie Klein of Potomac, Maryland, a U.S. Army
 Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet, attended a three-week culture, 
understanding and language proficiency course with Djiboutian Army cadets in Djibouti, Africa, from July 16 to Aug. 6.

Julie Klein

Julie Klein

Klein was chosen through an application process based on her merit, 
fitness and grades. She was one of 30 cadets selected from universities
 across the country. The course was held at the Djiboutian Military Academy in Arta, which is about an hour from Djibouti city.

During the course, U.S. and Djiboutian cadets dedicated approximately 72
 hours to language and cultural exchange, hiked eight miles in the Arta 
Mountains, completed a course on weapons operations, saw a demonstration of a French obstacle course and visited the French naval base. They also shared their best practices and learned about each others’ 
military traditions, troop leader procedures and attended a first aid class.

“The ultimate goal for them is to see what it is like in a deployed 
environment so when they do deploy as an officer they will know what to
 expect,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brittany Ingram, ROTC cadre.

added that the course provided the students a great opportunity to learn 
about the U.S. military’s mission in East Africa while building up a strong rapport with their Djiboutian counterparts.

About the experience, Klein said, “I really enjoyed my time in Djibouti with ROTC. It was an experience that was completely different from anything I have done before and it taught me more than a normal classroom environment would ever be able to offer.

“My favorite part of the trip was getting to meet so many different types of people… I learned something from every person I met, and to me that was the most valuable part. My time in Djibouti is three weeks that I will never forget in a place I hope to have the opportunity to return to some day.”

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa hosted the U.S. cadets, providing 
daily necessities during their stay in Djibouti, including living quarters,
 food and transportation. CJTF-HOA’s mission in Eastern Africa is to enable
 and strengthen Eastern African partners, shape regional security and
 stability and continue to forge relationships.