Cultivating Culture: Fishers teen to travel to Indonesia to study military in new nation
By Anna Skinner
At only 19, Fishers’ Patrick Lee is receiving worldly experience through the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program. The Georgia Military College cadet will join approximately 1,000 other U.S. cadets in various missions around the globe. Lee’s mission will take him to Indonesia for a month in July to learn about the nation’s culture and military programs.
“Basically, we spend a month exposed to foreign culture and learn more about how others around the world perceive the U.S.,” Lee said. “It develops our culture and develops our English proficiency skills. We work with the host nation’s military and also do humanitarian service. We are educated on the social and culture aspects of the country.”
Lee said he’s always been interested in the military, and he chose to attend GMC after receiving a scholarship. He won’t choose a specific branch of service until next year but said he is interested in infantry. Originally from California, he moved to Fishers last summer when his father took a job in the community. He began school at GMC in August 2016.
Although cadets couldn’t choose a specific country for CULP, they could choose a region they desired to visit. CULP sends cadets to 40 countries. Lee said he chose the East Asian region because of his Korean ancestry. He visited Korea once in fifth grade.
“I’m very excited to go to Indonesia,” Lee said. “I think it’s a great opportunity. I think it offers me perspective by exposing me to the different lifestyle stuff between the U.S. and Indonesia.”
Lee opted to attend a military college instead of enlisting right away because he wants to be a military officer.
“You can become an officer after enlisting, but going to ROTC school specifically trains you to become an officer, and I just wanted to become an officer,” Lee said. “I always thought of myself as a leader, and I always thought the Army was cool. Being able to lead people and future soldiers of the Army seemed appealing to me.”
Lee, along with the two other GMC cadets, is taking a basic survival skills language course. The course is a month long and is designed to help with his time in Indonesia. Besides his military training, Lee also takes courses in math, history, English and science. He attends physical training each morning.
Lee will spend a few days in pre-deployment soldier readiness processing and training, and will spend another few days after his deployment in post-deployment soldier readiness processing. Both take place at Fort Knox, Ky.
GMC is one of five military junior colleges nationwide. According to a press release sent to Current, admission into GMC’s CULP program is highly competitive and very selective. For more, visit gmc.edu.
GMC students participating in CULP
Along with 19-year-old Georgia Military College Cadet Patrick Lee, Fishers, two other GMC students were selected for the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program. Jesse Hall, of Maryland, will travel to Madagascar, and Haley Valentine, of Missouri, will travel to Latvia. The missions will “support Army security cooperation objectives worldwide and include military-to-military training, Cadet English Language Training Teams and humanitarian assistance.”