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Seton Hall University

Pirates in Vietnam

our Pirates at Phu Loc-Lang Co French Bunker

Our Pirates pictured at the old Phu Loc-Lang Co French Bunker overlook near Da Nang, Vietnam.

 Just over two weeks ago, the Pirate Battalion ROTC program conducted its first ever annual Staff Ride, where the 12 cadets of its senior class got the amazing opportunity to travel and explore Vietnam. The purpose of these senior cadets attending a staff ride is to link historical events, systemic preliminary study and actual terrain to produce a battle analysis in three dimensions. Not only did traveling to Vietnam provide our cadets with an intimate connection to the battles of the Vietnam War but allowed us to honor some of our fallen Seton Hall Alumni, including MAJ Chaplain Charles Watters.

Chaplain (MAJ) Watters graduated from Seton Hall University’s Seminary school in 1949. Chaplain Watters was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969 after he was killed in action while serving in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1967. The legacy of war, as complex as it is, left our cadets after this trip with a deeper respect and reverence for the legacy of Chaplain (MAJ) Charles Watters and those who have gone and continue to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Department of Military Science Travel to Vietnam.

Seton Hall's Department of Military Science Travel to Vietnam.

For ten days, these cadets traveled throughout Vietnam and learned about the impact the Vietnam War left on the population as well as develop cultural competency. Their journey began in the capital city of Hanoi, where cadets were hosted by Detachment 2, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency permanently stationed in Vietnam. Detachment 2’s leaders taught cadets how the Defense Department keeps their promise to never leave a comrade behind. This was an incredible experience for our futures lieutenants to learn more about the different roles and missions they will have the chance to lead.

On day seven, the ROTC cadets got the chance to meet a survivor of the My Lai Massacre, a tragic day during the Vietnam War. This unique opportunity to converse with someone on the other side during the Vietnam War provided our future leaders with a sense of duty to becoming the best leaders possible. When asked about this portion of the trip, Cadet Patel responded, “I learned about the My Lai Massacre and the impact it had on their people and culture, celebrating the lives they lost on their yearly anniversary. Worshiping their loved ones and providing positivity in today’s situation and the relationship being built between the U.S and Vietnam.”

ROTC visiting Imperial Citadel Palace in Vietnam

ROTC Cadets visiting the Imperial Citadel Palace in Hue, Vietnam.

Additional stops on this trip included the Majestic Imperial Citadel of Hue and the Mekong Delta, also known as “Green Venice,” for its beautiful canals and villages. Stops such as these granted our cadets firsthand experiences with a different culture and emphasized the importance of understanding different traditions. When asked about the most memorable aspects of this part of the trip, Cadet Myer answer, “I liked that no matter what city we were in there was a very close-knit community everywhere. No one was afraid to talk to anyone and they were all very friendly."

As part of the essence of what a military staff ride is, these cadets were instructed to present a battle analysis and dissect the decisions of key leaders during the Vietnam War to tie together the cultural, political and geographical lessons being learned on this trip. Cadet Munoz spoke about the importance of these presentations, stating “it was extremely impactful to see how my key leader played such a significant role on the Vietnam War. It comes to show that as future lieutenants we, too, have the potential of shaping history with the decisions we make and that’s exciting."

Categories: Nation and World