University of Vermont

Cadet Julian Summa Attends Basic and AIT

As 4:30am rolled around, the words “Everybody up!” had become my alarm clock. As soon as I heard those words, it was a frantic dash to get ready for morning physical training, followed by a day of skills training, corrective physical training, and three chow times. 

My name is Julian Summa and I am a current student and Cadet at the University of Vermont. I am going into my junior year of studying Community and International Development. I recently returned from taking a semester off to become a Cavalry Scout in the United States Army.  The four months of training was broken down into two main sections, Basic Training and Advance Individual Training. The Basic Training portion consisted of soldierization, basic army tactics, marksmanship, emergency medical training, and land navigation. These were all crucial fundamentals that would be later extrapolated into more complex training exercises. During the AIT portion we were trained on the job of a Cavalry Scout, ranging from foot patrolling to driving the M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Transitioning straight from college where most learning is done through books and discussion, it was refreshing to be able to learn by doing. The skills and people I met at training will have a lasting impact on how I conduct myself at school or in the professional world for the rest of my life. 

Now that I am back at school, I am a fulltime student, ROTC cadet, and a member of a Vermont National Guard unit. I chose to do the SMP option because of the experience I will gain through both ROTC and my National Guard Unit. ROTC gives me the knowledge and confidence to become a leader but in combination with witnessing officers in the field allows me to get the full experience. For example on my most recent drill weekend we focused on winter survival and warfare in the mountains of Vermont. It was a great opportunity to witness the job an officer has in the field. Our officers were constantly checking in on everyone of their soldiers while continuing to plan and execute the mission. Over the next two years I will continuously learn from my officers and fellow soldiers at my unit. 

The reason I joined the Army and ROTC was mainly due to what I have learned at the time I have been at the University of Vermont. While studying community and international development, it became clear to me that physical security for communities is the primary start to the rebuilding process. There have been too many projects that have failed due to violent acts directed towards the organization trying to help. Combining the skill set I will learn in the Army with my education will set me on the right path to a career in providing security for development organizations and humanitarian efforts across the globe.