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Posted on July 5, 2017

Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Maund stands with soldiers holding a Cal U flag.

Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Maund, a career counselor and instructor for Cal U Army ROTC, recently spent three weeks in Lithuania as part of the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program.

CULP gives Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets the opportunity to understand various cultures and customs of militaries and civilians outside the United States, with a strong emphasis on English-learning and military-to-military bonding, prior to their careers as officers in the U.S. Army. 

Maund was a team leader for the CULP group of more than 40 cadets that traveled to Lithuania, spending time in Vilnius and Klaipeda. 

“The goal is for cadets to take what they learn with CULP and apply it to an actual deployment,” he said. “As a young platoon leader, they may be sitting down with a village leader, and they need to understand the culture of a foreign country in order to deal with that situation effectively.” 

As part of the cultural training, cadets stayed in local accommodations, used public transportation and met with ambassadors and other dignitaries. Conversational English skills were practiced with members of fire departments in Lithuania. 

The group also participated in military training with Operation Saber Strike, an annual international exercise focused on the Baltic States. 

Maund was the first from Cal U to participate in CULP, something he wants to change. “I hope that every single one of my cadets will go on a CULP mission if they are chosen to do so,” he said.

Selection for CULP is based on an Order of Merit list, which includes participation and leadership, physical fitness, and grade-point average.

“I thought it was an amazing experience,” he said. “You could see a clear change in the soldiers and cadets. They started to adapt to the culture and understand the differences.”