19th ESC commander shares professional insights with KNU ROTC Cadets

by Pfc. Jihun Jeong, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command
Stripes Korea

Brig. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr., the commanding general of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, delivered a lecture on leadership and life as a military officer to the Cadets of Kyungpook National University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps on Oct. 30, 2018 at the university’s campus in Daegu, Republic of Korea.

KNU’s ROTC, first founded in 1961, provides military education to its students and commissions them as officers in the Republic of Korea Army. The program cultivates young military leaders who will soon go on to lead platoon-sized units, and larger units as their careers progress. The Cadets receive weekly instruction in physical fitness and military knowledge and are expected to uphold values such as character and integrity. Many of KNU’s cadets go on to serve their country and many raise to become senior officers.

Arriving up on the stage with a loud ovation from a crowd full of young Cadets, Russell began his speech talking about the importance of relationship building.

Russell concluded his lecture by asking the Cadets how a young lieutenant comes to discover whether he or she has succeeded in his or her role in leading soldiers.

Russell said, “You know that you have succeeded in your role as a leader and have earned the trust of your enlisted soldiers, when they address you as ‘my lieutenant’, not ‘the’ or ‘that’ lieutenant, but ‘my lieutenant.’”

Afterwards, young officers who accompanied Russell on the visit to KNU, shared their experiences of serving in the Army as officers. Topics ranged from the challenges that come with leading enlisted Soldiers to how combat experiences shaped their view of the Army.

“It was very fulfilling to be transparent about the experiences I had as a lieutenant in the Army, the challenges I had, and how they shaped the trajectory in which I lead Soldiers now,” said 1st Lt. Shandricka Jackson, Battalion Personnel Officer with 6th Ordnance Battalion, 19th ESC.

The KNU cadets are made up of both male and females and 1st Lt. Jackson noted that, although there are less females in the Army, they are not less competent or able.

“It was good to just see the female cadets. I think it was empowering to them to see that it isn’t an all-male Force and that we are as equal as our male counterparts.”

The cadets were appreciative of Gen. Russell taking time to come to their place of learning to encourage their professional growth.

“It was a very good lecture because it taught me firsthand the importance the ROK-U.S. Alliance,” said Sung Kyung Lee, a 3rd-year female cadet at Kyungpook National University. “It was really interesting to meet U.S. Army Soldiers in real life along with my fellow cadets.”

Professional military connections were made throughout the day, and some lasting impacts were made as well. 1st Lieutenant Jackson was invited to attend the graduation ceremony coming in February.

“Talking to the U.S. Army Soldiers was a great opportunity to learn about the U.S. Army,” said Kyung Hoon Lee, a 4th-year Cadet at KNU.

Photo Caption:

Brig. Gen. Michel M. Russell Sr., Commanding General of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, delivers a lecture on leadership and life as a military officer to Kyungpook National University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets Oct. 30, 2018 at KNU, Daegu, Republic of Korea. Russell’s visit to the university demonstrated the his commitment to share proven techniques in relationship building along with many other lessons learned to aid in a successful career as a military officer.

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