From 17 until 21 March, the CCOE hosted the International Cadet Event 2014. Participants came from Westpoint, United States of America, the Helmut Schmidt University, Germany, the National University of Public Service, Hungary and the Netherlands Defense Academy.
The cadets followed a varied schedule in which the courses were not only taken place in a standard classroom. To learn about and understand civil military cooperation and interaction, lecturing by PowerPoint presentations is off course not sufficient. Therefore, the cadets first got an introduction on the most important topics varying from the civil dimension to civil military liaison.
Following the lectures, the cadets set up a CIMIC center and were confronted with several role players. The cadets acting as CIMIC officers, had to adapt to the situation and to respond accordingly. As such, the cadets experienced the challenges of being a CIMIC officer. The day ended with a barbeque where the cadets took the opportunity to learn more about each other’s culture and military education. The following day, the lectures continued. Among others, Dr. Rietjes, one of the mentors from the cadets, shared his experiences working with civil military dimensions in the south of Afghanistan.
Later that day, the board game “Go 4 It” was played. Through this board game, the effects and importance of cooperation between local authorities, non-governmental organizations and the military are demonstrated.
Besides the program at the CCOE in Enschede, the cadets also visited other parts of the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, a cultural event was organized were the cadets experienced the Dutch capitol from a boat while navigating through the canals.
In and around Arnhem, a battle field tour was organized were the cadets visited several important sites from operation Market Garden. This Second World War operation had enormous impact on the city and civilians of Arnhem and its surrounding villages. One of the American cadets told afterwards she was very impressed by the Airborne Museum. There she learned about the appreciation from the civilians towards the British paratroopers. Next to the landing and dropping zones at Wolfheze, the military cemetery at Oostebeek, the John Frost Bridge at Arnhem, the old church in Oosterbeek was visited. It was here that one of those impressive stories about the brave civilians happened. When the British paratroops found themselves outnumbers and surrounded by the German army, they asked Kate ter Horst to set up a regimental aid station in her house, next to the old church. During the following eight days of intensive fighting, Mrs. Ter Horst, later nicknamed “Angel of Arnhem”, tended around 250 wounded men. She took care of her family and cared about the wounded by, among others, reading the Bible to them and finding water in the most unlikely places. At the end of the visit, the cadets were impressed by the Battle of Arnhem and the developed relations between civilians and military.
Overall, the CCOE International Cadet Event 2014 a first time event in 2014 was regarded to be a huge success, offering cadets from 4 different nations a variety of learning experiences, from theory to practical requirements and to act in a challenging environment until the fields of civil military cooperation and interaction.