Anthony Marino ’19 didn’t exactly plan on following in his father’s footsteps.
He was in the process of applying to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but at the last minute, said he had a change of heart. His father, John, completed the ROTC program at Furman, earned a B.A. degree in history in 1987, and served in the United States Army for six years after graduation.
“I grew up around Furman and I knew I always wanted to be in the military,” said Marino, a resident of Tryon, N.C. “I applied online and was fortunate enough to receive a four-year scholarship to come to Furman.”
Since then, his decision to come to Furman has opened many doors, including a major opportunity this summer to serve in Albania as part of the Army’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program (CULP).
The competitive program, designed to promote cultural awareness, provides month-long assignments across the world for an elite group of cadets at no cost. Cadets may participate in a host nation military-to-military exchange, perform humanitarian service, or share in education activities on the social, cultural, and historical aspects of the country.
In 2016, 1,300 ROTC Cadets participated in the CULP program in 42 different countries, according to the Army. The future goal is for at least half of all Cadets to complete a CULP Immersion Internship annually. The Military History Department at Furman also sent five cadets to Senegal, Albania, Cape Verde, Madagascar, and Romania over the summer.
“Cultural awareness is an important part of the ROTC curriculum and we highly recommend our Cadets participate in this fantastic opportunity,” said LTC Gregory Scrivens, professor of military science at Furman.
When he first heard about the CULP program from one of his professors, Anthony Marino said he was intrigued. “I’ve never left the Southeast before and this sounded like a perfect opportunity to experience the world,” he said.
As part of his trip to Albania, Marino was asked to teach English as part of a cultural exchange with Albanian non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and work with service teams including the Peace Corps. He was able to visit with the Navy, Air Force and Army and train with some of their troops.
“The part that I enjoyed most was getting to know the Albanians on a personal level. They had a lot of wisdom to share with the cadets and taught me a lot of life lessons,” said Marino. “For example, one NCO told me that if you combine happiness with motivation, then anything is possible. Just simply going at life with a positive attitude and motivation to grow will help me greatly with my studies here at Furman and set me up for success later in life.”
Like his son, John Marino said Furman and the ROTC program have helped him be successful. “I had some amazing mentors in the ROTC department. They were hard on me. They taught me to never give up and that hard work always pays off,” he said. “It’s been great to share my Furman and ROTC memories with my son and to have that commonality.”
The CULP request window is now open for the summer 2017 program. To learn more about Furman’s program, visit http://www.furman.edu/academics/militaryscience