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Pitzer gains leadership skills through ROTC travel program

ROTC cadets in MoroccoEver since he was young, Tristan Pitzer has been interested in joining the military. After a conversation with his grandfather, he decided the best path to that goal was to join the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC). That decision led Pitzer to a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel and experience a different culture.  

Pitzer, a junior exercise science major from Greenfield, Ohio, spent three weeks in Morocco as a participant in the ROTC’s Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP). The program allows ROTC cadets to learn about different cultures, develop foreign language skills and become better leaders.   

US and Moroccan cadetsPitzer said he first learned about CULP from a friend who had traveled to Uganda to participate in the program.   

“He told me after his trip, he found a new appreciation for life and for the little things in life that we, as blessed people, may take for granted sometimes,” Pitzer said. “For example, things such as water, sanitation and food aren’t the same everywhere in the world. So, I instantly decided that CULP was something I wanted to be a part of right then and there. I wanted to make a positive impact on other people’s lives, and I felt that CULP was an effective way to accomplish this goal.”   

cadets at the ruins of VolubilisPitzer came to MSU after he was awarded a three-year Army ROTC Scholarship. He said one of the things he enjoys most about being an Eagle is the connections he’s made on and off-campus while earning his degree.   

“I like the people and relationships I’ve formed here, the atmosphere around campus,” he said. “I enjoy any classes that encourage interactive/hands-on learning. So, most of my exercise science classes and my ROTC classes and labs are good examples. I enjoy these types of classes because I am able to actually ensure I absorb the proper knowledge and then apply it physically.”  

While in Morocco, Pitzer took part in training at the Royal Military Academy, where ROTC cadets trained alongside the future leaders of the Moroccan Army, learning about foreign weapon familiarization, horse tactics, electronic weapons training, and taking classes that were taught by both American and Moroccan cadets. They also toured U.S. military facilities in the area and visited a local orphanage.   

Pitzer said the trip not only taught him an appreciation for a different culture; it gave him a greater appreciation of his own culture.   

“My perception of the world changed positively because of my exposure to another country with another culture, and the people within it were relatable, and some saw things differently in the world.”  

In the long-term, Pitzer wants to pursue a career in the Army before becoming a chiropractor.   

For information about Morehead State’s ROTC Eagle Battalion, visit, email or call 606-783-2050.  

For information about programs in the Department of Kinesiology, Health and Imaging Sciences, visit, email or call 606-783-2180.
Top photo: The 44 U.S. Army Cadets listen to a speech about Moroccan soldiers who died while serving their country.

Middle Photo: The U.S. and Moroccan Cadets touring the Royal Military Academy in Meknes.

Bottom photo: U.S. and Moroccan Cadets visiting the Ancient Roman ruins known as Volubilis.