As end week two of ILE, I continue to be amazed at the level of interaction and thinking of my peers in this class. It has been since my Master's Degree that I have been surrounded by people who are not sucked into 'group think'. These guys (to include the one female!) have such diverse experiences that they bring so much to the table.
We have guys who are fluent in Arabic, Norwegian, and Pashtun. Officers who have not 'worn the uniform' in a long time because they are coming from being a Foreign Area Officer (Embassy/Diplomatic Assignment). Men who are coming from finishing their MS/Advanced degrees from Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.
These are not your average 'Joes'. These are a group of Professionals who are experts in their trades. The term 'Trades' does not mean killing people and breaking things. It means to apply their skill sets to accomplish a greater mission. If accomplishing our strategic mission by learning a language so we can better relate to a tribal leader, we will do it. If it means thinking of a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain- we will do it.
Several of the guys have come straight from 'Down Range' (meaning Iraq or Afghanistan) to ILE. They moved their families here over the Christmas Holidays, some went home and are here temporarily (still away from their families). That is sacrifice. However, their insights into our national interests from recent exposure is invaluable to all of us. These guys are the silent 'heros'- not looking for publicity.
All they want, along with us, is to improve their knowledge base so that when we are in positions of influence to make our profession, our Army and our society a little bit better than when we received it.