Fall 2017 Corps Review    |    Back

Gordon Rudd ’72 talks with cadets about combat engineering and sustainment high above the port city of Cherbourg.

Gordon Rudd ’72 talks with cadets about combat engineering and sustainment high above the port city of Cherbourg.
Gordon Rudd ’72 talks with cadets about combat engineering and sustainment high above the port city of Cherbourg.

The 12 cadets who make up the second cohort of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ Global Scholars Program have spent the fall semester talking about their trip to France.

The program, focused on the Allied invasion of Europe during World War II and the leadership lessons that can be applied to current events, includes a three-credit hour seminar during the spring semester followed by a week-long trip to France in May. Alumni generosity helps pay for lodging, flights, and ground transportation for the group.

The experience often inspires cadets to examine their own leadership styles. Cadet Jack Holland ’19 said he realized that “there is no excuse to be a poor leader in the Corps. Bad things happen and it won’t be easy, but my worst day will be nothing compared to what they went through” on D-Day.

In the classroom, cadets choose one of 12 special topics for which they become the subject-matter experts. They take turns leading the class, sharing their research, and applying the history lessons to today’s world events. In France, they lead similar discussions on leadership and decision-making while standing at the very spots they’ve studied.

The goal is applied history — using the lessons of Normandy for wider discussions about global leadership and national security challenges. 

Cadet Nicholas Masella ‘18 leads a discussion at Omaha Beach.

Cadet Nicholas Masella ‘18 leads a discussion at Omaha Beach.
Cadet Nicholas Masella ‘18 leads a discussion at Omaha Beach.

The contribution of Gordon Rudd ’72 continues to be instrumental to the effort. Rudd served 23 years in the U.S. Army, taught history at West Point, and is now a professor of strategic studies at the Marine Corps’ School of Advanced Warfighting. 

He travels with the group, lending his expertise and insight as the group moves from Omaha and Utah beaches to Pointe du Hoc, airborne landing zones, and obscure locations that, 72 years prior, were scenes of tide-turning battles. 

After all that, the group spends some time soaking up the culture of Paris and meeting with the U.S. Embassy staff.

This spring, the Corps will add a second trip to the Global Scholars Program lineup. This trip to France will focus on the battles of and leadership lessons from World War I.

Cadets cross Pegasus Bridge, site of the very first battle on D-Day.

Cadets cross Pegasus Bridge, site of the very first battle on D-Day.
Cadets cross Pegasus Bridge, site of the very first battle on D-Day.

Get Involved

Your donations to the Global Scholars Program enables the Corps to pay travel expenses for the cadets. givingto.vt.edu/corps