Army ROTC cadet experiences life-changing internship in Germany

Ethan Moore admires his prized possession, given to him by Gen. Mark A. Milley. Assoah Ndomo | Photographer

By Tatum Mitchell | Opinion Editor

After spending the first two weeks of his senior year 5,273 miles away, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., senior Ethan Moore said he, without a doubt, did not come home the same.

For two months, Moore said he worked an Army internship at the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

The Army ROTC cadet said he is currently the Battalion XO. After five weeks at Fort Knox this summer, Moore went to Germany for the U.S. AFRICOM internship, or AVIP.

Moore said he was assigned to the Office of the Legal Counsel for Africa Command. He said he witnessed and participated while the office went to Congress to get the first African American Four Star Marine Corps General, Michael Langley, confirmed.

“The [Office of the Legal Counsel] serves as the principal legal adviser to the commander and his staff and provides legal advice on a myriad of issues,” the U.S. Africa Command website reads.

Moore said he got to be in the email chain with both command and legal staff prepping Langley to go before Congress.

“I went to his change of command ceremony where I was able to meet the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin,” Moore said. “I met Gen. Mark A. Milley, who is the highest ranked military officer in the nation.”

Moore also said having the opportunity to connect with people who make changes on a daily basis — and on a global scale — motivated him to pursue a military career in the future.

During his day-to-day life, Moore said he woke up at 6 a.m. to workout, got to the office around 9 a.m., had breakfast with the other cadets and then worked on any type of law. He said his personal favorite was operational law, and learning from professionals in the field was very impactful.

“We were talking with some of the most honorable and impressive people I’ve ever met,” Moore said. “For me, being there lit a fire in my heart to serve.”

Moore said he was always interested in the African region strategically for the U.S., and that’s part of the reason he put the U.S. AFRICOM internship as his first choice.

According to Moore, all cadets from around the nation received a packet of over 70 internship opportunities. Only 12 were selected for AFRICOM out of approximately 1,500 applicants.

“A lot of people don’t realize how important Africa is, and I got to see firsthand how endgame it is for the world,” Moore said.

The command Moore worked with was small, and he said working there was very intimate because everyone knew each other. The cadets got very close and had a lot of time to build connections with the other people there.

University of Notre Dame senior Connor Tsikitas met Moore while traveling from their Fort Knox training to Germany. While they had different roles in their internships, Tsikitas said they grew close and traveled to a different place almost every weekend — going to a total of six countries in two months.

Tsikitas said leaving Germany was a bittersweet experience.

“Great relationships were formed over that trip,” Tsikitas said. “It would be really cool to see each other again sometime. We still keep in touch. It was like forming a brotherhood … We knew we could trust each other.”

Along with gaining new relationships, Moore said he fulfilled two months on active duty training orders while in Germany and became a distinguished military graduate in ROTC. He ranked in the top 15% of Army cadets in the nation.

Moore said he’s seeking to serve at least 20 years of active duty if he decides to continue pursuing a military career after his four-year obligation. For his first three to four years, he said he hopes to serve as a lieutenant, working as a military intelligence officer or combat arms officer.

After being promoted to captain, Moore said he will decide to pursue Civil Affairs, which is a part of the First Special Forces Command.

Moore said he worked with the First Special Forces Command for a short time during the summer. He said the job includes helping villages with small and large issues, like setting up mosquito nets and dealing with terrorists.

As a 21-year-old working with people who have been in a military career longer than he’s been alive, Moore said he learned a lot about how they do things on a daily basis that help people and change the world.

“There’s no greater thing — just living for something greater than yourself,” Moore said. “So I think I want to have a career and follow in their footsteps.”

Tatum Mitchell is a senior journalism and political science major from Chicago. She is starting her fifth semester on staff, and she’s on the equestrian team. The Lariat has been the highlight of her college experience. She’s looking forward to spending another semester learning from her colleagues and making memories in the newsroom. Before college, I was the Editor-in-Chief of a student newspaper and was on a competitive journalism team for news writing. I love designing, writing and everything about working on a student newspaper. Over the summer I was an intern at The Plaid Horse magazine. I wrote press releases, features articles, managed social media accounts and took part in a weeklong non-profit event for young equestrians. Combining my passion for horses and journalism was a great experience. In the future, I'm hoping to be immersed in the professional multimedia environment and eventually go to graduate or law school. I'm looking forward to another year on staff and learning alongside everyone!