Tanzanian cadet leads discussion on honorable living

By Retired Lt. Col. Dave Jones and Eric S. Bartelt MX400 Officership seminar leader and PV Managing Editor

February 21st, 2020 | News, News and Features
 Class of 2020 Cadet Eraldo John, an international cadet from Tanzania, leads an open discussion about honorable living at the U.S. Military Academy and beyond with 40 international cadets and five staff and faculty members Feb. 11 in Thayer Hall. Courtesy Photos
 Class of 2020 Cadet Eraldo John chose this forum for his Special Leader Development Project (SLDP), in addition to leading a similar discussion at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School for select cadet candidates.

Class of 2020 Cadet Eraldo John, an international cadet from Tanzania, led an open discussion about honorable living at the U.S. Military Academy and beyond with 40 international cadets and five staff and faculty members Feb. 11 in Thayer Hall.
The discussion titled, “Living Honorably, Leading Honorably and Demonstrating Excellence,” included topics on accountability and ownership, integrity and respect, role models and being moral leaders while at West Point.
The international cadets will take what they’ve learned and return back to their countries to serve in their Armed Forces, said retired Lt. Col. Dave Jones, MX400 Officership seminar leader.
John chose this forum for his Special Leader Development Project (SLDP), in addition to leading a similar discussion at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School for select cadet candidates, Jones said.
“The SLDP is a developmental program for those cadets who have violated the Honor Code,” Jones said. “Cadet John shared his personal experience and then led a discussion about honorable living from the international cadet perspective.
“(It’s about) representing West Point’s values of Duty, Honor, Country as a future graduate of the academy,” Jones added. “All of the topics reinforce honorable living—and he broke it down to many areas of cadet life.”
This is the first time this type of forum has been held with international cadets.
“It is a unique opportunity to have an international cadet lead a discussion with all other international cadets (on honorable living),” Jones said. “They all share the challenges of being here at West Point, for many of whom English is a second language. However, they all have the responsibility of learning and developing here at the U.S. Military Academy, and then as future West Point graduates carrying all they have learned and internalized and share that as moral leaders in their own countries.”
John said he has confidence the discussion allowed him to develop and become a better leader of character.
“The international cadets asked me tough questions that helped me reflect deeper into my character to realize my flaws, which is a step toward the internalization of the spirit of the Cadet Honor Code: Live honorably, lead honorably and demonstrate excellence,” John said. “I hope that this discussion helped my fellow international cadets understand that living honorably is a perpetual developmental process for leaders of character.”
Being honest with himself and reflecting deeper into the recesses of his mind, John viewed the SLDP as a way to help his and the other international cadets’ leadership abilities when faced with tough moral decisions in the future by leaning on what the Cadet Honor Code values teach them.
“I learned that the spirit of the Cadet Honor Code calls me to live above the common level of life by demonstrating excellence in everything that I do,” John said. “I realized that the spirit of the honor code is the essence to the three aspects that certifies any Army professional: character, competence and commitment. The synergy relationship between the spirit of Cadet Honor Code and the 3C’s helps in my development to becoming a better leader of character.”