Basic Camp

From Haiti to LTC, cadre member embraces military culture

Sergeant First Class Jean Marthone works at the Rappel Tower at the Leader's Training Course. Photo by Rebecca Thompson.

Sergeant First Class Jean Marthone works at the Rappel Tower at the Leader’s Training Course. Photo by Rebecca Thompson.

By Sydney Callis
Leader’s Training Course

Keeping a watchful eye on the activities of the rappel tower, Sgt. 1st Class Jean Marthone observes the organized chaos of Leader’s Training Course Cadets learning to rappel.

From Cadets learning to tie Swiss seats, practicing rappelling and experiencing a variety of emotions before their first trip down the 50-foot high tower, the rappelling site, where Marthone works this summer, is always full of action.

After 11 years in the Army, Marthone is accustomed to the military’s organized chaos. But when he first moved to the United States from Haiti, he was shocked by the contrasting culture.

“It was like a big zoo to me,” Marthone said. “It was very different. I was like, ‘Oh my God, these people are running wild.’ ”

No stranger to action, Marthone moved to New York City from Haiti in 1997 at the age 18.

Although he had visited his family in the States before, the culture shock proved to be the biggest difference between the two locations.

“You watch TV and see what’s going with the States,” Marthone said. “You kind of understand the culture of it, but physically being in contact to it you feel like, ‘Man, this is totally different.’ ”

A private person by nature, Marthone said it took him a while to adjust to the cultural differences.

“I used to see people with a lot of tattoos, and it looked strange to me because I wasn’t used to seeing it,” Marthone said. “I’d see people with four or five earrings and be like, ‘What the hell is that?’ I’ve adjusted to it now though, and it’s part of my culture now.”

After four years in the United States, Marthone joined the military, experiencing yet another change in culture. The importance he places on respect is evident through his interactions with fellow Soldiers.

“He’s really set the example for his Soldiers to emulate and model,” said Lt. Col. Ken Weiland, who works with Marthone at the Leader’s Training Course’s rappelling site. “He’s led his team very well, and they respond to him and his leadership style.

Haiti’s balance between work and personal time versus the bustling New York City emphasis on work was another difference Marthone encountered. His transition from civilian to Soldier, however, kind of took him back to his Caribbean lifestyle.

“In Haiti, you work, but you still feel like you’re living life,” he said. “The Army is almost the same. You’ve got a lot of personal time, and the Army creates that environment where you can still enjoy life even when you’re working hard. That’s why I like the Army.”

During his Army career so far, Marthone has been able to explore different places during his personal time, including South Korea, Germany, Hawaii and many other duty stations while still being able to visit his family yearly.

Outside of the Leader’s Training Course, Marthone is a cannon crew member and platoon sergeant at an artillery division stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. At the LTC, he’s working hard on a different mission: training future Army officers.

“He’s very capable and a confident leader,” Weiland said. “He does a good job supervising his Soldiers, and he’s somebody that I can always count on to get the job done right the first time.”

Marthone has traveled and experienced many different countries and cultures. His respect radiates from every interaction with him, whether it’s with fellow Soldiers, Cadets or civilians.

“It goes both ways,” he said. “I care about respect. I’m not going to mistreat you, or call you any names or belittle you, and I get the same thing back. If you respect something, you’re going to do well.”


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