MIDN 1/C Ryan Yohe  

This picture is of Auschwitz I, the original camp that eventually expanded into Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It all started at these barracks. The experience was eerie because the camp has the aesthetics of a college campus, and the day we visited was one of the more beautiful summer days. The barracks seen housed prisoners, which included Jews, POWs, and political opponents.

The American Service Academies Program in association with the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation appealed to me, a student of history, politics, and language, as a unique opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust and the ethics of military endeavors.

The ASAP far exceeded my expectations for a Naval Academy sponsored summer training program. The experience gave me an in-depth understanding of the history of the Jewish faith, and the events that led to and occurred during the Holocaust. Additionally, this program gave incredible insight into the ethics of the military establishment. As a student of the United States Naval Academy, and a future Naval Officer, the lessons I learned during this trip were numerous and invaluable. In many ways it took the skeleton of the "Leadership and Military Ethics" course and put it into a real context. The lessons I learned through the courses with the U.S Holocaust Museum, the Museum of the Living Memorial of the Jewish Faith, and the survivors and tour guides in Poland, The lessons I learned...reinforced the importance of following legal orders of the military, and approaching all situations we encounter as a member of humanity first.

I highly encourage the American Service Academies Program to all Midshipmen who are interested in pursuing an education in history and ethics studies. Furthermore, I endorse this program for all Midshipmen, regardless of their field of study or intended service assignment after graduation. The lessons that can be gleamed from the Holocaust further serve as reminders for why Americans volunteer for the armed services, and why they continue to put their lives on the line for the pursuit of freedom everyday.

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