NEW LONDON — Three U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets were part of a first-place team at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law Competition for Military Academies.
According to a release from the academy, 1st Class cadets Matthew Pindell, Malia Haskovec and Sean Seyller were joined by cadets from the U.S. Military Academy and the Military Institute of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev.
The team shared top honors with a group of cadets from West Point, the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, and the National Defense Academy of Georgia, the release said.
According to the release, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law has earned a reputation for its strong field of training, research as well as the dissemination of the Law of Armed Conflict. The release said the Competition for Military Academies is an annual, week-long event that brings cadets from military academies throughout the world to Sanremo, a Mediterranean coastal town in northwestern Italy.
But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition was held virtually this year and took place over four days.
“The competition is a unique opportunity for our cadets to engage in quality interactions with foreign cadets and military officers that results in a rich cultural experience for the future leaders of the U.S. Coast Guard to share ideas, and forge lasting relationships,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Shumate, chief of the law section at CGA.
During the competition, the release said, cadets worked together in multinational teams to solve complex problems that arise before, during and after a simulated armed conflict. It said the goals of the competition are to allow cadets to apply and display their LOAC knowledge.
The Coast Guard cadets were led by Lt. Cmdr. Jim Zoll from the Law Section of the CGA Humanities Department, the release said, who worked with them throughout the semester in his Advanced Studies class on the Law of Armed Conflict to prepare them for the competition.
On the first day of the competition, experts presented various LOAC topics, including one by Zoll.
“On days two and three, cadets from 13 military academies representing nine nations were divided into multinational teams and immersed in a wartime scenario where they were required to work together to apply the LOAC and decide the legality of proposed military actions during the fictional war,” the release said.
The release said the final day saw teams give briefings to a senior military leader and offer their conclusions about whether their proposed military actions agreed with the LOAC. It said the cadets were expected to provide comprehensive briefs, cite specific relevant treaties and advise what the law allowed.
“The reason we did well in this competition was not only because our cadets had a good understanding of the law of armed conflict, but also because they were able to work together with their teammates to ensure that each member’s ideas were heard and acknowledged,” Zoll said. “The institute refers to this as the ‘Spirit of Sanremo.’”