Mediterranean Mediation

Five thousand miles from Charleston, in the northwestern Italian coastal city Sanremo, David McBain, ’22, and his Dutch teammate earned second place in the Law of Armed Conflict competition at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law’s Competition for Military Academies this spring. McBain, a political science major, was one of four cadets representing The Citadel.

“There’s a sense of pride that you bring to the table when you come from The Citadel.”

In the competition, cadets participated in a mock Allied coalition in conflict with an Axis power. When a top-secret memo delivered to McBain’s team revealed that their government had secretly been using white phosphorous munitions, it wasn’t long before the news was leaked, and McBain found himself the center of attention. “Everyone looked at me and asked if it was true,” he said. McBain stood up, solemnly looked around the room and acknowledged that the news was true. “It was one of those moments,” he said, “when we got away from reality and had some fun with the competition.”

Cadets from around the world bonded outside the competition, too. They explored the city, immersed themselves in the culture, swam in the icy Mediterranean Sea and enjoyed the local cuisine.

“I could probably throw a rock from our hotel’s doorstep to the Mediterranean,” he said. “It was right on the Riviera. We found this hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. The owner welcomed all nine of us, and we crowded around a six-person table. We stayed there until the place closed down, telling stories and eating the best Italian seafood I’ve ever had.”

The Citadel cadets made lifelong international friends and received compliments on their preparation and presentation. “There’s a sense of pride that you bring to the table when you come from The Citadel that makes you much more comfortable in public speaking and the way you carry yourself, and that automatically makes you more approachable,” McBain said.

Placing camaraderie before competition is another way cadets symbolize honor, duty and respect around the globe.