Last Updated: June 26th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY – Big changes lead to big results. For Cadet Earl Filgo, 5th Regiment, Advanced Camp, a move across the world was just the shake-up he needed to reach his goals. 

Filgo is from Jakarta, Indonesia. While living in Indonesia, he attended a private Singaporean based school with a rigorous curriculum. Because of this, Filgo found himself struggling. At 17 years old, he moved just north of Seattle, Wa. to complete his high school education, earn his diploma and discover new opportunities. 

“It felt relieving to leave that environment, it felt unproductive,” Filgo said. “I just didn’t see a future there.”

In his new world, his greatest feeling is reassurance. Filgo views his big move as a chance to leave old burdens behind and make something himself. Instead of abusing his newfound freedom, he took it as an opportunity to get his life back on track. 

“I was independent, living on my own since I was 17,” Filgo  said. “That made me learn a lot about how to be an adult and work things out myself.”

Filgo enrolled in a community college program that allowed international students to finish their high school curriculum. Upon receiving his diploma, he quickly enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves.  

When he first came to America, he built a strong international community, attracted to those who were like-minded and similar to him. Once he enlisted and attended basic training, he grew to meet new people and immerse himself in American culture. 

“These are a bunch of people who are a representation of America,” Filgo said. 

Army ROTC was always the end goal for Filgo. After a year of training and drilling with the U.S. Army Reserves, he received his acceptance to Virginia Military Institute. To his relief, he was awarded a three year Army ROTC scholarship after completion of his first year. Filgo did not want to burden his parents back in Indonesia with paying for his education. 

His prior experience in the military as a 37 Fox, psychological operations specialist, has given Filgo the opportunity to establish his leadership skills. Now, at Cadet Summer Training, he looks forward to putting his abilities to the test. Being evaluated for his leadership skills gives Filgo the chance to reflect on how to keep growing and honing his skills. 

As a leader, Filgo is calm and collected. He encourages a collaborative environment in hopes of developing the skills of those around him. As an individual, he has grown to be more self-disciplined. 

“I don’t like to be authoritative,” Filgo said. “I like to be transformational. I want us to work as a single mind.”

Being in Army ROTC helped Filgo transform from an underperforming high school student to an honors student at Virginia Military Institute. He hopes to obtain a master’s degree and dreams of starting his own business.  

“I don’t consider myself top notch or a stud or anything,” Filgo said. “I just think, at least from where I’ve started, I’ve done considerably better. I’m making my parents proud.”

About the Author: Kendall Kelly