What New Army Cadets Go Through On Their First Day At West Point


– [Hairdresser] Ready? (laughing) (military fife and drum music) (military trumpet and drum music) – [Narrator] On a
scorching Monday in July, over 1,200 cadet candidates arrive at the US Military Academy for reception day, also known as R-Day,
it marks the beginning of their time at West Point. – All day long, the new cadets
will do a transformation from their civilian status and at the end of the day, take their oath to serve
our nation in the Army. (military march music) – [Interviewer] Why did you
decide to come to West Point? – Both my brothers went
here and it’s a great school and I wanted to join the Army afterward so there’s no better school to do that. – All my uncles, they served in the Army and they’re telling me that, all about this school and how great and all the leaders that came from it so I just wanted to
follow in their footsteps. (drum flourishes) (inspiring military music) – West Point is located about 50 miles north of New York City. It’s in the Hudson Highlands. It’s called West Point
because it’s located on the western point of the
Hudson River where it bends. George Washington recognized
this as a strategic point of interest because
the British had to attack as they came through the Hudson River. It’s the longest continuously garrisoned military installation
in the United States. – Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you to the United
States Military Academy at West Point. – [Narrator] After a short orientation, the cadet candidates have 60 seconds to say goodbye to their families. (patriotic music) For the next six weeks,
contact with family members, if any, is extremely limited. (drum music) Once they leave Eisenhower Hall, the cadet candidates are
now called new cadets. – New cadets, move, let’s go! Up to the tape! – You’ll move along the
wall, am I understood? – [New Cadets] Yes, Sergeant Pack. – You think you’re special? Look straight forward! – In 2018 to be accepted at West Point, you must be a United States citizen in good physical condition,
pass a medical exam to be able to be commissioned in the Army, and have a high academic achievement. – [New Cadets] I am soldier! – [Narrator] Tuition
at West Point is free, but the cadets commit to years
of service after graduation. – After their four years at
West Point they’ve committed to five years active duty
in the Army with three years in the reserve component. – Hurry up you guys, get there. – [Narrator] The new cadets
are issued physical training, or PT uniforms. – New cadet you better close this gap! – [Narrator] Along with a
bag that holds everything they’re allowed to carry
for the next six weeks. Their next stop, the barber shop. (military drum music) (hair clippers buzzing) – [Narrator] Only the male
new cadets are required to cut their hair. The female new cadets
get to keep their locks. – Hi how are you? Thinking about West
Point, what do you think? – Maybe. – Maybe, my brother and sister are here. – Your brother and sister are here? Pretty exciting. – [Narrator] West Point started
admitting women in 1976. Today more than 20% of
the cadets are female. – Over 24% of the class of 2022 are women. – Close that gap new
cadet, close that gap! – So we’ve seen a huge surge
not only in the interest in women applicants, but also
the retention of women cadets. (military drum music) – [Narrator] The new cadets
are assigned to companies where they learn the
basics of taking orders. – You wait for our command, do not do things on your own initiative! – [Narrator] And marching in formation. (cadets yelling) – We have upperclassmen from
the junior and senior classes that are here leading the new cadets. – Your lunch, your boots or
not they better be in the bag! – So this is a leadership laboratory, not only for our new cadets
but also for our upper class as they work on their leadership skills. (military drums) – [Narrator] Everything the
new cadets learn on R-Day culminates in the Oath Ceremony. Family members gather for one last look at the class of 2022 before
basic training begins. (Intense music) (intense music) – [Officer] New cadets,
raise your right hand and repeat after me. – One of the most common traits that I see of West Point applicants is
they wanna be part of a team that’s bigger than themselves. (intense music) – [Narrator] Those who
complete the rigorous six weeks of basic training will
be formally accepted into the corp of cadets. (dramatic music) – It’s gonna be a long six weeks, I can tell you that. I’ll get through just take it day by day but I know it’s gonna be
long, it’s gonna be hard, but I’m prepared for it. – I feel like it’s gonna
suck but in the end it’s all worth it. – All of us know what to expect really, we just go in there you now,
get yelled at a little bit, get on the bus, get yelled at some more. – I think it’s gonna be fun you know, everybody always talks about
it’s gonna be a miserable time but I think if you embrace
the suck it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be okay,
you’re gonna get through.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Oren Garnes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *